He Spoke of Death





He spoke of murder like poetry,

Of hands on hearts,

Deep inside of forbidden secrets.


He whispered words like “torture”,


And “eviscerate”

As if they were the sweetest things imaginable.


A thousand horrors roiling in my mind,

An insufferable urge to destroy,

To hurt

To inflict


Coupled with an incomparable joy

Found only

In one other.


His words were red and lush,

Covering things previously unknown

At once shadowed and enlightened;

Simultaneously brillant,

And terrible.

Absolutely beautiful.


He spoke of death like religion,

Like the last great adventure;

As some barely-concieved bit of brilliance.


He spoke of death as if he’d tasted it,

Somehow feeling my experiences through our bond,

Knowing more than me about things I’ve come so close to,

Dipped just deep enough into.


He spoke of beautiful,

Terrible things.


Of our mutual desires,

Shared nightmares

And combined promises.

 By Nick Ransom

Victim #16

The blood rushed thick,so thick. Making pools around my ankles. Pools, sticky like sweat. Pools like rain turning into a flood. It pounded in my organs, swelling the skin, irritating the surface. I was dizzy from the loss of blood.

It didn’t stop me from running.      

   My muscles ached. All the nerves down my spinal column were ripped, torn, and mutilated, making a mess of my receptors. There was an earthquake colliding in me. 

   Despite all that, I ran.         

   There were bubbles of breath and blood, bubbles made from holes made from stab wounds in my skin. I would have fainted from the pain were I not so focussed on the way my feet tumbled against the ground.

   When you’re running for your life, you learn to look beyond physical limitations.

   I could hear him. Right behind me. Was he close enough to reach me yet? Close enough to grab at my skirt? Close enough to tickle the nerves of my neck?

   I wouldn’t dare look back.

   I wondered how close he was.       

   Branches were slashed down in his wake, an indication of his rage. His panting was so heavy and excited, brimmed with lust and aggravated, primal pleasure.

   Was he close enough to grab me?   

   I kept running.        

   My instincts told me to scream, fight. I knew that neither action would help.

   Everywhere, unearthed roots and awkward dips in the underbrush threatened to trip me, send me tumbling and curling up into the dirt, my skin bruised, my lungs collapsed, my doom sealed. What would I look like then, tumbling over some stray bit of rock, arms flailing, blood and sweat spraying, mouth wide open in desolated shock. Would the dull burn of my overworked bones be enough to make me give up? Or would I scramble upwards, paranoia screeching in my lungs, and force myself to keep running?

   Such thoughts made me snatch desperate glances at the ground below, so as to ensure my fear would not come true. So fucking desperate.

   Oxygen was a long-forgotten luxury. My lungs were now living on panic. Panic. Pure and clean. Simple and true.

   Yet somehow my feet still managed to press and spring, my arms still managed to pump, and I still managed to run.

   Did he yell something to me? My heart was pounding too hard to hear. I could only think of his knife, no doubt still clutched in his fingers. I could only think of my blood still licking at its tip.

   I tried to remember the last time I laughed or looked to the sky, or tossed my hair with exhilaration. Such pleasures seemed so long passed.

   My lungs were burning, and I tasted blood in my mouth. Were all of my insides bleeding by now?

   I couldn’t feel my fingers. I swayed in my step, but kept running.

   Everywhere, my skin was feeling tight. Dizziness mutated into nausea, and I felt so surely that this was where I would die. I was to die at the hands of a maniac on the trail of some shabby forest. The trees would mark my grave site. My flesh would melt into the grass, fertilizing the soil, and I would continue to nurture baby trees long after my Missing Person signs had been taken down from cork boards.

   Despair overtook me.  Sweat dripped in my eyes, stinging them, causing my eyelids to jerk, sporadically blocking my sight. My lips cracked and bled. I felt like I was going to vomit. Would I die there, covered in my own bodily fluids, a victim to chance and fate?

   Then, I tripped, catapulted into a frenzy. Thunder tumbled through my veins as I fell onto the mossy ground, out of coordination and into utter vulnerability. I skidded, and my knees and hands were the first to brace themselves against the impact. My skull ached, confused by this swift turn of events.

   For a while, it seemed there was nothing left to the world but me and this pain. Until I heard his footsteps right near my head.

   If I’d had time to gather hope, I may have prayed. But it was too late for that. I was beyond praying. I was beyond running. All I did was roll onto my back, and silently admit surrender.

   Before I blacked out, I felt his hands underneath my armpits. As he tugged me to my feet, I thought I heard him whisper,

   “Time to take you home now, pet.”



   I’ll admit it: I love it when they run. A woman’s body wiggles so excitedly when it runs. Their legs kick up in the air like deer, trembling under the weight of stress and desperation. It’s such a pleasure for the eyes.

   You can’t judge me for that, sir. If you saw them run the way I do, you’d like it too.

   Their blood pumps so much harder when they run. Their blood is hot, all fluid, all angry, all too willing to leak. Blood always tastes better when it’s fresh and terrified.

   When she ran, I imagined just how fast her pulse was, just how much sweat was slipping down her tender, supple skin. I thought of how every gland, every pore, every molecule, every fibre in her body was secretly craving my knife, to feel it graze the skin and slice through.

   I do not hate women. I love them. I love the way their insides look.

   When she ran, my heart went straight to my groin. There is a painful flirtation in a woman when she runs.

   As she slipped out and bounded off, I could tell she was different. Indeed, she was the most kindred of spirits I’d ever entwined myself with. This girl wanted my knife. She needed it. She needed the violence even more than I did.

   She was lovely when she smiled, and gorgeous when she screamed. When that blithe curve of the lip mutated into a horrified shock and a sanctioned pain, I so wanted to kiss those lips and have that look remain there forever.

   Her knees were so pretty curled up in my car, but all the more attractive when spun into the air. And those ankles! So small I could have wrapped a hand around each and snapped them like fleshy twigs.

   She must have known that I love the chase. Why else would she have run so artistically? Yes, it was our little game to play with each other. Fear was her favourite aphrodisiac.

   There was no way I was going to lose her in the forest I knew so well. Besides, I needed the chase. It was what made my craving lash out with acute precision.

   She trembled, and I moaned in pleasant agony. I like my ladies shaken, and shaken well.

   Not only is fear an aphrodisiac, but a spice for the body. Blood seasoned with fear is always the sweetest.

   Without fear, a woman is tasteless and bland, thick and dry. Without that zip in the blood, a woman is of no interest to me. But add just one dash of pure terror, and that woman will become everything I need to survive.

   Never could I find satisfaction in a girl with a stiff upper lip and firm resolution. Those skanks have nothing in them but modern machinery, essences of the latest factory perfume and wires where their cunt should be.

   But a girl who is completely open, exposed and emotional… a woman who will scream for mercy or beg for release… now that’s a girl worth running after.

   Her legs were so flamboyant in the breeze, unsure of where to turn next. I could have kept in time with her easily, but I didn’t want to risk losing her. Her distress was far too enrapturing. I needed to learn what her flesh tasted like, and what naughty sorts of secrets she was hiding between her legs. I needed to feel her body squirm, her chest cave, her mouth squeal. I needed to see her tears smear her make-up into smudges, making her all the more beautiful and all the more vulnerable.

   The smell of her blood in the air spun me into mania. I called after her, liberated by my sins.

   My knife needed to kiss her skin again, to tease the tips of the nerves, then go deeper, deeper, deeper, until she was begging for more. My knife had to nest in the darkest caverns of her meat.

   Her legs buckled. Soon, she would be completely at my mercy, and I couldn’t wait until she was back in my arms again.

   Until she was ready to take my knife back into her.

   Violence is among the purest instincts of man.

   When she tripped, I was ready for her. I bolted, exuberant, panting, sparkles erupting in my eyes like fireworks on the fourth of July. The world was bursting with perfection, and it was all for me.

   I could have just done her right then and there, left her body as feed for the worms. But I couldn’t finish it like that. I had to do a girl like her right.

   I had to hear her screaming when I gave the final stab.


   My eyesight failed me, at first. There was a tug at my skirt, like a dog was nibbling on the edge of it. My thoughts strayed to places of unequivocal balance, where the wind was still and music kept a safe place for colours in the sky. In the darkness, I was safe. Behind my eyelids, I was safe.

   But the darkness could not protect me forever. Sure enough, my eyes creaked open, adjusting to newly found light and dingy surroundings. My optic nerve split with slashes of brown and cases of shadow, and it soon became apparent that a certain man was staring at me. A certain man I’d hoped had just been a nightmare.

   He grinned like a jackal, hungry for my blood.

   I found I was strung to a ceiling, wrists tied, ankles bound, like my life had mutated into some grade-b horror film. 

   The wound in my waist had begun to coagulate and collect germs, but I felt no pain.

   Would you believe me if I said I wasn’t scared? True, the fight or flight response was stirring in my blood, but mentally, I was resolute.

   I imagined slithering through my bonds and leaking onto the unfinished concrete, becoming a soapy substance he’d have to mop up.

   He wouldn’t be able to hurt me if I evaporated into the air.


   She pawed at the air like a cat sunning itself. She bat her confused little eyelashes. When those eyes finally sat on my face, I wanted them to pop straight into ecstatic terror. They didn’t.

   This disappointed me. There was no need for her to hide her excitement. We needed to be completely honest with each other. Deep down, every girl dreams of having a blade stuck deep into her.

   I grabbed her chin and brought her close so that she’d understand I’d won. I grazed my fingers against her trembling knee, muscles still weak from our game. Her cells screamed and salivated, begging to be touched, invaded, explored. Her nerves had no idea just how much they needed pain.            

   When I tried to kiss her, I finally got a noise. She cried out like a cat with its tail caught in the garage door. There were little spasms under her skin, spasms that assured me she wasn’t as scared as she was excited. She wanted to feel the pain just as much as I wanted to give it to her.

   Up and down her body I stared, creating mental marks where I’d like my blade to kiss her.

   I couldn’t wait to spread her wide open against the floor like a bearskin rug, stretch out her skin so thin and fresh I’d be able to wear it as an overcoat. I couldn’t wait to see her insides glow and palpitate, the reds and browns and purples smearing inside each other, until soon it would all fade into a dismal, deadly gloom.

   Soon, she’d just be a stain. A stain on my cock and my fingers.

   The most intimate relationship is the one between the killer and his victim. No one could ever understand what passion and closeness is found in the giving and receiving of torture, or how touching it is to not only look into a person’s eyes, but dig in so deep that you can see everything that’s lying underneath. 

   I had looked long enough. That blood smear on her shirt was gushing sensually, naked without a pair of lips squeezing out the last drop. So I knelt down, worshipping the sensitivity in her soul, and lifted up her shirt. At this, her mouth, which had pursed into a grimace beyond human limitation, now started blurting out fearsome little fears, pleas and promises, words that stirred me into rapture such as ‘no’, ‘please’, ‘beg’, ‘don’t’. I felt exclamation points dotting the end of every short urgency:

   “Please, don’t do that! I beg of you! Let me go! I won’t tell, I promise!”

   Of course I took in the sight of her hard, trembling nipples with a moan of lustful frenzy, but that wasn’t what I really wanted. What I wanted was her blood. And there I saw it, my own handiwork gawking at me with humility and awe, whispering, ‘Please, please, put your tongue on me. Lick me up, lick it alllll up…”

   So I did. I put my mouth on her wound with half a mind to suck it dry.

  My cock was nearly bursting through my jeans, driven mad by this weak little lady who was built to be dominated. Breathing heavy, hands still holding her shirt above her breasts, I allowed my lips to be overwhelmed by her red juices. Her taste was one of temptation and sweetness. Her sobs only made me suck harder, and I thought of her pretty face wetted with tears, contorted with hopelessness. She wriggled on the wall, and I imagined the strain it was putting on her wrists. With every struggle, she’d get weaker (though hopefully, not so weak that she’d stop screaming).

      I lapped around the edges of the bloody chasm with my tongue, going slow- I wanted to savour her taste.

