Thursday, November 21, 2019
By Randy Romero
Kayla Wren–a short seven-year-old girl with a pallid complexion and shoulder-length strawberry blonde hair–stood at her parent’s window, staring out at the empty street below. Her eyes shifted back in forth between the desolate street and the cloudless sky.
It was a strikingly sunny day in early May, but Kayla wasn’t surprised to see the neighborhood deserted. Kayla knew something. Something even her parents didn’t know. Something her neighbors never saw coming.
Max and Alyssa Wren woke up just after 10 o’clock. It was a Saturday and Max usually slept in as late as he could on his only day off.
Alyssa was the first to notice Kayla standing at the window.
“Kayla? Are you sleepwalking again?” her mother asked, rubbing sleep dust from her eyes.
But Kayla was wide awake. She looked awfully pale and seemed distant, yet calm, serene. Eerily calm.
Kayla had heard her mother’s voice, but didn’t turn to face her. She just gazed skyward at the blistering sun.
“Today is a beautiful day,” Kayla declared. “We should make the most of it. It will be our last.”
Alyssa gasped, Max sat up straight in bed.
“Kayla! What an awful thing to say,” Alyssa chided. “Why would you say such a terrible thing?”
It wasn’t just what Kayla had said. The frank, matter-of-fact way that Kayla spoke frightened her mother, chilled her to the bone.
“But it’s true,” Kayla said.
“Who told you that?” Max asked.
“Who, sweetie? Who?” Alyssa asked.
“Who are you talking about?”
“The Dark Men. They’re coming to get us. They got Mr. and Mrs. Harper next-door. They got the Sanchez family across the street. Everybody on this block is gone. And we’re next. There’s no stopping them. ”
Max and Alyssa exchanged looks of concern, then turned their attention to Kayla, who still had her back to her parents.
“Today is a beautiful day,” Kayla repeated. “We should make the most of it…”
Thursday, November 7, 2019
Genre: Science Fiction
By Randy Romero
Rust Cogdale was the first to spot the anomalous shapes in the sky. He was standing outside his house on the veranda, puffing his cigar and blowing out rings of smoke.
Rust had never seen anything like it before. They weren’t ordinary aircrafts. They were irregularly shaped and diverse in size. Some were round and disk-shaped. Some looked like giant fighter jets, but with a bizarre, unearthly features. One metallic spacecraft hovered above them all, bigger than a house.
Rust’s neighbor, Sheila Barnes, joined him outside. She gazed in disbelief at the enigmatic space crafts that loomed over them.
“What in God’s name is that?” Sheila cried.
“I don’t think God has anything to do with this,” Rust said, shaking his head.
The otherworldly spaceships blotted out the sun, engulfing the town in darkness. It was three in the afternoon, but it might as well have been midnight.
Other people soon joined them and before Rust knew it, the whole neighborhood was gazing skyward, mystified by these technologically superior space crafts.
Kaitlin Caruso stood on her porch, huddling her children who looked like scared rabbits.
“Government?” Kaitlin asked. “Are they military?”
“No way can the government hide something that big from us,” Rust said. “I served as a Marine for eight years. That sure as hell doesn’t look like military to me.”
Tom Holt shouted from down the street. “It’s not just us! It’s the whole damn city! They’ve got us completely surrounded!”
The situation reminded Rust of those old black-and-white Sci-Fi movies he used to watch as a kid. The idea of an alien invasion used to scare the life out of him. But this was no movie. And Rust had a funny feeling that these aliens didn’t come in peace.
The space crafts cast a terrifying shadow over the whole city. This finally answered the daunting question of whether or not life truly existed on other planets. But the question on Rust’s mind was, “Why are they here? What are their intentions?”
He didn’t have to wait long for his answer as a laser beam from the largest ship reduced the town’s clock tower to ashes.
The first shots had been fired. They had come to declare war.
People rushed inside their houses, seeking shelter. Rust went back inside just in time to see the latest news on TV. The whole city was under attack. Seconds later, the signal was lost and every channel was on standby.
