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.
Friday, September 5, 2014
Brooks raced up the long, narrow driveway to Jacob Reese’s mansion in his blue
Mustang, the tires kicking up chunks of gravel. Jacob Reese had buzzed him in
through the main gate at the end of the driveway and was waiting patiently for
him at the front door, a snifter of brandy in one hand.
you have any trouble finding the place?” Reese asked as Chris exited his
Mustang and approached the front door. Chris was twenty-three years younger
than Jacob, whose dry, withered skin and receding hairline already made him
look twice his age. He looked exactly as Chris expected; he was just as Vanessa
had described him.
Chris did not look as Jacob had pictured him. Jacob expected a lumberjack
beard, tattoos or piercings, long unkempt hair. Instead he was greeted by a
well groomed young man with no tattoos or piercings, his brown hair all slicked
back and held in place with styling gel.
trouble at all,” Brooks assured him.
Reese said. “I’d hate to inconvenience the man who has been sleeping with my
see you like to skip right to the point,” Brooks said. “And Vanessa won’t be
your wife for long. Not after you sign those divorce papers.”
you honestly think I’d grant Vanessa a divorce after everything she’s done to
way or another, she’s not going to be with you. She’s ready to move on. Now,
are we going to talk standing in the doorway, or are you going to invite me
are my manners?” Reese chortled. “Please, come in.”
wiped his feet on the Welcome mat before he stepped in, at Reese’s request. The
carpets were suede and Jacob would not dare see a mark left on them.
was a man so fastidious he wouldn’t even allow his guests to use the guest
towels in his bathroom. To see his beautiful suede carpets soiled would be akin
to seeing his wife Vanessa slip through his controlling grasp. It was something
he could not allow to happen.
led Chris to the living room, which had a full bar that was stocked with every
brand of liquor you could name.
I fix you a drink?” Jacob asked. “Vanessa mentioned you were a scotch man.”
I’ll take a drink.”
got a top shelf bottle imported from the UK,” Jacob said, pouring Chris a
glass. “I hear there’s a special rung in hell reserved for those that waste
good scotch. Cheers.” He passed the glass to Chris and they clanked their
glasses in celebration, though it wasn’t exactly clear to Chris what they were
for the drink,” Chris said, finishing his glass. “Now let’s get down to
business. Why did you call me out here?”
you a chess man?”
scoffed. “Checkers is a game for lowbrows, imbeciles. It’s the game of the
common man. Chess is a thinking man’s game. You must have a strategy in order
to win the game. Would you like to play?”
think I’ll pass.”
You might’ve liked it. Well, I’ll get right down to it, I suppose. When’s the
last time you’ve seen my wife?”
saw Vanessa two days ago.”
where is she now?”
with her mother.”
know this for a fact?”
what she told me.”
have you spoken to her since the last time you’ve seen her? Are you positive
she arrived safely?”
are you getting at?”
saying you have you no idea where Vanessa really is. She could be here for all
kindly doubt it,” Chris said. “Now I think you’ve wasted enough of my time.”
Chris walked from the living room, two musclebound associates acting behalf of
Reese turned the corner, blocking the exit. “I must insist you stay,” Jacob
said. “Please sit.”
walked back over to Jacob and plopped himself down on the couch, which Chris
noted was also suede.
what is it you want?” Chris asked. That was when he first realized he wasn’t
feeling so hot.
just wanted to have one final chat with the man who destroyed my marriage
before he dies. It’s a shame you declined to play me in chess. If you had won,
I might’ve let you seen Vanessa one last time.”
have you done with her, you bastard?” The bass in his voice demanded answers.