   “You taste amazing. Perfect. Best one yet.” I stood to my feet and whispered this in her ear. She flung her head away from me, wincing. What an honest girl, I thought. So honest and open about fearing me. No attempt to be strong. Nothing but submission and begging noises.

   “I’ll bet other parts of you taste even better,” with this, my hand stroked the hem of her skirt again. She let out a plaintive cry, everything below the neck shuddering. I smiled, forcing her cheek to press against my own rough stubble. I wanted to scrape up her skin.

   “You’re scared, aren’t you.”

   Her eyes bored into me. We shared a very special moment then, a moment that bound us as one.

   “Deep down though, you like it. I can tell. Every single bitch secretly loves to be terrified.”

   Another shudder, another wince, but no answer. My fingers twirled around her skirt, inspecting the fabric, letting my eyes explore the skin just below. Then I placed my hand up higher, just inches away from her mound, the part that every woman tries to hide, the part that every woman only reveals to those that she desires more than air. I was welcoming myself to her private world of pleasures, no invitation necessary.

   She asked me to stop, but I was just getting started.


   Being violated does some strange things to the mind. I drifted off in a way to protect myself, thinking of jogs in my neighbourhood, dew droplets on grass. Anything from the beautiful to the basic to the absolutely distorted. Even leftover bones on plates and spills of pop on tables. Anything but that man’s daring face and endless eyes.

   His eyes. Like whirlpools of sharp decay. Ever spinning, growing deeper and deeper, disposing all hope left in life. His eyes were the last doorway to hell, the one doorway that could never be closed.  When he started touching me, my mouth took control, saying what a normal hostage would say, begging what any human would beg in my situation. I played the role quite well. I let my life become a horror movie. I let myself become everything he’d hoped I’d be.

   Why? I knew what he wanted from me. I figured that maybe if I played along with his sick fantasies, things would work out.

   My mind was somewhere that very few people have been. Little dollops of fresh air spiced up the horizon, with a sun that began to melt and freeze and melt again, until every ray was crooked, every shadow strangely mutated. Beads of liquid on my face pooled slowly, calmly marching down the rim of my cheek, so far away, yet carrying everything important that belonged to me. All that was left in tangibility was pain, and surrealism was my only escape.

   I sketched rain drops dancing in puddles, making instant footprints like tiny little feet. My blood became rain, a senseless, common thing, wetting my skin and pulling at my immune system. My tears became the sky, shadows, a breath of air, a shimmer from a mirror. My tears became my future falling away from me. Everything that I wanted to be and could have been was compressed into those specks of salt water trickling down my face. So slow, but so sure.

   I couldn’t stay there forever. Like my blackout in the ravine, my mental escape was trivial and temporary.       

   Then terror came crashing in. That sick demon, that twisted creature stroked me where no one had ever touched. NO. DON’T. PLEASE DON’T TOUCH ME THERE…

   He was the first person I ever shared a sexual moment with, and I hated him for that. He stuffed a thumb inside me and everything stretched, boiling red. Fingers became a disgusting thing. 

   My wrists and ankles were burning from every little movement I made, and my brain was already knee-deep in dizziness from the blood loss. I could smell my own blood on his mouth as he dragged my face in for a kiss.

   It was either be kissed or be killed. So, I bided my time and let his tongue shove in my mouth, curling around on my own. He bit away at me, ripping the suppleness of my lips, tearing until there was no area untouched.  Every little place he touched would smart, even as his hand rubbed me raw down below.

   It was not the movement that mattered. Regardless, my body refused to respond to his hand and its shameless manoeuvres. There was no way to clear anxiety from my head, and absolutely no way that nausea dancing in my gut could be replaced with any kind of passion. I was beyond the luxuries of energy. All I could do was hang from my crooked wrists, and let him claim as much of me as he wanted.

   ‘But he will never claim my heart,’ I thought sternly, sniffling through the blood and tears that were congregating on my chin. ‘My heart and brain belong to me.’

   Completely awake to his stale breath, his heaving chest, and most of all his wandering hands, I couldn’t stop my mouth from running away. My vocal chords were thick with phrases that made no sense to me, and that didn’t even strike a reaction on my abductor’s face. His rubbing of my clitoris turned into harsh, sudden pinching, and I once again begged for release ‘till my throat was hoarse. When I stopped babbling and started to gasp for new air, he murmured in my ear,

   “Aw, do keep screaming, do.” he slapped his mouth on mine for another kiss, then smacked me suddenly. “No? Fine. Save it then.” His one hand went to his belt, and I heard a scraping sound as steel on leather. Then, there was a cold knife laying flat on my stomach.

   Chills flooded all through my abdomen. It was like for a moment I’d forgotten his true purpose for tying me up. It was as if a part of me had hoped that he would invade me, beat me, and let me go. But we were not in some alley in the wee hours of a Friday night on the bad side of town. We were in what I could only assume was his house, a place where he could take his time, and no one would hear my screams.

   This would not be an issue of anxiety-ridden rape, with him knocking me unconscious then scattering into the dark like a rat in retreat. He could take as much time with me as he wanted.

   Between sections of my brain, anxiety curdled. I was victim to the devilish whims of this monster. This man with teeth like razor blades.

   “You’ve already had the pleasure of meeting this blade. It’s already gotten a taste of your gut.”     I tried to curb his hand from touching me, but he already had the nerve to push another finger in. It hurt terribly, and the burning sensation in my labia continued to gripe and groan.  How I longed to hurt him. Or would he just enjoy that? Would he feel we were connected, exchanging pain back and forth like sweet nothings?  

   I felt as though I would vomit. Nothing in the world was safe anymore. Not picnics on Sunday or parties on Saturday. Not libraries, not birthday parties. He was raping all of me, and destroying everything I loved.

   I tried going back to those jogs near the park, tried to imagine my feet thundering smoothly on the pavement. Tried to imagine skipping over fallen branches in the fall. None of it came to me.


   When my knife is against a girl’s writhing frame, I need to know that she is giving me her complete attention. I cannot have them flitting about in another world when I need them, right there, in the moment with me. Torture and abuse are a conglomeration of the senses, a meeting of worlds. I need to know they’re feeling it just as intensely as I am.

   I saw something in her eyes, something that told me she was drifting away. I had to snap her back into my arms. Whatever could I do to enhance the pain again? Then I realized that with this one, it wasn’t so much her body, but her brain that needed invading. So I kissed her again. I wanted to erase every other mouth that had found her lips before, have her forget any other man that looked at her nice or called her pretty. I wanted her to feel like we were the only people left in the world.       


   My thoughts drew circles around my soul, closing it down, sealing it shut.


    That bitch. She was avoiding my gift to her, the gift of pain. How dare she!

   “Look at me, slut!” I slapped her, felt the vibrating skin on my palm. “You can’t leave me alone here! I need this!”

   My voice broke, for an instant. I wondered if that was why she opened her eyes again. Maybe she did love me, after all.

   I calmed down. She did love me. I could see it in her eyes. She loved what was happening, what we were sharing. Eyes are indeed a gateway to the soul, and I saw everything in hers.

   To keep her awake to me, I pressed the blade down just enough to split skin.

   Tears sprinkled her innocent angel face, and I took up my knife to catch some of the drops and mix it with her blood. Tears and blood are the most beautiful things that could ever come out of a person. They hit your heart harder than poetry.

   I dug into her with shallow cuts, to encourage the blood flow without killing her. She swayed from the wall, neck weak, jaw sagging. I dug my hand up into her insides, fisting her all the way through, sure to stretch out those beautiful, virgin walls. She was so tight, contracting the more she whimpered. I moved half my arm in and out, forcing her to become wet.

   A woman’s body is built to betray her.

   I wanted to bite her lips so hard they would slide right off her face. To make her beauty last forever, I would have to break her down into digestible pieces and release her into the world. That is the true way of things. Art and sex and death and beauty are all the same essence, compartmentalized into sections.

   Humans are just groups of cells mashed together. The soul is just a clump of memories sewn tightly so they won’t fall apart. And a murder is just one rest stop on the road to magnificence. The people in the world who haven’t killed are doing nothing but repressing their finest instincts. Once you approach that purity, you can never turn your back from it.

   I needed to feel her, to know her fully, her blood had to speak to me, tell me secrets that nobody had ever heard. So I drew new incisions on her skin that would collapse and dry once her heart had stopped beating. I made delicate patterns on her already so delicate body, and my head thrummed at the beautification taking place. She would be the most unique corpse I’d ever created.

   The scars and grooves on her disjointed body would cause tremors in the newspapers and anxiety in the police stations. They would haunt the nightmares of detectives for years and years to come. Through her mangled, dead form, I would live on in legend.

   Surely she could realize how vital her role was in my world? How much her pain meant to me? How much we were sharing with each other?

   I couldn’t help but kiss her everywhere, with both my lips and my knife. I kissed her all the way from her strung up wrists, to the tips of her dirtied hair, to the tears that trailed as far down as her breasts. Hoping to maybe crack some ribs, I doubled back and punched her in the stomach. She lurched forward and spluttered sobs. It was a perfect moment, and I decided then and there that I had to have her. Immediately.

   It was as if there was too much happening in my mind for me to manage her torture gracefully. I had all the time in the world, yet urgency was springing around in my system like a rocket. My erection was so thick and red hot, and I had to show her exactly what she was doing to me.

  We were meant to share everything together.

   I didn’t have to worry about her running or fighting when I took her down from the wall. Because I knew deep down, she wanted this as much as I did.


   He woke me from my daze, my trembling constitution. Shock flowed through my wrists when they were released and I tumbled into his arms. What was he doing? Letting me go, or readying himself for the kill?

   I pretended I was basking in the sun, reading in my bed, safe. Everything could be warm, yes, warm and soft and OH GOD WHY DOES HE HAVE TO KEEP TOUCHING ME THERE…

   I didn’t bother thinking what was going to come next. When people are built for a killing, there is no reasoning with them. There’s no question of if they are ever going to kill- the only thing to ask is when.       

   I tried not to allow reality to come too quickly. Instead, I imagined pulling my fingers across that old, worn fabric of my bedspread, tracing the lines of embroidery. But then he bit my breasts and threw me to the ground. When my head hit the floor with a decisive clunk, blood invaded all those happy memories. Everything had been broken down into terror and imminent destruction.

   “Open your eyes, my pet. Let me see that silky blue again. It matches so well with the red…”

   My vertebrae snapped to attention of his words, and despite the fact that my brain was curdled and blood had begun to lazily collect inside of me, I obeyed him. For him, no. The truth is, I wanted to look at him. I wanted my eyes to somehow manage to haunt him in his sleep. I wanted to ruin his whole life like he’d ruined mine.

   Once again I was met with those unchanging eyes, spooled with hate. Was it hate or was it lust? Which would have terrified me more? Which kind of desire was more poison, more potent?

    My lip didn’t even quiver when he lifted my skirt high over my stomach. PLEASE DON’T TOUCH ME THERE AGAIN, PLEASE DON’T…

   I was screaming on the inside, but I wouldn’t give him the pleasure of hearing it.

   He rolled me over, face to the floor, blood dribbling in my mouth, head swaying in the fierce hold of impact. His hands covered me, suffocating every sense of self, and then I felt every nerve between my legs rip.         

   The nightmare of his knife, the trauma in his lips- none of it compared to that moment when he tore through the very core of my femininity, and pushed past barriers I’d built up since birth. There is always meant to be one thing for each person that is special and private to them, and with one fell swoop, one burning, wretched thrust, this man took that away from me. I was officially abandoned to pure, humiliated pain.

   Grunts, moans, and nasty cusses were flowing from his mouth like vomit, filling my ear up with their gross unholiness. I tried to scramble away, my feet kicking themselves up in panic. I went back to the moment when I tripped and fell in the woods. If it hadn’t been for that damnable dip in the ground, I could have escaped from this monster’s claws.


   This time, I let him hear me. I lunged, bit, swore, and kicked. I wouldn’t let him take me easily.


    “Now there’s the scream I was looking for!”