Wednesday, November 6, 2019
By Randy Romero
The cellar was jet black and freezing. Its walls were soundproof. Not like it mattered. The property was secluded, tucked away on the back roads of Westlake. No one was around to hear anything.
The Surgeon’s polished equipment glistened under the dim lights. His patient was splayed out on an operating table that was bolted to the floor.
“All those charlatans. Those sycophantic simpletons. They praise the wicked, the immoral, the corrupt. They worship false idols. And they dare to call me a monster. Foolish parasites. The media calls me The Surgeon because they lack creativity. It’s funny though, they actually got things right for once. Score one for those hate mongering bastards. Should the police ever apprehend me and reveal my true identity to the world, the media can gave themselves a congratulatory pat on the back.
I’m a surgeon by day, and a killer by night. A sinner and a saint. An angel to some, a demon to others. To my patients, I am a God, a savior. To my victims, I am the devil. For every life I save, I take one in return. Confused? I’m sure you are. Why would I dedicate all my energy to saving lives only to take the lives of others? Well, I could give you a load of crap, make up some excuse. But the truth is, there is no reason. I kill simply because I enjoy it. I’m sure they’ll say I’m mad, crazy. But I’m as sane as I’ve ever been. The only feeling better than saving a life is taking one. It gives you a rush like you wouldn’t believe.
I remember Grady Miller. He was my first. I cut him open, took out all the organs, and sewed him back up. No wonder they call me The Surgeon. Grady was the first…of many. If they ever do catch me, I’ll probably be sentenced to death. I wonder what will happen when they execute me. Hell won’t want me. Heaven won’t know what to make of me. But both will be in awe of my work.”
The priest–bound to the operating table–was speechless. He had that helpless look that The Surgeon had seen innumerable times before. He called it the death stare. That look of fear but also acknowledgement as they accepted their death was imminent.
“Well, Padre, thanks for listening to my confession. I don’t expect you to absolve me. I don’t desire redemption or absolution. Now, let’s get this show on the road…”
The Surgeon took a razor-sharp scalpel from the instrument tray and slit his “patient” down the middle, the blood spurting through the air in quick jets. The Surgeon wiped some of the blood from his face and checked his watch.
“Time of death, 12:14 AM.”
Thursday, October 31, 2019
By Randy Romero (With contributions by Dexter Lynch)
In case you’re looking for some new (well, old) horror movie recommendations, I decided to compile a list of twenty hidden gems. Now I understand that some of these may not be considered hidden gems to horror fanatics like myself, but I’m sure some of these titles have been overlooked by many. And don’t expect any long, drawn out reviews. I’m only going to name the titles and share some personal thoughts or give a brief description of each title. Special thanks to Dexter Lynch for helping me put this together. You can find him on Twitter @SonOfSamLoomis.
My Little Eye (2002): If you’re looking for blood and gore, this will disappoint you. This film is a very slow burn, and relies more on mystery and nail biting suspense. The film is about five young adults who are selected to spend six months in an isolated mansion while being filmed at all times. The catch is that none of them can leave. If they last six months, they each walk away with a million dollars. They think they’re part of an internet based reality series, but when a lost computer programmer who spends most of his time on the internet, shows up on their property and doesn’t even recognize them, they begin to suspect otherwise. This film features a small cameo from a young Bradley Cooper, who plays the stranded computer programmer.
Frailty (2001): Underrated is the first word that comes to mind, though underappreciated might be the better term. This is a film about something that truly scares me because it’s very real; fanaticism. Directed by and starring Bill Paxton, the film also stars Matthew McConaughey and Powers Boothe. In the film, McConaughey’s character pays a visit to an FBI agent (Boothe) and unloads an unbelievable tale about his childhood, where his father (Paxton) believed he was being commanded by God to kill demons in disguise. When their father died, McConaughey’s brother picked up where he left off.