Even with the odds against him, Chris was ready to fight for Vanessa.
as of yet,” Jacob said. “She’ll be safe for as long as I choose to keep it that
way. And let’s not get rude or feisty, Mr. Brooks. My bulky associates over
there can snap your neck like a chicken, and they’ll be happy to do so if I
give them the nod.”
ask you again, what do you want? You want me to play chess? Fine, I’ll play
chess with you. I’ll play freaking backgammon with you if you want. Just let
Vanessa go. She’s innocent in all this.”
is anything but innocent. And it’s far too late for a game of chess now. We don’t
have much more time. But please, tell me a little about yourself. I’m
interested to hear your story, kid.”
not much to tell. I’m a waiter, and I bartend on the side to make extra
scratch. I have my own place, which I inherited from my folks. They died in a
plane crash. I’ve lived in New York my whole life. Was born in Manhattan, grew
up on Long Island.” As he finished speaking, the room was starting to spin.
you go to college?”
did you graduate?”
what did you study?”
wanted to be a police officer.”
instead you’re a waiter?”
can make just as much money waiting tables without having to risk my life on a
“Can I pour
you another drink?”
ok,” Chris said. “I’m feeling a bit woozy. That’s strong scotch.”
not the scotch,” Jacob said. “It’s what I put inside the bottle. Never accept a
drink from a stranger,” he chided.
did you give me?” Chris asked. He leapt from the couch as he went to snatch
Jacob by his lapels, but instead he sank to his knees like a stone thrown to
the bottom of a river.
a mild sedative. You’ll pass out and wake up fast enough to discover a similar
fate that awaits your dear, sweet Vanessa.”
monster,” Chris muttered as his entire body sank to the floor. He could no
longer cling to consciousness, and closed his eyes to a world of darkness.
* * *
awoke in a gray, windowless room with a steel door that was bolted shut from
the outside. But Chris noticed the door had a tiny slot at the bottom, barely
wide enough for a person’s hand to wiggle through.
room had a two-way mirror so that Jacob could observe Chris from an opposite
room. He could sit back and enjoy every minute as Chris could do nothing but
stare at his own reflection of confusion and terror.
it’s time to start the show,” Jacob spoke through an intercom that was mounted
to the wall beside the mirror. “Release the snakes,” Jacob said, presumably to
one of his many associates. Reese was a very wealthy man, and people did what
he wanted, no matter how bizarre his requests were.
after snake slithered in through the tiny slot at the bottom of the door and
then the slot was snapped shut from the outside.
wouldn’t get too close if I were you,” Jacob spoke to him through the intercom.
There was no button on the intercom for him to press and communicate with
Jacob. No way for him to plead his case or offer a rebuttal. “They haven’t been
fed in days so they’re quite agitated. It wouldn’t be wise to make any sudden
do you want?” Brooks shouted, assuming Reese could hear him through the glass.
just wanna see you squirm,” Reese laughed. “I so wish Vanessa could join you,
but she’s in the scorpion tank as we speak.”
sick bastard!” Brooks cried. “I hope you burn in hell, old man!”
I’ll have my day eventually,” Jacob said. “But it’s not my time yet. I’m afraid
it’s your time. Like I said, no sudden movements.”
stood frozen, trying to remain as still as possible while a rattlesnake
slithered between his legs. A yellow python was circling around one ankle.
vipers, cobras, and coral snakes everywhere that Chris glanced. A black king
cobra raised its hooded head and hissed ferociously in his direction.
so distracted by the other snake that he didn’t see the boa constrictor that
had coiled its way around his thigh, squeezing so hard it forced Chris down to
his weakened state, the snakes seemed to take this as their cue to strike. They
all sunk their fangs in at once, and Chris could almost feel the poisonous
venom coursing through his veins. He heaved and struggled to take in the air as
his face puffed and his eyes swelled shut. His legs were twitching, but this
wasn’t the signs of a struggle. This was an involuntary act.
watched through the glass until his legs stopped scraping against the floor and
the venom ran its course.
* * *
later, Jacob Reese received a visit he had anticipated. It was the police.
“Can I help
you?” Jacob asked when he answered the door, playing innocent.
Detective Carter. Here to ask you a few questions about Chris Brooks, and your
come in,” Reese said, holding the door open for Carter.
place you’ve got here,” Carter remarked as he stepped in after wiping his feet
on the Welcome mat at Jacob’s request.
thank you, detective,” Jacob replied. “Say, are you a chess man?”
never been a fan,” Carter said.
Jacob said. “One more question, detective: You’re not afraid of snakes, are