   She was just struggling so I could dominate her more. I punched her down and bit her hard. Her yells and cusses and cries made her muscles squeeze even tighter on me.  She had muscles in her cunt strong enough to chaff my cock. I loved it.

   The way one’s body pulls and lurches when trapped in fear, as if thrown into bowels of bliss; it’s enough to drive the man inside of you mad. The instant I pressed through her naturally wetted walls, I knew I was the first to feel her. And wasn’t she lucky, to have her first experience of carnal, physical love revealed to her in the most violent and honest of ways. She wasn’t embracing the pain enough to keep her fluids moving and dried up quickly, but that didn’t matter to me- all I needed was the raw connection of her skin collapsing on my own. Wrenching in and out, shoving, pushing, being consumed by her very essence.

   She was mine, all mine. There was nothing left in her that I couldn’t touch or control.


   Then, something strange happened. Again I watched as my average, happy life was swarmed by this man’s savagery and contempt. I saw every pleasant evening writhe in agony, and thought, ‘No. I won’t let him do this to me.’.


   I panted, basking in the rush as orgasmic fluids rose in me. I couldn’t wait to come inside of her, and then slice her all the way open with my blade. Watch my cum shoot inside of her, then out all the holes I’d made. Pull myself out and push the knife in, slicing all the way up her pretty stomach, letting her intestines loose. With my peak would come the even more pleasurable sensation of ripping this lovely thing to shreds.


   His mind was far away, unlike my own. Where he was lost in the satisfaction of my rape, I was completely lucid and livid. He didn’t even protest when I turned on my side; in fact, I think it enhanced his sensation. I let him have his way, calming my insides, shutting down the parts of me that longed for puddles of rain and orange sunsets. I let go all those parts of me, and replaced them with the steely resolution to survive, no matter the consequences. The hand that held his knife was right against my shoulder, trembling with each invasive push into me.

   His grip on it was weak.


   The way she turned on her side- yes, she wanted it. I knew then that she longed for my knife, just as she’d longed for me to be plunging inside of her.


   A scramble, a struggle, a kick. I took him completely by surprise.

   My leg pushed against his chest, flinging him backward and onto the floor. Oh, how stunned and feeble he looked as he crashed to the ground. It thrilled me in a way I’d never felt before. For the first time, pleasure pooled between my legs. Blood became a lubricant.

   The knife lay like an arrow between us, pointing directly at his quickly deflating erection. Before he had time to regain his composure or sense of superiority, I grabbed his own weapon and slashed down on his penis, still exposed in full view.

   His howl reached and burst through the ceiling with its high, unruly pitch. I sawed and hacked as he mewed, squealed and scrambled like a pathetic dying animal, kicking and clawing and biting and gnashing. I’d never felt a love so vicious before! We were one, he and I, connected by my blade. It was the best game I ever played.

   His blood exploded on my hand, arm, and face, mixing with my own, dribbling down my mouth. The taste was unexpectedly sweet, like liquid candy.

   There was no way he could fight then. His eyes rolled around in their sockets as if deranged, his tongue hanging loose, chest heaving with breath-like spasms. I crawled up from his mutilated hips to his startled, mortified face, and smiled cruelly.

   “You taste amazing, pet.”

   I watched as my hand dug the knife into his belly. It would have taken a considerable amount of force, but my arm didn’t feel a thing. I was drenched in hostility, beautiful and pure. There wasn’t a single ounce of pressure or pain on my demented form. I felt nothing but titillating inspiration, as if art were unfolding right in front of me. 

   But my taste for justice was not yet quenched. I was sure to masticate him, to make his corpse the worst sort of sight to see. This mutilated sack of viscera would haunt policemen for years to come. I ensured that no piece of skin remained whole, until his carpet and couch were oozing with his blood. As I let the knife fall, I finally understood.

   The most intimate relationship ever known is with a killer and her victim. Nobody else can ever understand the closeness and connectivity when you drive a blade into someone’s body, and feel their life disintegrate. It’s an intense romance you can’t even imagine until you breathe it in, and let it consume you.

By Caitlin Hoffman

Psychopathic Dreams


Drip, drip, drip.
The blood falls from my knife.
I am running through the woods.
I am chasing a semi nude blonde with big tits.
Screams fill the night like unfulfilled babies fill a condom.
Her neck is cut I laugh and sing.
You’re dead bitch you’re dead can’t you see
how much happier I am now that you are dead?
Corpses fill my kitchen, sink and bathtub.
In the bedroom I must confess I keep two or three dead girls.
They are the most fun you see.
In my head I dream these wonderful dreams.
These dreams of murder and violence
all are apart of my psychopathic dreams!

By Doug Robbins


For as long as he could remember, Mike had wanted to fuck a dead girl.

He fostered no hate towards women or even a real drive to kill; he’d just always had a thing for dead girls. He’d hidden it from everyone in his life for years, had staved it off with the fake necroporn you could find on the internet (even though the girls were always breathing, they were simply caked with tons of white makeup and told to lie still) but even in the most desperate times, Mike thought of those as little more than a grainy copy of a copy. He had thought once or twice, rather halfheartedly, of summing up the courage to go out and kill a girl, but he couldn’t imagine doing it.

Mike had never been a violent man, and thought he never would be. He just wanted to have sex with a corpse. A cold, compliant lover that would never insult him, never laugh in his face. Rigid, but in so many ways, pliant.

When he thought about it, he felt he could trace his strange desires back to a single moment in time, when he was maybe 13 or 14. He and his friend Tristan had a game they’d invented while IMing each other back and forth. The game was simple: find the most disturbing or gross picture on the internet, send it to the other person. If they gave up, cried or vomited, you won. In retrospect, Mike realized that Tristan was really a sadistic bitch for starting the game because at the time, Mike had been fairly naive, and was easily disturbed by just about anything.

Tristan, on the other hand, seemed to get off on the weird and miserable. So one night, when the “accept file transfer” came up, Mike accepted it, if somewhat reluctantly. He was always secretly worried that Tristan would send him something so awful that it would scar him permanently, that the anonymous horror would suddenly infest every aspect of his life, even the sacred realm of sleep. Mike almost toppled his computer chair when the file finally loaded and opened itself, full-size on his monitor. The filename read “Black Dahlia Murder”.

The photo was grainy, but Mike could see what mattered. A woman who might’ve been beautiful once, her mouth slashed open to her ears, her eyes still open. Before he had a chance to really react, a second one opened up. The same woman he suspected, cut in half, both parts of her torso lying in a grass field. Mike sat there for what seemed like hours, staring at the photos, wondering why he wasn’t gagging, crying, screaming at Tristan for battering his eyes with something so awful. And then he realized it. It wasn’t awful, at least not to him, at least not anymore.

Up until this point, Tristan had sent him messy, chaotic photos of car accidents and train wrecks, of infected body parts and pus, of dead dogs and animals. All of those had traumatized Mike and wreaked insane amounts of stress on his nausea. Never before had he seen an actual corpse of a woman, or at least not one that was recognizable. When he could finally think straight again, he responded to Tristan with two words, “Thank You”, saved the photos and signed off. He printed them and stashed them in his pocket so his parents wouldn’t see and took them into his room where he could see them better.

Pulling out a magnifying glass he’d gotten years ago as a Christmas present, Mike laid the full-page photos out on his desk and stared at them in a mix of awe, mystery, and growing desire. He couldn’t understand why he had a hard on, trying to tell himself over and over “Death is bad, death is evil”. He’s even cried when his grandmother had died a year ago, how could he think a dead girl was sexy?

Regardless of his logic though, he couldn’t stop staring at her, couldn’t stop wondering how her cold, malleable flesh would feel, wondering if he touched her insides if they would be wet or dried out. Mike felt a sudden urge to cry, confusion beyond that of an average puberty-stricken boy welling up in him, morality and urges fighting an awful battle behind his bright green eyes. He closed his eyes and leaned back in the chair, the Black Dahlia’s wonderful, hideous face swimming in his mind. He could see her unnatural mouth peeling open, a massive, wet, cool gash he imagined. He wondered what it would be like to slip inside of that, to feel cold dead skin against his warm living self.

He opened his eyes again, not realizing that he was not in fact crying. He stared down at the photos of her face, of her horrible dead eyes, of that atrocious mouth and unzipped his pants. Silently he cursed himself for feeling this way, cursed Tristan for doing this to him, and cursed the laws that would keep him from ever having what he really wanted.

Now, at 25, Mike had come to terms with his feelings, had even managed to put a name to them. Years ago on a whim he’d looked up “fucking corpses” and had been shocked to find a slew of links marked “Necrophilia”. For years, he’d felt he was the only person with this strange preference. He’d found all sorts of art galleries and forums, though he never joined any of them. It wasn’t out of embarrassment or anything of that sort; Mike just didn’t know what he would even say to these people. They felt what he felt, had the same strange, hated desires as he did and still he felt alienated from them. He didn’t want to talk about fucking a corpse. He wanted to fuck a corpse, and that was the end of it.

After years of trying to suffice his needs with art and fake porn, he gave up and gave in. At first, he decided he would try and go into a mortuary school but discarded the idea almost instantly, as years and years surrounded by corpses would kill him. He couldn’t wait that long, and he knew he couldn’t do it in an environment surrounded by witnesses. Mike could only imagine what would happen if his autopsy class began by unveiling some pretty 20-something that’d met an untimely demise. He knew almost definitely that he’d lose the control he’d spent years building up, would throw the clueless professor out of the way and slide into that cold, soft body.  He started to formulate a plan in his mind, a plan that might very well land him in prison or worse, but nevertheless a plan.

Mike began saving up as much money as possible for months until he had a cache of 50,000$ and then he started making phone calls.

He never knew the man’s name, never even knew for sure he wouldn’t turn him in, but by this point Mike found he didn’t care. Of all the things he had ever wanted in life, this had them all beat by miles. The wad of cash felt strange in his pocket, far too huge and noticeable. He was terrified someone would know what he was doing, that he’d get caught just inches away from his prize. He’d been following newspapers nationwide for years, particularly in less-than-favorable neighborhoods, waiting for what he wanted.

He’d finally found it in Massachusetts, only a few hours drive away. Somehow he’d managed to contact the coroner’s office and talk to the man whose job he’d always envied. Mike never gave a name and had called from a phone booth miles away from his house. He’d put the question plainly: “How much would I have to pay you to let me be with a dead body?”

There had been a pause and for a moment, Mike was terrified he was calling the cops until the man responded “You’ve got to be fucking joking.” Mike’s palms were sweating, the phone felt slimy against his shoulder. He realized his legs were shaking. “I’ve got fifty thousand dollars here, sir. I can get more if I need to. Please, I need this.” Mike was shocked when he thought he actually heard the man laugh.

“You’re offering me fifty grand to fuck a dead chick?” Mike swallowed hard and tried to breathe, nodding, whispering “That’s right.” There was another long, agonizing pause and then the man responded. “Fine. But listen to me, boy. You best have that money or else I’ll have the cops nail your ass quicker’n shit, you hear me?” Mike could barely talk, his head swimming, he was terrified he’d misheard the man. “God, yes sir,” Mike sobbed. “I promise. I’ll have all of it. When should I be there by?” 

They set a date, Mike still barely believing what was going on, and ended the phone call. He couldn’t remember ever feeling this happy. He drove home, packed a few things and started the drive to Massachusetts.

Calvin could barely believe the phone call he’d just had, but assumed that if there were people sick enough to kill, there were people sick enough to fuck a stiff. After 30 years of cutting open bodies, he’d found himself jaded to almost everything and hating the job endlessly. He could see no point in telling this poor fuck off, especially getting fifty grand out of the deal. At worst, he’d lose the godforsaken job and possibly go to jail, at best nothing would happen at all. He’d be a whole lot richer, some sick fuck would be satiated, and the world would keep on turning like nothing had ever happened.