Waxwork (1988): A story about a group of teens lured to a wax museum, where they discover the horror exhibits are even realer than they appear. If they get close enough to the displays, they are transported to a different period in time, where they come face to face with a werewolf, Count Dracula, and the Marquis de Sade, among other threats. There was a sequel, which honestly wasn’t very good and I could’ve lived without watching it.
The Borrower (1991): This title blends horror with science fiction. An evil alien is banished to the planet Earth as punishment for his intergalactic crimes. He’s disguised as a human but with one small problem…every few hours, the alien begins to revert to its true form, prompting him to “borrow” heads from helpless victims to continue to live in disguise and evade capture. Twin Peaks fans may spot Madchen Amick in a small role as a rock groupie. Tommy Towles from House of 1000 Corpses and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer also has a role in this enjoyable Sci-Fi horror flick.
The Hidden (1987): Another film that falls under the Sci-Fi/horror genre. This title is about an alien parasite that possesses human bodies, forcing them to commit violent, senseless crimes. Hunting this extraterrestrial criminal is an FBI agent who may have a few secrets of his own (played by Kyle MacLachlan of Twin Peaks fame, a show where he also played an FBI agent). The film is definitely more Sci-Fi and action than it is horror, but it’s still a fun ride. The opening car chase sequence is a great set up. Directed by Jack Sholder, who also directed Nightmare on Elm Street 2.
Madman (1982): A group of campers accidentally summon an axe-wielding killer named Madman Marz. This is a by-the-books slasher that borrowed a tiny bit from its predecessor Friday the 13th, but memorable enough to stand out on its own. Fans of Friday the 13th and similar titles should definitely enjoy this campfire killer story.
Intruder (1989): The crew of a local supermarket are terrorized and killed off one by one by an unseen stalker. Is the check-out girl’s jealous, violent ex-boyfriend behind all this, or is this the gruesome work of somebody else? Written and directed by Scott Spiegel, produced by Sam Raimi, and featuring a cameo by Bruce Campbell. The film was also produced and co-written by Lawrence Bender (Pulp Fiction). Another fun fact: This is the first film that KNB Effects worked on.
Videdrome (1983): Directed by the brilliant David Cronenberg (The Fly, The Dead Zone, Scanners), this movie follows the president of a small TV station that reels viewers in with everything from hardcore violence to softcore pornography. When Max Renn (James Woods) stumbles onto Videodrome, a pointless, plotless show where people are seemingly tortured and murdered for the viewers “pleasure”, he wants to find out who made it and get it on the air. Once Max is exposed to Videodrome, he experiences bizarre hallucinations that combine sex with violence. Is Max losing his mind? Or is there a power behind these Videodrome transmissions?
Witchboard (1986): I was pleasantly surprised the first time I watched this. I went in not knowing what to expect and was actually quite impressed. A young woman uses a Ouija Board at a party and is promptly terrorized by a spirit that wants to weaken her in order to possess her. This is a creepy and clever little flick that often gets avoided or overlooked. But I think it deserves to be on this list and I hope more people give it a shot.
The Prowler (1981): By the early 80's, the horror genre was booming, with new titles popping up on a weekly basis. One of the adverse effects was the fact that a lot of these slasher titles got overlooked. Such is the case with The Prowler. In 1945, a couple is attacked and murdered by a mysterious prowler dressed in World War II army fatigues. 35 years later, the prowler returns.
The Prince of Darkness (1987): The name John Carpenter is synonymous with horror. The man gave us horror classics like Halloween and The Thing. He terrified us with The Fog. He blew us away with Escape from New York. But I feel like this title always gets overlooked. A priest, played by Donald Pleasence, discovers a mysterious cylinder containing a strange green liquid. The liquid is the embodiment of Satan himself, and those that are exposed to the liquid become possessed. Like most early Carpenter films, this one is tense and carries a classic Carpenter music score.