 There was a tiny knock at the back door around 1 AM and Calvin got up to answer it, ready to bust the loser if he didn’t have the money. He was shocked when he opened the door to a normal, decent looking young man who was smiling nervously. The man dug into his coat pocket and pulled out a wad of crisp bills held together by a rubber band. Calvin grabbed him by the arm and pulled him in, locking the door behind him. He thumbed through the stack, making damn sure he wasn’t getting jipped by the kid and was a little amazed to find it all there. He looked up at the kid, studying his face. It was amazing and a little scary what kind of atrocities could hide under such a normal mask.

“You really want to do this, kid?” Mike stared at the ground and nodded, his face reddening significantly. “Sir, I’ve wanted to do this since I was 14 years old.” Calvin snorted and shook his head. “You’re a sick fuck, you know that?” Mike looked up, smiling the tiniest, saddest smile Calvin had ever seen and nodded, whispering “I know, sir.” Calvin led him into a room lit by fluorescent light and motioned to a shape on an operating table. He leaned in and mumbled with a tinge of disgust “I’ll leave you two kids alone. You just knock when you’re….done.” Calvin suppressed a shudder as he shut the door behind him, going further into the building to be away from the strange, sick little fuck he’d just let into his mortuary. He felt no guilt at the transaction, just a small, confused disgust.

Mike could barely believe that after so long, this was finally happening. Gingerly he lifted the cover from her face and stared down at the dead girl. On the phone, Calvin had said she’d been strangled to death by her boyfriend. Mike didn’t know if he should hate or love the man for doing so, as the girl was beautiful. Gently Mike reached out to brush his fingers through her curly auburn hair, his fingers grazing the edge of her cheek. As he’d imagined, she was cold and smooth, and he leaned over her to cup her face in his hands. Mike felt his heart swelling, realizing suddenly that after this, sex would be ruined forever for him.

Nothing would equal this ever again. He decided he would make this last as long as he could, and keep the memories even longer. He drifted his fingers over the large Y-shaped incision on her chest, wishing he could reopen the wound and stare into her organs. He sucked in a breath as he pulled the cover completely off her and stared at her body, pale and veined, all his. He buried his face between her breasts, laying his ear on her soundless chest, his fingers exploring every inch of her body. Calvin had assured him that she’d already been autopsied and would be washed again before anyone besides the embalmer saw her, which had been a relief.

Mike didn’t want to wear gloves or a condom for this, he’d deprived himself for years and felt that after all this time, if he was going to do it, it had to be all the way. He pulled her legs apart and stared at her cunt, a massive hard on growing in his pants. He took a deep breath, checked to make sure the door he’d come in was locked, and went back to her. He slid a finger inside of her cunt, not surprised that it was dry like the rest of her. He pulled her body to the edge of the table and kneeled down, pressing his lips against her pussy. He flicked his tongue out, pushing her lips apart, wetting her for himself. He sucked at cold skin, his hands running over her heavily veined thighs, up over the swell of her hips, squeezing her cold hard breasts.

When he finally couldn’t wait any longer, he unzipped his pants and spread her lips, sliding into her. He stared up at her face, impassive and beautiful, the deep bruise violet around her eyes as attractive to him as the deep ligature marks around her throat. Her eyes were closed and wanted them open, so he climbed on top of her and pulled back her eyelids. Her eyes, muddy with death, seemed to stare right into him and he shuddered, pushing back into her. Mike fucked her body for what felt like forever, never closing his eyes but rather staring right at her dead ones, wishing he could drag her home with him and keep her forever.

He grabbed her legs and after a bit of a struggled managed them up, forcing himself into her ass. She was tight and he’d barely been able to fit inside of her, but after a few awkward seconds he managed to, pulling her small body back and forth on his dick, chewing his lip so his moans wouldn’t be loud.

He lay back on the examining table and carefully pulled her onto him, amazed at her weight. She lay limp but surprisingly heavy against his chest, her cold lips brushing his neck while he bucked up and down, fucking her cunt again. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her tight against him while he fucked her, knowing that he would cum soon. He wrenched her head back with one hand, staring at her empty dead eyes and let go, his semen pouring into her cold insides. He lay there for a while, relishing the feeling of her on top of him, the contrast of hot and cold, the strange taste inside of her dead mouth. He finally pushed her up, gently maneuvering off the table so she wouldn’t fall off it. Stared at her again, wishing it wasn’t over. He pulled out a camera from his coat pocket (something he hadn’t and wouldn’t tell Calvin about) and started snapping pictures of her face, her eyes, her spread open legs, her cunt with his come dripping out of it. 

He took hundreds it seemed, every angle and inch of her. When he was finished, he leaned down and kissed her lips, sliding her eyelids closed as he did. He covered her back up, pulled his clothes on again and left a scrap of paper reading “Thanks” on top of her.

He left before Calvin came out, not wanting to have to validate his love to a man who’d never understand. Mike drove back to Pennsylvania, knowing that he’d never be able to speak to anyone about this strange, wonderful night of his. He hoped it would stay a secret, at least until he joined the ones he so deeply desired. Keeping the camera close to him, he smiled a bit as he drove home.  He realized he was incredibly lucky, as most 14 year old boys never get to achieve their biggest fantasies, and even if this one took almost a decade to achieve, it had been well worth it.

Mike reminded himself that most 14 year old boys hadn’t had a thing for the Black Dahlia and her wide crimson grin. Mike felt his own grin widen, his fingers curling around the camera like a lover’s hand, a very cold lover’s hand.

By Nick Ransom

March Madness: Carnage Conservatory’s Serial Killer Contest

This March, instead of thinking about basketball fever, The Carnage Conservatory wants you to bring it back to your horror roots! Write your best slasher, serial killer short story, featuring an award-winning murderer. We want you to pull out all the psychotic stops and remind the readers what horror is all about!

*Stories should be between 1000-3000 words

*Submissions should be sent to Executive Editor Emily Smith-Miller at emilysm737@gmail.com no later than March 21st, subject heading ‘MARCH MADNESS CONTEST SUBMISSION’, word docs please.

*Winners will be announced March 31st

*The winner will receive a $30 Amazon gift card, and runners-up will have their stories featured on Carnage with personal promotion, second place might also get a little something . . .

*Carnage Guidelines Apply


Wanking off to a freeze-frame of Lance Henricksen’s half-molten, severed head in Aliens gave Simon his first earth-shattering, nerve-shivering orgasm as well as a devastating prang of guilt – a combination he found exceptionally sweet and pleasing. In fact, Simon was so pleased with the sensation that the second he had shot his load, his member started to twitch again. Squinting his eyes, he imagined picking  up the head by the charred strands of hair and shoving his cock down the throat, rubbing it along the cool, steel-hard palate and within seconds he came again, the tip of his prick sizzling as if the wires inside the skull had gone live again, giving out galvanizing kisses, milking him dry.

Watching Terminator and Robocop back-to-back a week later put him into a masturbatory frenzy. He came so often and so hard, he feared that the next thing dripping out of his cock might be his spine-fluid.

As internet research revealed to him, Simon was obviously a gay Technosexual with a thing for severely damaged robots.

“Well, talk about one fucking fringe fetish.” he thought.

Though generally speaking, gay wasn’t quite the exact term, for only his robots had to be male. There was no room for softness and curves; they had to be streamlined and hard; cold, steely missiles targeting his sex. The boy of his dreams was a distorted hunk of scrap metal. In real life, throughout the next few years Simon slept with some girls, fucked some guys in the ass, got fucked, ate pussy and sucked dicks and found it all quite unsatisfying. Sure, it relieved the tension and it felt nice being close to a human being every now and then, but the sex was stale, with orgasms passing casually as he watched himself, detached. Not that he was very active. Since his build and height were as average as his looks, so was the number of his sexual encounters. And afterwards he always went straight back to his video collection.

If a movie featured a humanoid robot, Simon had seen it, always waiting hopefully for it to get blown up, shot to pieces, molten or shredded. He had high hopes for Robocock and The XXX-Terminator, but the films didn’t deliver. Porn let him down, anyway: there was something for every perversion, from granny humping to preggo mounting; you were able to order “The Beginner’s Guide to Scatology” from Germany (“Scheisse am Schaft. Lecker.” read the ad ),  “Old Ma Donald Fucked The Farm” from Denmark, you’d find flicks for folks who had a hard-on for crack whores, fatties, dwarfs, amputees, drugged out fat dwarfs with one leg missing, but he had to wallow through Cyborg 1 to 5 for maybe two scant minutes of wriggling robotic remains.

Via amazon he ordered a book called “Robot Building Bonanza”, solely for the pictures, since he lacked the skills to perform any electronic tasks more elaborate than changing a light-bulb. Simon just loved the irony. He was born to work in special effects or robotics, but passion was all he had to offer.

So he took a job as an accountant in the firm where his father worked, fucked a bit, wanked a lot and settled for an unsatisfied and lonely life.

Until Japan presented The Fuckbot.

Actually, it was called Foxxxy, the Robot Doll. Anatomically correct, with highly defined physical features, moving private areas, Foxxxy, as the constructers stated, was way more than just a high-end sex doll. It was able to carry a conversation, it had moods that shifted throughout the day, and it had not one, not two, but five personalities, depending on your own personal and sexual preferences. It could be your slave or your master, a cute, eyelashes-fluttering innocent plaything in a public school skirt, a nymphomaniac slut, whose three high quality inputs were in constant need of filling and – your mum. Simon guessed the Mommy mode was probably bugged – the minute you switched it on, your local copper would receive a call. You were even able to mix these preferences to your individual liking. Due to a motor pumping heat through a tube that winded all the way through Foxxxy’s body, she was warm to the touch, made breathing noises and sported a heartbeat. Foxxxy came at a wholesome 8.500 quid and could also be ordered as Maxxx, whose most prominent feature was modelled from a cast made of Ron Jeremy’s pecker.

Simon almost had a heart attack.

If he took out his savings, sold his movie collection, fiddled a bit with the accountancy at work in creative ways, the money should be his in about a month. He filled out the pre-order.

Finally he needed six weeks to gather the money, three minutes to transfer it abroad, spent two weeks waiting until Maxxx was shipped from Japan in a solid wooden box and four hours driving to the port of Liverpool and back home to at long last become the proud owner of an automatic wiener with artificial intelligence attached.

Fidgety from excitement, Simon pried the box open and there, embedded in a plethora of polystyrene balls, wood shavings and crumpled silk paper in all its glory stood his new companion. The body looked finely shaped, with abdominal muscles to play xylophone on, a powerful breast, strong legs and an impressive bulge under some cheap white cotton briefs (and, hell,the queer little robot even wore white tennis socks). His face was a different matter.

“Jesus,” Simon muttered. “You’re one butt-ugly motherfucker.”

The Maxxx looked liked someone had tried to clubber the Elephant Man’s head back in shape with a croquet mallet. Not that it really bothered Simon. When he was done with it, conventional beauty rules would be redundant. Important to him was the thing hidden behind the shorts: the Ron Jeremy certified knob. He ripped off the briefs and almost saluted. On TV Ron’s schlong sure looked smaller. This one was likely to shove his prostate up his oesophagus before it was halfway in his bunghole.

“Welcome to your new home, love.” Simon said. “We’ve got to do some serious damage.” He grabbed the robot by its feet and dragged him into the basement. Over the last weeks Simon had bought quite an assembly of power tools for the cosmetic restyle. He heaved Maxxx upon the work-bench.

“I think we’ll start with the face. Pull out the ugly stick.” He picked up the pliers and pinched the first tooth. “And improve the quality of the blow-jobs along the way.”

Next in line was the steel saw. Simon felt so high-spirited, he started to sing.

“The head-bone connected to the neck-bone…”

The steel saw screeched, cutting through Maxxx’ right arm just above the elbow. Flying sparks hit Simon’s face, but he was too excited to notice. Purple, gray and dirty white wires hung from the severed arm, wriggling like fat worms.

“The neck-bone connected to the backbone…”

Simon fired up the Bunsen burner and melted the silicone nipples. The breast began to drip, plastic bubbles bunched up. Soon it looked like flesh pizza.

“The backbone connected to the thighbone…”

With a grinder he abraded the synthetic skin from the left half of the face and three quarters of the jaw down to the silvery skull.