Eaten Alive (1976): The “forgotten” Tobe Hooper film. Texas Chainsaw fans will rejoice with this film, which retains the same manic, psychotic energy of his seminal film. It also continued Hooper’s brilliant use of sound to enhance the craziness and the suspense. In the film, crazy Judd runs the Starlight and sacrifices his guests to the crocodile that lives in the swamp beside his hotel. The film features an early appearance by Robert Englund, and also stars Marilyn Burns of Texas Chainsaw fame.
Angel Heart (1987): Takes elements of horror and the supernatural, and applies them to a 1950s hardboiled detective story. With Mickey Rourke as its main star, and Robert DeNiro playing the mysterious Louie Cypher, I don’t know if this counts as a hidden gem. But it’s a horror movie that rarely gets mentioned. Harry Angel (Rourke) is a private detective who’s hired to track down a missing musician named Johnny Favorite. His client is bizarre and mysterious, the people he questions start to turn up dead, and horrific visions plague him on his journey to find Johnny Favorite.
Slugs (1988): A movie about killer slugs that were spawned by toxic waste (it’s always toxic waste or nuclear radiation, isn’t it). The film is that simple. It sounds cheesy, and it is. But it’s fun to watch and surprisingly well written. The film maintains a small cult following from horror geeks like myself.
Happy Birthday to Me (1981): Another slasher cult classic that got lost in the fray. I don’t want to spoil anything because this is a film with a twist. But this slasher flick is a step above the rest and very memorable. If you’re a fan of the 80’s slasher genre, you definitely need to check this out.
Curtains (1983): This is not your standard slasher movie. An actress gets herself committed to prove to her director how dedicated she is to her role in his next film. The director is in on it and even helps her get committed. You can imagine how surprised the actress is when she finds out the director is looking to cast a new lead in the film. He invites a few girls up to a secluded mansion to audition for the role. But one of the girls is willing to kill for this role, and that’s exactly what they do. The mask featured in this film is super creepy.
Cutting Class (1989): Featuring Brad Pitt in one of his first major roles. Teachers and students start turning up dead at a high school, and suspicion falls on Brian Woods, a problem teen who was just released from a mental institution not too long ago. But is somebody setting Brian up? Or is he truly guilty? The kills in this slasher are pretty unique, and you could tell by watching this that Brad Pitt was destined to be a star.
Dead and Breakfast (2004): It’s horror. It’s a comedy. It’s a musical? Well, it is in one particular scene. This zombie comedy is a riot and the plot doesn’t follow the standard zombie playbook. A group of friends on their way to a wedding get stranded in the small town of Lovelock. They crash at the bed and breakfast. But when the cook is murdered and the proprietor dies under suspicious circumstances, the stubborn sheriff forbids any of them to leave until he gets answers. The sheriff is played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan of TWD fame. The eccentric owner was in possession of a mysterious box that has the ability to trap and possess souls. Once it ends up in the wrong hands, all hell breaks loose. The special effects are gnarly and the film itself is quite entertaining.
Deep Rising (1998): This film is a guilty pleasure of mine. This has enough gore to classify it as a horror film, but there’s tons of action and plenty of sharp, witty dialogue to make it a joyride. I think Roger Ebert said it best when he said this film is basically Aliens with a fresh paint job. Instead of a spaceship, they’re trapped on an actual ship. Instead of alien creatures, its mutated sea creatures. There’s even a little nod to Aliens when the tentacle creatures open their mouths to reveal a second mouth. The creature effects are quite impressive for its time, when they were just starting to get the hang of CGI and digital effects. The film has a great cast of recognizable actors who all play their parts very well.
Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016): The entire film has this lingering sense of dread and doom. Bravo to the director for pulling that off. I don’t want to spoil too much. It’s better if you just watch it and see how it unfolds. The cops discover a bloody multiple homicide, and make an even more shocking discovery in the basement, when they find a fourth body. A son assists his coroner father in doing the autopsy on the Jane Doe. There are no external visible signs of trauma, but her ankles and wrists are fractured, her tongue has been crudely cut out, her organs scarred and blackened. I don’t know if this title quite belongs on this list, but I’m sure there are some people who have missed out on this film.
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
WORST MOVIES EVER
By Dexter Lynch
Welcome to the first edition of “Worst Movies Ever”. I’m your benevolent (or should I say malevolent) host, Dexter Lynch. You can find me on Twitter @sonofsamloomis (shameless plug).
I don’t know when the next edition will be posted. Probably when I have more free time, which is almost never. But this first entry comes right in time for Halloween. So without any further ado, I’ll be giving you the rundown on some of the worst movies ever, starting with the horror genre. I’ll keep this short, sweet, and to the point. And if you don’t want to take my word for it, track some of these duds down and judge for yourself.
Iced (1988): Chances are you’ve never heard of this one. And if that’s the case, consider yourself lucky. It’s basically a soap opera masquerading as a slasher film. The plot is senseless, the characters are unsympathetic. And it has one of the most ridiculous ending I’ve ever seen in a horror movie, and I’m including the end of Christmas Evil. Watch a real horror movie instead of this tripe. Or if the soap opera element intrigues you, just go and watch Days of our Lives (is that show still on the air?)
The Forest (1982): This is an incoherent mess of a film featuring terrible acting and a mediocre score. Seriously, the scariest thing about this movie is the acting. And the death scenes leave a lot to be desired. Not to mention that the whole ghost children subplot is utterly absurd and feels completely out of place. Avoid this film like a case of the clap.
Night of the Demon (1980): Not to be confused with Night of the Demons (1988). A solid horror score was wasted on this otherwise banal, unremarkable take on the Bigfoot legend. Poor special effects, unconvincing Bigfoot makeup, continuity errors galore; this film has all the red flags of a bad horror movie. My favorite lapse in continuity was the doctor whose face was practically burned off, but when the authorities question him in the hospital, the top half of his face is okay while the rest is hidden under a white sheet. And since when does Bigfoot use an ax or a butcher knife? He’s freaking Bigfoot for crying out loud! The only decent special effect was the “ax through the skull” bit.
A Blade in the Dark (1983): This title falls under the giallo subgenre. The only positive thing I can say about this film is that it has an excellent horror score. The film itself is a tedious, uneventful slasher. Poor effects, little blood, virtually no gore. The slow, plodding story drags out in a futile attempt to create suspense. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t succeed in creating suspense. Avoid this film like your ex.
Psycho Cop (1989): The first Psycho Chop makes a huge mistake by taking itself too seriously. The sequel, Psycho Cop Returns didn’t have that same problem. It knew exactly what it was and it had a lot of fun with that, infusing bloody carnage with over-the-top humor and awful one liners that you can’t help but chuckle at. That’s sadly not the case with the original Psycho Cop. The story follows serial killing cop/devil worshiper Joe Vickers AKA Gary Henley AKA Ted Warnicky. The acting is atrocious to say the very least, and the kills are uninspired. It could’ve been a fun, likable popcorn flick. Instead it was a routine slasher that shares none of the positive qualities of similar titles like Maniac Cop. Don’t watch it unless you’re a glutton for punishment.
Friday, October 11, 2019
BELOW THE SURFACE
By Randy Romero (Randy Benivegna)
Monday, October 7th.
Redfield, New York.
Frank Burke was enjoying his first beer of the evening when in walked Darby Wilkinson, or Wilks as the guys called him down at the plant. He offered to buy Frank a beer, and Frank was never one to turn down a free drink. He was surprised his liver was still going after all these years.
Ridgewood Tavern was virtually empty, but Frank knew the place would be packed by eight o’clock for Monday night football. Ridgewood was Frank’s favorite spot in town. He stopped in every night for a few drinks after his shift.
Frank and Darby worked together at the Redfield Chemical Plant. It wasn’t a dream job for either man, but it paid the bills. But there were always rumors surrounding the plant, and questions that Frank and Darby never dared to ask their superiors.
“How you been, Frank?”
“I can’t complain. How’s the family?”