“The thighbone connected to the knee-bone…”

He put the tip of a crosshead screwdriver on the right eye and drove it down with a hammer, smeared some molten plastic over the eye-socket and blow-dried it. Maxxx face now looked less than Robert Z’Dar with elephantiasis than The Six Billion Dollar Zombie. Simon had a boner to boot.

“The knee-bone connected to the leg bone…”

Why the heck would an android need a ballsack, Simon ruminated. He cut it off with a hedge clipper. Without testicles the wiener looked even larger.

“The leg bone connected to the foot bone…”

Simon skinned the right leg, parts of the torso, sprayed rusty colour on parts of the skeleton, flayed both buttocks, severed four fingers, ripped off one ear, set fire to the genuine hair wig and drilled some random holes with diameters in the approximate range of his dick.

“Oh hear … the word … of the … Looooord!”

By now he had come twice in his pants.

“We’re done here, auntie.” Simon said. “Now – wanna see my stamp collection?”

Dragging Maxxx up into the bedroom, Simon noticed some worrying rattling noises, some jingling and clattering and a constant flapping sound. He was pretty sure he had avoided vandalising all places he considered harbouring vital electronic devices. Of course, if they had put the main controller inside the scrotum he was pretty much arsed. Getting a refund would be difficult now.

Simon placed the robot up against the wall, tore the adhesive plaster from the infrared receiver under the hairline, sat down on his bed and pushed the ON button of his remote control.

And Maxxx sprung to life.

Truth be told, he more or less juddered to life with sounds that reminded Simon eerily of a ship scraping against the harbour walls. The limbs Simon had left intact twitched and shuddered, the damaged ones fluttered like epileptic hummingbirds. His remaining eye spun in the socket, and then the whole head jerked around violently. The flayed legs did a Charleston and the toes wiggled. Finally Maxxx thrusted out his pelvis like a sleazy Elvis impersonator and went rigid. Simon held his breath.

Maxxx adjusted his eye.

“Aww damn, you dirty bugger. I just thought you was busted.”

“Pleashe shelect pershonality.” Maxxx uttered, sounding like a lisping Dalek. Maybe breaking out the teeth had not been one of Simon’s better ideas. Whatever. He glanced over the quick guide and pressed five: strong and domineering.

“Get naked, shucker.” Maxxx demanded.

Something had to be done about the speech impediment. That lisp took the edge out of commands and dirty talk. “First things first, though.” Simon thought and stripped. Maxxx stroke his cock and started to get hard. It was astonishingly life-like. He teetered over to Simon, pushed him onto the pillows and went down on him.

“Aaaawwwwhh, fuuuck…” – A tidal wave of incredible sensation swept through Simon. The robot slowly deep-throated him a few times, then sucked on the tip of his cock while the tongue licked on his sulcus. And then he deep-throated him again. And sucked, all the while massaging Simon’s balls firmly with his hand. Simon wished he hadn’t cut off the other arm. A good, firm thumb-job would have been the icing on the cake. His dick was harder than Lenny McLean, his balls were pebbles, his spine tingled, all of his nerves seemed to sparkle, the muscles of his butt flinched and just a second before he came, Maxxx pressed two fingers around his pre-cum wetted peter, stopping the blood circulation and robbing Simon of his relief. With the better half of his lips gone, the robot looked like he was grinning mischievously.

“Now shuck me off.” demanded Maxxx.

“Yeah, sure.” Simon tried to control his breathing. “Chocking on that fucking totem-pole is exactly my idea of fun, tat-head.” He rummaged through the drawer and produced a tube of Durex lube. “But I’d sure like to be your brownie queen.”

“I will ram it up your cornhole sho hard, you’ll schream and beg, faggot.”

Simon eyed the robot quizzically. Even without the lisp, the speech program left a lot to be desired. But the glistering cock looked just too tasty to let himself be distracted by minor quibbles.

“I’ll shure dog you out and make you holler.”

“Just shut the fuck up and shove it in!” Simon screamed, pressed his hands against the wall and pushed his ass towards the robot’s gargantuan member. Maxxx smeared some lube on Simon’s anus, fingered him a bit and rammed his dick in at one go. White lightning hit Simon right between the eyes. The pain was so all consuming and yet so exquisite, every cell of his body turned into an erogenous zone.

“I’ll phottom you, phutt-phoy.  I’ll phang you shenshlesh. I’ll…”

“I’m not listening.” Simon muttered. “Not listening.”

“Yeah, I’m shure giwwin’ you one hard nigger-fuck.”

“Oi. Give it a break, will you?” With an audible ‘plop’ Simon freed himself, turned around and grabbed the robot by the throat. “Take a look at me cock, mate – you’ve talked it fucking limp.”

“I will make you my cum-dumpshter, pooph.”

Simon ripped down the robot’s jaw, grabbed the tongue and tore at it until he managed to jerk it off at its root. Looking at the fat, greyish, jelly-like thing he remembered the orgiastic pleasures it had provided and cursed himself. Maybe he should have looked for a mute button on the remote first? Shit, but he could try and super-glue it back on later. For now the strong, silent type was very much preferable. And it was an aesthetic improvement, he thought, as he watched a tiny stump wiggle in the back of the throat. Behind the stump flared some sparks. Then something exploded with a tinny sound, like a fire-cracker going off in a metal bucket. Maxxx’ head juddered as if it was going to skyrocket and a jet flame shot through the patch of silicone that Simon had smeared over the right eye. The acrid stench of burned plastic stung his nose. The next moment Maxxx grabbed Simon by the throat, threw him against the wall, back-slapped him into position and held him with two fingers around the neck. Blood ran over Simon’s cheek. He tried to struggle himself free, but to no avail – the robot had pinned him down like a numbed butterfly.

“Come on, guy.” Simon croaked. “Not that rough, eh? Skip that Bobby Blake shite.”

Maxxx pumped his silicone muscle up Simon’s ass and started to fuck him relentlessly. A long metal splinter from the robot’s hip punctuated Simon’s left buttock with every stroke, piercing him straight to the bone. Soon the lube had worn off, and Simon felt soft tissue tearing apart.  Searing, indescribable anguish flooded his body, inflamed every sinew. Blood ran down his thighs. His crotch exploded. Simon looked down and watched in agonizing horror a slim, sharp, silver tentacle sliding up his urethra, wriggling and winding, widening it for another, thicker tentacle.

“Please, please, no…” Simon muttered through snot and tears, while Maxxx frenetically fucked his ass and his cock simultaneously. Almost blinded from hurt, Simon felt more tentacles wriggling around his neck, pushing his face so hard against the concrete, his nose crushed. Slime and blood filled his respiratory tract, clogged the airwaves and he almost suffocated. Maxxx hand grabbed Simon’s testicles, rubbed them, hit them and pinched them until they squished with a sickening slurping sound. Simon puked spasmodically, all the time hoping he would just faint and die.  Razor-sharp cable ends wormed over his chest, slicing him. Finally one stiffened and shot straight down, cutting off his right nipple. He was thrown round like a sack of dry bones. The robot gazed at him. Simon half expected to see a vengeful glint or hatred in the ravaged face, but there was nothing, a dark blank stare that frightened him even more. Dozens of wires slithered out of the severed arm, some hissed of electrical arcing like attacking snakes. The fattest one, hot and red, slid around Simon’s hip and impaled him straight through the pelvic wall, while the robot started to jerk him off hard. The foreskin tore and the iron claw soon masturbated raw muscle. There was almost no pain anymore. Just numbness. Soon darkness. And before that came a moment of clarity, a moment when time seemed to slow down, and Simon saw with a perspicuity he had never known before, like everything was etched out before him. He saw the small table to his right and he saw the scissor on the table and he saw his hand picking it up and bringing it down with a violent blow and he saw the blades entering the robot’s eye socket, twisting and turning and he saw smoke coming out of Maxxx’ mouth and he saw him go rigid and collapse and then he collapsed himself.

“Fuck you, asshole”, he sputtered.

The tiredness was overwhelming. He just wanted to sleep.

“Don’t.” he told himself. “Try to get to the phone.”

Maybe he could make it. Survival instinct was one mighty mother, after all.

Or he could just lay here; bleed out into the carpet, this soft, cosy carpet…

“Move.” Simon started to crawl, bit by bit, clew his fingers into the fabric, slowly dragging himself forward, trying to push himself with his legs. When he hunched a bit too much, he spat out a foamy clod of blood. Every inch was agony and his phone was down in the living-room. A sharp ache ripped through his left calf. Simon turned his head and saw a ripped shred of metal protruding from his lateral sura. Damnit, there were pieces of the fucking robot just about everywhere. And he saw something else, too: himself, in the mirror. He gaped in disbelief. He looked like he had been chewed, spat out and trod upon by Godzilla. Pieces of bone were sticking through his arm, whip-marks covered his torso as if Jackson Pollock had body-painted him, his face was swollen beyond recognition, red and blue with lips like bicycle wheels. His right hand was missing the index finger.

“When the heck did that happen?” he wondered. He was mangled meat. He was…quite sexy, actually. Simon felt a very familiar tingle in his groin.

“No. Nonononononono.” he sputtered, but the androgens had already kicked in. The erection throbbed. His penis resembled something out of anatomy class, with the tendrils and muscles clearly visible. Simon spat blood into the palm of his hand and went to work.

He wondered how long he would be able to keep up his new fetish.

By TM Simmler


What Sweet Music They Make

That day I enthusiastically wasted on paper lanterns and the sharp wooden stares of sugar and flesh. She was pale with deceit, a product of meddling and worm-eaten explanations and grandstanding. “It meant nothing to me,” she said, and I sneezed the exhaust that was her from my lungs. She had perfumed hair. They all did, those who honored and obeyed, and those who couldn’t be bothered. The phone rang. She reached for it — clumsy — and it landed at my feet. “Telemarketer,” she claimed, and I felt my hand grow tighter around the handle. I was always wildly excited by the little things: the weight of tools in my hand, the gentle run of the wind against frozen eyelids in the moonlight, the crimson against dry lips and gritted teeth, and then the stiff drink after, tainted by lipstick at the rim. She was all sorry and so forth, keeping a casual distance, and then she bared her breasts at me, giggled, told me to take one for the wedding album before she threw her engagement ring into the heap of soiled clothes I’d left to soak in the sink with last night’s dirty dishes.


Valentine’s day. A Spring Slaughter.


I thrust some Kleenex into my pocket, grabbed a Coca Cola, and headed for the door. I’d called her my little spring lamb, and she called me “corny” just as my hand was reaching for the doorknob. I unlatched the deadbolt and pulled. The cold gusted in, and I cold hear it: a whispering, a crawling skittle of cockroach legs and eyes wide open, crying in the dark. They were always whispering, sometimes in cadence with the dripping rain, plink, plink, plinking off the tin roof some ways away in the distance, sometimes like a white kiss carried upon a thistle flower, swaying with ice and snow, but they were always whispering — demanding — almost in silence, to hear the voice of God over the melancholy braying of the other lambs.

By Cheryl Anne Gardner

Feral Doom

Ankle deep in blood, I considered ripping the arm off entirely. Rubbed my temples, thought against it. The dead man sat spread eagle, sprawled bull-legged, and arms floppy on the sofa. I pulled back, punched him square in his meaty chest, huffed, and spit. A spurt of blood bubbled up and out from the dead man’s stumpy neck like a fountain of cherry jelly.

 Sorry, buddy.

A sopping crimson and stubble-riddled lower jaw dangled from the dead man’s neck in a half-moon smile of chipped bottom teeth and a floppy tongue. Lucky I found him when I did. The rest of his head splattered the wall behind me creating a mural of sloppy blood blots and brain sprinkles, an abstract collage of gore.

“So long and farewell,” I said.

He had done himself in on the sofa. My one functioning eyeball twitched and I poked at the other, rubbed the glass pebble, set it back in place. It was a thinking tool, my ocular talisman. I readied the cut-throat razor, the one I pocketed from my once-upon-a-time neighbor Merv. I wedged the blade in the crevice between his wrinkled fingers and the pistol grip, began to wiggle open his fingers. Wasn’t working. Breathed in the stink.