“Great. Nadine and I are doing well. And we just celebrated Devin’s tenth birthday.”
“They grow up so fast. Well, wish the kid a happy birthday for me, will ya?”
“Sure thing. Hey, did you hear about Crackerjack?” Darby said. Jack Halsey, disparagingly referred to by the guys at the plant as Crackerjack, had worked with Frank and Darby for a period of time. Then he quit to work for the county.
Frank couldn’t remember who started it, but one of their co-workers referred to Halsey as Crackerjack, and the nickname stuck due to his questionable mental state. Halsey was a nice enough guy, but anybody who talked to him could tell he had a few loose screws.
“No, what about Halsey?”
“Kicked the bucket. Heart attack.”
“I wonder if it had anything to do with his little breakdown,” Darby said.
“What do you know about that?” Frank asked.
“Not much. I heard he wigged out at work a month before he died. Why, you know something about it?”
“Only what Halsey told me.”
“And what did he tell you?”
Frank took a big sip of his beer and shook his head. “You wouldn’t even believe me if I told you. I sure as shit didn’t believe him.”
“Tell me anyway. This I’ve got to hear.”
“Well, keep in mind this is Crackerjack Halsey we’re talking about here. But apparently the county was having him repair a busted sewage pipe. The sewers underground here are just a bunch of interconnected tunnels. Very easy to get lost down there if you don’t know the way. Well, according to him, he saw something at the end of one of those tunnels.
Came out looking white as a ghost. That’s when he quit. He wouldn’t talk about it at first. Then one day he told me. I was sitting right here and he came in for a drink, sat down next to me, and he whispered it to me. Said he saw a giant spider, as big as a Great Dane, he claimed. He said it was sitting in a tarp-sized web with raccoons and possums and other tiny animals all wrapped up tightly in silk thread. Said it looked up at him with eight giant eyes and hissed before he ran like the wind.”
“Sounds like something Crackerjack would say.”
“The story itself didn’t scare me. What scared me is how much Halsey seemed to believe it. I mean, who knows what’s really down there, below the surface. And I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors regarding the plant?”
“I try to keep my eyes and ears to myself at work.”
“The Redfield Plant has been accused of dumping chemicals in the past. I know it sounds crazy, but what if they’ve been dumping chemicals into the sewer? And what would happen if something was exposed to that toxic waste?”
“So you’re starting to believe Halsey’s giant spider story?”
“I know one thing, they haven’t sent anybody down into the sewer since Halsey. I’ve got a buddy who works for the county. He says nobody will go down there. And I’m telling you, they’re hiding something from us at the plant. What if they’ve really been dumping chemicals down there like some people say?”
“Giant mutated spiders,” Darby laughed and polished off his beer. Then a hideous thought began to dawn on him.
“Oh, God no…”
“What? What is it?”
“My son wanted a baby alligator. He had it for a few weeks. I told him it died when he was at school one day. But it didn’t really die. My wife was pissed at me for buying it. She didn’t want it in the house. She made me flush it down the toilet…”
By Randy Romero
Carol Abrams took a deep, arduous breath as the elevator doors shimmied open. She stepped in slowly, warily, and exhaled another deep sigh as the elevator doors closed with a light thud.
Carol suffered from an extreme case of claustrophobia. But when you live on the thirty-third floor of a forty floor apartment building, you learn to combat that fear.
It sure beats taking the stairs.
She continued taking deep, laborious breaths as the elevator descended. Its mechanical hum sounded like a power drill in Carol’s skull.
Trapped. That’s how she felt. Confined inside a steel box that had haunted her since she was a little girl. The intense anxiety was enough to make her heart race. She could feel her throat starting to tighten up. She needed to get out of this steel contraption ASAP.
She took soft, weak breaths as it became more and more difficult to breathe. She started silently counting all the floors she had left. Seventeen, sixteen, fifteen, fourteen, thirteen…
The elevator finally reached the ground floor, stopped. But the doors refused to open.
She jabbed the first floor button several times with her index finger.
The doors didn’t open and the elevator resumed moving, traveling down to the basement level. But it didn’t stop there.
She pounded against the doors, frantically mashed all the buttons with her palms. Screamed for help until her throat was coarse. The air felt thin all around her. She pressed the emergency stop button which was unresponsive.
“This isn’t possible,” she cried. “This can’t be happening.”
But the elevator seemed to disagree as it continued its subterranean descent.
After what felt like an eternity to Carol, the elevator came to a sudden stop. The doors slid open and she peered out into the darkness.
A thick raspy voice, like the sound of glass on a chalkboard, greeted her.
“Who are you?” she said, trembling.
“Oh, I have many names…Lucifer, Satan…But I’ve always loved the Prince of Darkness.”
“This isn’t happening…it’s not real…I’m just having a really bad dream.”
“I’m afraid you’re not dreaming. You died Carol. Car accident just a few days ago. And now, you’re here. This is your reward for your sins. Everyone’s hell is different and you are now trapped in your own private hell. Forced to take that terrifying descent over and over. You will spend eternity trapped inside that box.”
“I don’t belong here,” Carol said. “This is a mistake. It’s all a big mistake. If I’m really dead, then I belong in Heaven.”
“There’s no mistake. Have you forgotten about your mother, Carol? Your ailing mother who depended on you for every little thing. You grew sick and tired of waiting on her hand and foot. A little untraceable poison in her soup was all it took. What did you call it to make yourself feel better? A mercy killing? I think that’s the phrase you used to justify it to yourself. I think your mother would have disagreed.”
The elevator doors started to close.
“Wait!” Carol cried out.
“Going up,” the Prince of Darkness said and waved goodbye with one red, clawed hand.
The doors banged shut and the elevator began to ascend.
Thursday, September 26, 2019
By Randy Romero
Billy Kincaid was huffing and puffing the entire hike. He stopped periodically to rest against a tree while he hacked up a lung. Smokers cough. That’s what his doctor called it. The same doctor who’d been urging him to quit for months. But Billy was stubborn and refused to give up the habit.
Kristen Kincaid was ahead of him every step of their hike. Billy’s body wasn’t cut out for this. Worse than the struggle to breathe was the throbbing, aching sensation in both of his knees. He was practically falling apart.
“Come on smoky,” Kristen said. “Try and keep up.”
“I wish you wouldn’t call me that,” he groaned.
They came to an incline in the trail which led to the top of a tall hill.
“Let’s take a break,” he said, breathing laboriously.
He found a log at the bottom of a hill and sat to catch his breath. Kristen rested her backpack against the log, opened it up, and dug out her Nikon digital camera.
“I’m going to run up the hill and get a few photos.”
“Have fun with that,” he said and waved her away.
He stretched his sore legs, accidentally kicking Kristen’s backpack. The bag tipped over, its contents spilling out.
Among the items in her backpack, Billy spotted a strange looking doll. He reached over and picked it up. It eerily resembled him. The likeness was uncanny. Two pins had been jammed into its knees. And two identical pins had been hammered into the torso, right about where his lungs would be.
He examined it and accidentally put too much pressure on the back with his thumbs, causing him to wince as a bolt of pain shot down his spine. He dropped it into the dirt, and another shock wave of pain surged through his body.
The pain was so intense, he failed to notice Kristen’s return. She picked up the doll and dusted it off. “Neat, huh? This was worth every penny.” She drove two fingers into the abdomen, splintering his ribs. He fell to the ground, thrashing in pain.
“I know you’ve been sleeping with his secretary. Did you think I wouldn’t find out? A wife always knows. As soon as I found out, I started thinking of all these different revenge fantasies. I thought about getting a gun and shooting you in your sleep. I thought about smothering you with a pillow or poisoning you. But in the end I settled for old fashioned voodoo.”