The room reeked of innards, dried human filth and sweat, mostly my own. A burst of gas seeped from the corpse in bellowing puffs and sputters. I pulled the razor out from where I had wedged it and thought hard about this predicament until a simple solution reared its beastly head. I had been right all along:

Chop off the arm.

I paused, opening and closing the razor. No. Too messy. Too much spill. On the other hand, the hand that mattered, a few skin slices from his dead palm wouldn’t taint the decorum any more than it already was. I looked at the moldy orange peels on the table. Everything around me was either rotting or rotten. Thus, I began at once to saw through the wrinkled pink skin of the old man’s hand. Gobs of blood oozed as the skin peeled open. I made it through two of them stiff fingers before the .44 came free, plopped out towards me. I felt hours had elapsed. The sun sagged low. My hand ache from my damned carpal tunnel.

I admired the Magnum behemoth. It was mine. The Magnum had heft to it: a death-beast, stallion of ancient justice. Up until now, things had been primitive. My rucksack, littered with various kinds of cutlery, drooped open on the floor next to the table, lonesome and worn. I’d been using things easily stolen: garden shears, hunting knives, a hand-held chainsaw, crowbars, or hammers, things found in an abandoned garage, suburban kitchen, up in a barnyard shed. The storm left us all a little poor.

I sank my aching bones down on the sofa, forcefully slid the dead man’s rank old body over to the next cushion where it slouched, arms limp, fingers missing. The drunken horseman. Good old stubby. I let out a little tune:

     Good old stubby, with fingers so nubby, what’s wrong with your head my stubby old friend.

Blood ran deeper into the cushion, felt cold. My ass was wet and itchy. I chuckled a wheezy whine, tried to remember the tune, but it sunk back into the lazy murk of my shriveled skull.


This shack, I thought to myself, pulling one weary leg over the other, is just fine for the night. It was relaxing, despite the gore. Gore was doable. I had seen gore, dealt with it. In fact, this shack didn’t look much different from the camper trailer on the night of the shanty incident three years back with Fredricks and Lucy.

Stomach growled. I caught myself watering over his meaty legs, thought about beer-can chicken, Big Boy buffets, fountain pop and rhubarb pie…would have to wait for later.

Would those bastards find me out here? I doubted any of them things, whatever the hell they were, would make it this far before getting plucked off or derailed or put to rest in some way. There were desperate people out there with firepower.

Hit the river, son, is what my old man would have told me. The swamps called out to him. I had some of him in me.

I’ll get a canoe, string together some chairs or maybe just float away on this damn sofa. Take a freighter down river.

I wiped some blood from the .44 with the dead man’s flannel shirt sleeve and placed my lips around the barrel just to see how it felt to weigh the possibility of firing the sucker into my own mouth. I imagined a fleet of mares stamping up into the core of my face and out the other end with the snapping blare of a bloody tuba. Bullets were rockets. I pushed the barrel in deeper, could feel myself about to gag. Sitting there with the barrel pressed against the roof of my gums, I heard the moan of an old plank on the front porch, the sound of feet on grass.

The front door was still hanging open on cracked hinges. I sank down into the sofa cushion, slid from my back to the floor and poked my head around the edge of the sofa arm. My knees were jittery and ached like shit. I brought the gun out in front of me, set the grip down on the floor, using the loose floor plank for stability to aim. Unhinged a bit myself, I felt my gut rest against the blood-wet wood, stretched out my popping, achy legs behind me. I pointed the .44 right clean out the front door, out into the misty night. Through the black and the smoke, I stared hard with my good eye until things went a bit fuzzy, that is, until a blurry clump of pure white crystallized as the final gust of smoke sailed away. I almost pissed myself with fear. I think I did piss myself with piss.

It was a white wolf, the likes of which I had never seen in my life. She was sitting on her hind legs, gazing at me like an old Indian chief, majestic and wise. For all I knew she could have been there for hours. I sneezed, squeezed the trigger by accident, surprised myself and squeezed that sucker again. Opened my mouth to scream, a wet belch ripped. This was not good. The first bullet shot right out the door, disappeared. The second bullet veered wild, shattered the front window and out into the night. I was howling through all that broken glass and noise, scared myself, I did.

I lowered my head into my arms. My good ear, the right one, rang shrill, a needle scratched spine. Chills. I didn’t dare move, but I had to see if I shot that wolf. I uncovered my head with my hands and brought my head up, looked back out there and there she was. Her gaze pierced through the black, eyes that emanated a yellowish-green: beams of feral doom. The eyes though, didn’t seem to be looking at me anymore. They were looking upwards at the sofa, staring sullen at good old stubby. I couldn’t move, held as I was in the trance of those brilliant orbs, face-to-face with the devil dog herself. That was when the white wolf looked back down at me and, I shit you not, ever so slowly opened her mouth. Clenched between jagged incisors, centered between two blood-stained sword-like fangs was not just one, but both bullets from that .44 Magnum.

The stench in the room rose at that moment in a bouquet of spilled fear, my bowels. Carl, I said to myself. No, she did not just catch those bullets in her teeth. I had only seen one dog that could do a trick like that: Paul’s Maltese, Flap. He’d prance around the house on his hind legs for hours on end with a chewed-up paper plate held in his front paws like he was some kind of waiter at a fancy restaurant, little bow tie around his neck.

I pulled the trigger, this time on purpose, watched the golden bullet glide through my mind’s eye, knowing right where I wanted it to land, right between those headlight eyes. Sweaty hands tightened around the grip and I yelled, pulled in on the trigger again. In that zip of a second, I must have shut my eyes, damn near broke my jaw, teeth grit so hard. The gun clicked empty. Click. Click.

I hurled the stallion of justice straight at that white wolf’s head, watched it miss, hit the door frame, and fall back toward me on the floor. When that .44 Magnum touched wood, that piece of Wild West machinery exploded in a wrathful pop, bullet sank straight into my thigh, lodged in the leg bone. Silence. I almost didn’t scream right away, didn’t and then let that mournful wail ring out into the night. I spun out from my position and yanked on Stubby’s trousers to hoist myself up onto the sofa. Gallons of leg liquid leaked out of me.

That white wolf stolid, mouth shut, clenched those bullets tight. I lugged my body up onto the sofa and leaned down to dig into my bag for some back-up. I kept my good eye locked on that canine, reached right down into the bag, felt the sharp burn of thin steel slide across my wrist. Cut myself on my own tools. A thin stream of blood whizzed out from the vein.

The wolf let herself relax down onto her front paws and continued to stare at me. I didn’t give two hoots; sat there clenching my arm to stop the whizzing blood, while still trying to dig into the bag, get a blade to wield; couldn’t see straight. I peered into the dark insides of the rucksack. Heard my eye pebble drop to the ground and roll over wooden planks, rolled under the sofa. Felt something solid in the bag. I pulled the hand-held chainsaw up and out of the bag using every inch of power in my sloppy body, wheezing, grunting, and spurting red.

The white wolf’s ears were pricked up, tuning in signals from some damn thing. I smiled at her with my sly grin, drooled out and slurped back in a stream of stringy blood. Wrist gash drenched my arm in red. Thing was going numb. I gripped the saw’s handle and thrust my body back into the sofa cushion. Something felt wrong. Good old Stubby was gone. All that was left of him was a body-sized imprint of blood. The splotches of blood and brain were still there behind the sofa, but he wasn’t.

I spun my head around to get a look at the rest of the shack and there he was, outside, standing next to her, headless and proud. His nubby arm stroked her white fur. It was really something else. With his other hand, he had that .44 Magnum aimed right at my chest. Don’t know how he could even see me. I knew at that moment that the mist would come in again from off the fields. I would wait for it, hope for it to sweep them two away. At that moment, for once in my life, I didn’t understand anything. But, damn was that white wolf beautiful. The problem was that by the time I felt it coming on, the mist that is, Good old Stubby had already reached inside the wolf’s mouth with his one good hand and had pulled out the two bullets.

By Jamie Grefe


Howlings: February 7th 2012


A Werewolf Haikuette

It was a slow day
until the moment
a girl bit a wolf

By Marie Marshall


“He’ll rip your lungs out, Jim.”

Jim sat there and looked at her for just a moment, a moment long enough to convey that he didn’t think she was serious but that he was thinking she possibly could be, that her facial expression in some ways gave her away, told the truth about it all, no holding back, no facetiousness intended.

“You’re serious.”

“Um, yeah. I am. You should ask for another shift. I don’t wanna see something on the news about you being dead and all.” She lifted her drink casually, as if she had just told him that she had decided not to go shopping due to unforeseen circumstances.

Jim looked down at his drink. He suddenly felt tired and wanted to go home. It had been a long night at the warehouse; all those orders he had pulled exhausted him more than usual. Maybe he was just getting old. But at 32? No way. He wasn’t close to that yet. He thought of who she was talking about, the new employee, Ronnie…. Jim couldn’t remember his last name. Not that he ever really knew it to begin with. He had heard the name when the boss of the place mentioned it but now it was in some nether world. Ronnie was enough to remember. And she really thought he was dangerous? Ronnie? The new dude who was as thin as the proverbial toothpick? He couldn’t kill anything, so what made her think he was some monster on the loose?

“Look,” she said, “I know these types. When I first saw him, I could tell. It was those eyes of his, Jim. Have you ever just looked into his eyes for a second? It only takes that long to notice.”

Jim looked up from his drink. “Notice what?”

She set her eyes on his. “That. Did you see what I did?”

Jim frowned but only slightly. “No.”

“Okay,” she sighed, “look at me.”

He took a longer moment than before, staring into her unblinking eyes, then exhaled a held breath. “Damn. You know, I think you’re right. He did seem to have this aura, or something.”

She blinked and said, “Jim, you don’t understand anything. It’s more than some aura he has. It’s something he has inside him.” She leaned closer, staring again. “Do you get what I’m saying?”

Jim nodded and took a long gulp of his drink, then another. “Yeah. Okay, I have to go in tonight but I’ll let the boss know by tomorrow I need another shift. He’ll probably balk but it’s worth a shot. And you better be telling me the truth, Jen.”

Jen smiled over her raised glass. “Oh, I am. Trust me.”

At just before ten p.m. Jim entered the warehouse. He swiped his time card and inserted it into his named slot: MARSDEN, JIM. Looking a few slots above his was Ronnie’s, thus providing Jim the man’s last name: BINKER, RONNIE. Binker? Really? Is that a real name? Jim shrugged and chuckled under his breath, then turned.

“Evening, James.”

Jim felt his heart suddenly race. “Oh, hi there. Didn’t see you behind me.”

Ronnie’s eyes set upon Jim’s. “Well of course not,” Ronnie said flatly. “I was behind you. I’m surprised my presence didn’t alert you, though. The mere presence of a person is many times enough to sense. All those shifting molecules in the air. It’s like a silent entry into some vacuum.” Ronnie released a tiny laugh. “But I’m no scientist.”

Jim chuckled in response, then said, “Yeah, we’re just, you know, warehousers.”

Ronnie’s smile faded, its abrupt absence causing Jim’s heart to race again. “That’s not a word.”

“You know what I mean.”

The two men made their silent way toward their respective stations – Jim’s less than twenty feet from Ronnie’s – and their work began. Orders to be pulled, sorted, boxed, placed on a conveyor belt to another location – it was the same thing over and over, hardly anything different from one night to the next, their hands and arms repeating motions for eight hours broken up by two fifteen-minute breaks and a half-hour lunch. But lunch at three a.m. certainly doesn’t feel like lunch at noon. Especially with a man like Ronnie Binker (is that really his name?) sharing it with you.
“So,” Jim said, poking his voice into a silent three a.m. “lunch”.
“Where did you work before you got here?”

Ronnie finished chewing what was part of a sandwich Jim couldn’t see the contents of. “I didn’t,” he said. “This is my first job.”

Jim frowned but also lifted his brow. “Really?”

“Yeah, really. Is that a problem for you?”