He tried to pick himself up and lunge at her, but she bent one of the legs and he felt his own leg snap. He crashed to the dirt, his screams echoing through the vast trails. She took the other leg and snapped it, and Billy felt his bones shatter.
She ended his suffering by ramming a final pin into the doll, right about where Billy’s heart would be. He died instantly. Kristen tucked the doll in her backpack and started walking the same way they had come. She would dispose of the doll eventually, right after she reported her husband as missing…
By Randy Romero
…Reports of a grisly murder, as a woman’s body was discovered just outside of Ravensville, Pennsylvania earlier this morning. We have learned that the victim is a young female between the ages of 25 and 30, though the police are refusing to release her name until they notify her next of kin. This comes just after the bodies of several other young women were discovered in an abandoned steel mill–
Jane clicked the radio off in a hurry. She couldn’t stand to listen to another word. It was nauseating. The papers and the news channels were calling the killer the Ravensville Slasher. The killer sliced and diced his victims, carved their bodies up like Thanksgiving turkeys.
Ravensville used to be a save place. Used to be.
The phone rang in the kitchen. Jane was one of the few people who still had a landline. She put her coffee mug down on the kitchen counter and walked over to the phone, picked it up from its cradle and twirled the cord around one finger.
“Hello?” Jane answered.
A familiar voice was on the other end of the phone, panicked and breathless.
“Listen very carefully, Jane. We don’t have much time. There’s a man after you. He’s already killed four people. And he’ll kill you too if you don’t stop him.”
“Who are you? What is going on? How do you know my name?”
“Because, Jane…I am you. The future version of you. But if you don’t stop this lunatic, both versions of us will cease to exist. Your present and future self will be erased.”
There was a sudden knock at the door that made Jane’s blood run cold.
“That’s him, isn’t it?” she whispered.
“Yes,” Jane’s twin said. “Hang up and call the police. Then go to the kitchen drawer and get yourself a knife. The one with the white handle.”
The knocking at Jane’s door turned to pounding.
She hung up and frantically phoned the police. Then Jane did as she was advised and retrieved a large kitchen knife from the top drawer, the one with the white handle.
The pounding continued as the crazed Ravensville Slasher rammed the door repeatedly with his shoulder. The lock could no longer endure the stress and the door splintered around the knob and swung open.
He was a tall, husky man, dressed all in black. His face was shrouded by a black ski mask with no mouth hole, only two holes for his piercing gray eyes. He clutched a sickle in his left hand. Jane was terrified, but she managed to stand her ground. She gripped the white handle of the knife tightly and dared him to make a move.
“Come and get me you son of a bitch.”
He charged across the living room, swinging wildly with the curved blade of the sickle. She moved out of the way just in time and ran circles around the couch, the killer giving chase. She ran around the whole living room, attempting to tire him out, but the man showed no signs of relenting. So she bolted for the front door, but he sprang towards her, the sickle slicing down her back, cutting deep.
She spun around as he raised the sickle again. She grabbed his hand as he tried to drive the sickle down, the blade mere inches from her face. She struggled to force the curved blade away, and managed to get one knee up, striking him between the legs. The sickle dropped from his hand as he crumbled to his knees.
She summoned all her strength to ram the kitchen knife into his chest, retracted it, then stabbed him again. And again. And again. She didn’t stop until his body was riddled with stab wounds and the beige living room carpet was drenched in blood.
She dropped the knife with a heavy sigh of relief. Jane heard the sirens in the distance. The police were close. The phone rang in the kitchen and she ran to answer it.
“Is it over?” a familiar voice asked.
“It’s over,” Jane sighed. She winced in pain from the deep gash running down her back. She let the phone slip from her and dangle from its cord.
The police were at her front door, staring inside at the body of the Ravensville Slasher. His reign of terror over. Ravensville was safe once again.
The police radioed for an ambulance and tended to a wounded Jane. The police had questions, but those would have to wait. And Jane had questions of her own, like the phone call that had warned her of the attack. Was she really speaking to her future self? How was it even possible? But those questions would have to wait, too…