“No, no. It’s just that—”

“What, James? It’s just that what?”

Jim looked down at his pre-prepared Styrofoam cup of soup he had
heated in the break room microwave. “Nothing,” he said, deflated but also irritated; this man was beating him up for no good reason. Maybe Jen was right after all. I should get out of this place fast.

The men finished their “lunches” and returned their personal items their named lockers. As Ronnie closed his locker door he stood and faced Jim head on.

“Do you think I’m strange?” Ronnie asked, his face a blank stare.

Jim swallowed, feeling again his racing heart. “No not at all, why?”

“You’re lying, James.”

“Please, call me Jim. I prefer Jim.”

Ronnie’s stare turned into a steady gaze. “Okay, Jim.  I’ve been wondering about you, you know.”

“Why?” Jim frowned, now more than slightly. This guy has to go. No, I have to go.

“Oh, I don’t know, it just seems you’ve been watching me all night…which now of course is morning. Have you noticed the moon? How perfectly full it is? Have you? JIM?”

Jim wanted to say Yes, I certainly have, Ronnie! but instead he shook his head and made his way nervously back to his named station. He could sense Ronnie walking behind him, even though he couldn’t hear his footsteps. Those molecules. Those damn molecules, all that shifting and—

Suddenly he did hear something and it wasn’t footsteps. Jim pivoted and looked at Ronnie, who now was no longer…Ronnie.

He’ll rip your lungs out, Jim.

By Jeff Callico

A Werewolf’s Justification

I had always believed in love
and forgiving people and grace —
but that wasn’t able to explain
away his inhuman hatred that
cut me into ribbons of sky, I
wanted so badly for him to explain
why he hated me, what I had done
wrong, but he wouldn’t; he just
liked to harass me with his words —

in another life this would have
been wrong, even if my beating
heart knew it was even now; still —
I had to save myself from insanity,
the only way to do that was destroy him;
so I loosed my wolf form, enjoyed the
feel of gravel beneath my paws —
saw him in the yard with another girl,
let out a bloodcurdling roar that terrified

the pair of them; saw nothing but
red, and didn’t stop slicing and snarling
until the yard ran red with blood —
you may call this evil, and maybe it was;
especially to her and her family, but
she was just a causality in my revenge —
I had to do it because it’s a dog eat dog
world and he would have shot the silver
if I hadn’t ripped out his precious throat.

By Linda M. Crate

A Perfect Scream
She used to believe in fairies.  She actually saw one outside her window the day she turned six.  A few weeks later her uncle visited.  His teeth were long and crooked, corn-colored.  He was just an ugly man at first.  Then night came and the fairy was a bald moon behind a hairy beast, slathering, hungry and hurtful.

She used to believe the werewolves lived in a colony by the woods, that she was safe after they moved, but then Mother found a new boyfriend who stayed over.  Lex had hands like a woman, the longest fingernails she’d even seen on a man.  He liked to claw and growl in her ear.  When he was with her mother, she could hear him howling.  She could hear more destruction.

All these years have passed and she’s a true believer in the monster.  They’re everywhere.  Sometimes you see them and don’t know because they just haven’t transformed themselves.  Sometimes you even marry one.

In the apartment, it happens while they make love.  It happens at night and in the morning, especially the mornings, even though the moon’s no more than a smear in the sky.  It happens when she brings him a steaming plate of food and he says, “What’re you trying to do, Bitch, scald me?”

It happens now with the shades drawn so she can’t know if it’s dawn or dusk.  The air is electric and spiced.  His shirt buttons pop off, zinging in the air like Mother of Pearl razors.  His chest heaves, his hair a forest fire of smoke and red.  Saliva glistens off his fangs.  His eyes are two trapped wasps.  “Get to the bedroom,” he snarls.

She does.  She underdresses.  She gets under the covers.  Here she can see the wide smile of the moon through parted blinds.

He gets in, gets on top.  He says, “You’re going to like this.”  Then he asks, “Are you ready?”

She is.  She is.  Her arms come out from under the sides of her pillow in a whoosh.  The stake and the gavel are aimed perfectly.  So is her swing.  So is the beast’s scream–the first, second and last.

By Len Kuntz

A Black Milk Moonlight

A Friday evening for a melancholy baby

(i wait for a night

i wait for a night

i wait for a night

repeat it 1000 times

a change of person

i’m whole in the night

i’m not hurt anymore

repeat it 1000 times

i’m a big girl now forced out

play the jukebox

flesh forest memories in between shadows

in between caught black and white and bongos

go-go blood naked to the night alive in the painhouse)

Projected on the back so far

inside a translucent skull slit stained glass

she knows it’s there

she changes.

She faces the dark

the mist

a rain

no more sleep

He kneels before her

He hates quickly.

Hates her guttural noise.

He hates

The urge that summoned him to her

Her animal sweat smell and

A ricochet of Lycanthropic lust

He tastes iron in his mouth

A mingling with her juice.

Tied together lashed with leather.

Birth of a nation

a strain

a heart emerged from her womb.

He desires her as her eyes turn yellow

As her Mouth extends

As mucous drips from her lips

As her tongue removes his retinas

He’s a tasty treat.

Smiles started in between her legs

she felt the beast rise

the shape shift climax

the hair sprout

the teeth grow long.

she fondled her breasts as they evolved

into milk-laden teats under a mattress of

ebony hair.


the moon

cried for her

leather-bound eyes

pissing with pain.

she begged for it

while waiting on the abandoned couch

in the burning church

in the distant woods

between 2 dead trees

A lunar baptism

that she begged for

this change made her complete.

She was only real now in her wolfen orgasm.

the silent rain ran down in reverse

the window’s glass bent breathed slightly

A brief panic she didn’t know

a sweat under her skin

between the air

only as a the beast

did she feel normal.

a musky smell that aroused him as

the black light fluorescent tube hum was caught in his ears

burning flesh smell plasma crash down

the crunching bone

as she slowly fed

felt her real self

born into anger and anguish

she loved it




Razor nails soliloquy

the man cried as she ripped flesh

from muscle

muscle from bone

maroon pleasure fluids

her lips stretched around his entrails

drenched gore plasma delightful smell

she howled

he moaned

as she entered him furiously

twisted caress of his organs

they both enjoyed pain somewhat pleasure

she collapsed on top of him

sweet annihilation

tongued his sex organs

licked his entrails

a moon is gone forever

genetic disturbances disappeared.

her skin was ripped and sore,

the rough fur had vanished

her stare was, as always, vacant with lust

clocks are burning

she hummed as she

hung up his skin tacked to the wall

“bitten multiple times for a strap-on fuck”

Face without eyes next to the other one

next to an old woman

next to mommy

next to daddy

moist trophy skins arranged in a sequence

“let them dry.

political piggies. I’m a big girl now. I love cartilage.”

Taxidermy dance lessons

they’d never come back she detested competition

she walked slowly from one to the other

tongued the flaccid lips

the floppy breasts

thanked them then moved on down the line.

another customer

another taste

another loss

count the

fatalities of consequences

watch what they say

hear what they do

as we’re thrown into the fuckwall

drinking from a trickle in the gutter

ravaged by kisses

left broken naked

parched lips kissing the mirror

she moves forward

stepping over carcasses

beeding like a crazy horse

Another Friday evening for a melancholy baby

By Peter Marra


Madame Malicious and The Most Unlikely of Peers

Madame wouldn’t release him until the autumn.
Something about the chill damp air when the moon was full and high in the sky, cleaved by jagged cloud and mist. I suspected the scenario had something to do with her fetish for all things grey and meaty. It was a private fetish, handcrafted from rusted iron, dripping stone walls, and mirrors. I remember she said once that everyone was weighed down by lust coupled with time and gravity. She understood the equation. “The moon could relieve the pressure,” she’d said, and I believed her. She was all risk, all impulse. A ruby-eyed obsession. I had fallen for her — hard. She was a different kind of problem for me. She was bleach and rat poison — a real palate cleanser. Before I met her, my life was all cheap wine and sleeping pill hangovers. A byline. That was before she became my mistress. Before I enjoyed the musty aroma of her breath and the way she hushed me when I cried out in the darkness.
She said I wasn’t polluted like the others.
The first time I saw her was about a year ago. She’d crept out of the shadows into a luminescent altered state of moonlight and streetlight. She’d bent over — all the way over — and adjusted her stockings. Those legs she had … those legs were purple plush and dripping red skies. In her sport leathers, she cut a handsome figure in the gloaming. She’d met him there, the first of many, on that lonely corner. He waived his cigar around for a while, blew smoke in her face, and then gestured towards the alley like she was a cheap trick. She wasn’t. It all happened so fast, but I caught the look on her face with my camera. Caught the moon in her eyes. She’d seen me. She smiled and touched her throat, and then SNAP! The flash went off, startling him, so he grabbed her elbow and quickly ushered her into the dark. I’d fucked up with the flash, for sure, gave myself away. I thought I would never see her again, so I blew up the photo of her lips — tacked it to the wall in the closet where I liked to touch myself and cut myself with little bits of tin and broken glass.
Somehow, she knew. I photographed her every night after that … until the grey changed.
She’d said she didn’t like to colour outside of the chalk lines, you see, not with crayon, or oil, or blood. She had a signature style, a motive all her own, but of late, a little bit of wanderlust had crept in. That’s what she called it. “It’s something that happens to you, something that overtakes you,” she said. “The Hunger.” It’s what connects us all, and for that reason, she normally liked to eat locally and alone. The remains, those wretched bits of cartilage and bone, she tossed aside for the scavengers like me. She’d evolved, she said. Liked restoring order, and was ever careful, never fearful. That was before, though. Before the other came — from the dark into the light. Before the grey changed to panic and hysteria and chunks of skewered flesh left to rot in the sun. Before the pat-downs and the apologies — and before the inquisition alluded to anyone other than her — it was all scarlet burning and baptisms in the moonlit bay, but now, since the headlines had called them “killings” in the plural — the other’s not hers — the tourists have deserted the streets, leaving the evening’s hidden wonders to those who seek to indulge themselves with electric pitchforks and fluorescent lights.
She left me, cold dawn and wet pavement, with nothing more than a scratch to remember her by. I never told anyone her name. They call that journalistic integrity, but in reality, for all the time she’d spent clawing and gnawing at my flesh,
I’d never thought to ask her what it was.
By Cheryl Anne Gardner

The Bloodletting is Near

the moon shown it’s face,
making him rear his uglier
mask the one he didn’t like
to expose to the world; the
monster that rippled beneath
‘daddy’, ‘husband’, ‘brother’ —
the wolf that tore into the
flesh of lovers, mothers, sisters,
brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles;
he could not think about all
that, not now, it was too overwhelming —
remorse was better left to the dead,
it only haunted the living until
they were bereft of sanity; these
were the last conscious thoughts
before the man flowed into the wolf —
a transition easy as water rippling,
but far more painful; his howls
pierced into the night, the blood
spilled upon the thirsty ground of white
grasses, the thrill and adrenaline ran
wild in the animal’s veins; it had begun.
By Linda M. Crate

Doggy Style

The worst thing about sharing a flat with her is the hair.  From someone who shaves her legs with every bath or shower, plucks the happy trail rising like a Christmas tree to her navel, and has nothing but smears of kohl for eyebrows, it’s a bit of a shock.

She told me when I met her that she had problems once a month, blushing coyly into her margarita as she licked the salt ringing the glass with her long pink tongue and leaving me to presume it was some God-awful woman stuff she was on about.

I wish.

Picking the long, coarse grey hairs from the soap block in its scummy plastic shower dish, I can’t help cursing her.  Loudly.

But she’s still sleeping it off in the bedroom next door.

And another thing – when she’s like this she snores like an elephant farting.  That’s not counting the flatulence either.  Red meat does that to her.  She’s vegetarian the rest of the time, and I’m glad of it.  No guy wants his girlfriend producing odours like that.  Well, I’ve seen some sites, tipsy-typing, y’know?, but it’s not something me or my mates would go for.  Her incense sticks don’t cover much, but it’s a start.

Now for the really fun bit to begin…

Hunt the leftovers.

Sometimes they’re still alive and semi-conscious, which helps.  I just follow the bloody pawprints from the bathroom to whatever cupboard or closet she’s stashed them in for later.  Or if it’s been a big night, out the back door – then I listen.

If they’re moaning, I can get to them quicker.  If not, I check for tufts of hair on the wild roses fringing the field at the back of the communal garden.  Sometimes she leaves tarry black turds midway between the roses and the leftovers.  Then I just keep straight, and follow my nose.  They all shit themselves when she gets them.  I don’t know how she can bear to eat them like that.  But she does.

If the sky is dense with clouds and the leftovers are silent, sometimes I step in them.  It isn’t pretty.  I learnt the hard way not to wear suede out there.

Tonight, however, there’s a whining in the wardrobe, high pitched and annoying.  For fuck’s sake, I just want PEACE!

The door’s not quite closed, there’s a leg in the way.  A shapely one.  And it’s moving.

My pulse quickens and my palms grow moist and sticky.

I’ve always wanted a keeper.

There’s a hammer or baseball bat in every room of the house, for folk breaking in or remains I need to get out.  I don’t want to disturb the neighbours.  It’s a nice area, with decent people and low-enough rents for a slacker like me.

But I don’t need a hammer if I’m right, and Mary’s not got her too bad.  I can watch her turn, help her through… then have a turn, hopefully.  If Hairy Mary lets me.  Sometimes I wonder if, despite her easy going attitude, she’s really as jealous as the rest of them.  It’s always the gorgeous girls that get bit.

Wiping my hands on my pyjamas, I pull the door open and retch.

She might have been a looker once, but now she’s dog-food.  Literally.  Champ from next door is wrestling with something inside her chest cavity.  But why the whining?  Oh, right, I see.  His collar’s caught on the end of a rib.  Fucksake, stupid dog.

Setting him free, I hook my hand under the gory leather strap and huckle him through to the bathroom for a quick rinse.  Nothing fragrant, I don’t want his owners getting suspicious.

A quick rubdown with Mary’s towel – not mine – and he’s good to go.

I turn my back and take a piss, washing a pube into the water with my golden stream.  I yawn, stretch, and let it go hands free.  Who cares about a dribble when there’s blood and hair all over the place?  I’ll get the special mop and some bleach out soon.

I’m tired, and forget about Chump for a minute when I find more coarse grey hair in clumps by the tub.  Yuck.  Picking them up with toilet paper, I hear the bed squeaking rhythmically next door.  Like when we… what the fuck?

Nine weeks later, she’s out the door.  Six puppies that look fuck all like me in the box under her arm.  Chump’s long gone to the great dog pound in the sky.  I log onto the ‘Ah Luv Alopecia Angels’ website for the princely sum of ten pounds an hour, and think of the non-shed wigs on those honeys.

I’m having at it with hand cream and the Dyson’s hose attachment when the police roll up with sniffer dogs.  Uh-oh.

I come, then I go.

Handcuffs aren’t much fun from someone with balls.

By Gill Hoffs

Corpse of Moon Child Bright

when the howling stopped, the
jaws stopped snapping, the zephyr
stopped circulating the strands of
hair wafting through the land there
was silence reverberating off the moon —

laying in a silver stream was a
corpse; her blonde hair looked silver
like a unicorn of the wood, but her
body was mangled worse than surgeries
gone wrong; the wolves tore every

visage of beauty from her face; she
was forever staring at the sky as if it
were something that terrified her, a
haunting that would linger past her
ill-deserved death and into the afterlife.

By Linda M. Crate

Slip This Skin

“Detective Whitmare, do you have any comment on the brutality of the–”
“Was the assailant just one individ–”
“This is the most violent rape that Flagstaff–”
“Will the victim have any permanent brain–”
“Whitmare, is there a public danger of further rapes within the–“Jake let out a scoff at the scene playing on the TV. His leg bouncing a hundred miles a minute, beads of sweat thicker than pus squeezing out of his skin. His thumb impulsively went to his nose.
“There’s no way, no way they’ll find out.”
He shook his head and stretched back on the bed he was sitting on. He looked up at his trailer’s window directly above the pillow and felt a smile twist his face despite of his worries. The window was just a small rectangular slit, and around it his buddy had airbrushed the shape of a woman’s butt, her head peeking around her own hips as if she was bending over. It reminded him of what the Coppertone girl would have looked like if cartoons could grow up and get addicted to coke.It was her fault, Jake thought to himself. She started laughing when he screamed. While she was struggling he had felt a stinging burn in his neck, and then when his hand flinched towards it he felt a raised lump bulging from his skin. It felt like something hard was inside. Then two more hit, one on his hand and one on his thigh. They were still there now–he was too afraid to go to the hospital. Stepping out of the trailer into the isolated Arizona afternoon he unzipped his pants and aimed for some animal hole in the ground. Maybe a snake’s. Maybe a tarantuala’s.
“I used a condom, got an alibi, they got nothing” Jake spoke out loud.
His toilet had been busted since yesterday. When he got home from Jameson’s Charhouse the bowl was filled with rocks and dissolving clumps of dirt, each with strands of red hair wound and tied tightly around it. Curly hair. His hair. Probably some ex’s idea of a joke. Unless the Indian chick had a brother. But nah, the lock wasn’t jimmied. Plus last night, he was woken up by someone banging on the roof of the trailer and from what he heard on the news she couldn’t talk yet by then to tell anyone. Yeah, definitely the ex’s new tool or something. No biggie, just needed to change the locks.”Screw it.”
With a yawn he went inside and flopped on the bed, setting the alarm for midnight. He was going to get some action tonight. The girl at the bar asked to meet him at the graveyard. Kinky. And what a hottie, too. His hand cupped his dick through his sweatpants as he fell asleep. That night, Jake dreamed of a wolf with green eyes, staring at him from the inside of woman’s vagina. He was so small, the woman so large.###Detective Whitmare and Deputy Craigs walked over the crime scene. The Navajo victim had been completely unresponsive when the ambulance took her away–not so much unable to talk as unwilling. She’d just kept repeating “yee naaldlooshii” over and over again.”Noodle sushi, what in the hell does that even mean?” Craigs said, “if you ask me it’s nuthin’ but nonsense.”
“I hope so,” Whitmare responded.
“Hope so, now why would you hope the poor girl was talking nonsense?”
“Because if she said what I thought I was hearing, we may be the wrong people to solve this case.”
“One of those Indian things your mammy taught you again, huh?”
“Yep, one of those.”
“Detective, deputy.”
“What is it sergeant?” Whitmare asked.
“Evidence, sir, condom wrapper.”
“Trace the brand, and then go check Charleston’s pharmacy and see if they can’t give us any help.”###

Cold air and a cold smirk defined the night as Jake pulled his rusty pickup truck into the vacant lot across from the graveyard, out of sight of any passing cars in case things got out of hand again. Did she walk here? He didn’t see her car. That was probably for the best. An open grave lay to his right, the small CAT digger frozen next to a massive mound of dirt.

She wasn’t hard for Jake to spot. He saw pale skin and paler hair in a fluorescent pink tank-top and denim short shorts. Tied around her waist was some type of fur coat, dusky and colored like the desert. She looked like a facsimile of herself, like she dressed how she imagined a girl behaving like this should dress.
“You’re late,” she said in a cracking voice.
“Yeah, sorry Stephanie. Had to stop and get some condoms.” A different brand than last time, just to be safe.
“It’s Stacey.”
“Stacey. Hey, aren’t you cold like that?”
His hand went right for her neck, her skin hot and sweaty to the touch.
“Kiss me” she said, so contrived it could have been in a movie.
The jewlery around her neck looked old and dirty, even muddy. Was that grass in the chain? With their lips pressed his hand crept down to her breast. He pushed in, twisted. Something was wrong. It felt too saggy. He looked down–it looked nice, why did it feel so loose?
“Just kiss me.”
He closed his eyes and just went with it, hands taking off her shirt, going through her dry hair, groping all over in his best porn imitation. His hand back on her naked breast. Squeeze, twist, pull–his eyes snapped open.
“You’ll regret it,” she said through his mouth. He could feel her smile on his lips.
He didn’t stop pulling, the skin around her face stretched. It stretched right off her body. His arm was nearly fully extended and her skin was separating, separating off her body with a tug like coagulated glue. Where her eyes and her mouth should be, instead it looked just like holes punched in latex. He could see a bulbous nose and liver-spotted skin through the gaps. A rancid smell made him choke back vomit.
“What the fuck!”
He dropped the deflated breast, unbelieving. She pulled off the rest; let it fall in a clump on the ground. The inside of the skin was sticky and red, and so was she, standing in front of him.
“She” wasn’t quite right.
A bloated pregnant belly–large sagging breasts, but there was no mistaking what was hanging between Stacey’s, between its legs.
“Jesus fucking Christ!”
It laughed, a bald and furrowed laugh just like its head. Man-eyes and pouty woman-lips stretching across rotting mucus teeth. It bent over abruptly, the sagging wrinkly stomach swinging as it grabbed the fur coat, and in a crouch he watched as it put the wolf head over its face.

If Jake would have stayed and watched, he would have seen the ancient’s skin boil and pop, would have seen the hide of the wolf-pelt respond in the same way, the bubbles exploding and reaching out, magnetic, towards one another like so many sniffing snakes–twisting around each other, twisting the wolf-hide into the aged yellow skin.
But Jake didn’t see any of that.
Jake had already turned and ran.


The burrow was unlike anything either officer had ever seen–too organized for an animal and too foul for a human. The night was damp, the grass lime green, and if the smell from the hole was any stronger it would have been visible. Under the police spotlight they could see the clay soil piled around the entrance, it covered them as they slid into it.

The earth inside was damp and looked fresh and unbroken–like it was a natural phenomenon. There were no signs of moving life, of trampling life; pale fleshy sprouts poked and looped in the dirt. It felt like they were walking on the moon.
The skeletons still with pieces of meat on it and the crude table told a different story.

“Grinding the bones up, why the hell?” Craigs asked.
“It’s believed that bones have mystical properties” Whitmare said.
“Mystical? Like what?”
“Like bone-dust having the ability to temporarily paralyze.”
“Or maybe it’s just easier to hide the evidence like that” Craigs said, but put the pestle down all the same. “So what other kinds of things can these Skinwalkers of yours do?”
“They sometimes shoot bone darts from blowguns–they’re said to implant in the skin without leaving any mark of entry.”
“Also, it’s said that Skinwalkers don’t leave footprints.”
Craigs froze, noticing the ground for the first time.
“Take a look at this, deputy.” Along the side of the burrow, above the table with the pestle, there were photographs stabbed into the wall of dirt with squirrel bones. They were of a young white male, hat turned sideways with a flat brim and long, curly red-hair sticking out underneath. Dozens of them lined the wall, greasy from a lard candle beneath and all taken from odd angles. Pictures of Jake driving. Pictures of Jake eating at the diner. Pictures of Jake taking a leak in the afternoon sun. Pictures of Jake raping a Navajo woman. Pictures of Jake raping other women.
“Jake Vetton, that little prick.”
“Deputy, do we still have any gas left in the emergency tank?”
Craigs didn’t say anything, just shoved his way out of the hole.

The next morning a small brush fire was reported on the news in a small unincorporated area outside of Flagstaff. No one was hurt, and the fire was quickly controlled by two officers who arrived on the scene promptly.


When Jake woke he couldn’t feel a thing, couldn’t move a thing either. His body frozen on the night ground, his back over some sort of rocky protrusion–forcing his head to hang upside down, staring at the wheels of his truck. He had almost made it. No, he couldn’t feel. But judging by the way his body was shaking, he could tell his legs were being pulled in jerky movements, and by moving his eyes to the side he could see a pack of animals, were those dogs?, scurrying back and forth around him. A howl broke the movements and then all the dogs followed. Jake began to cry. Not dogs–wolves.

Suddenly an old, dusky wolf head slammed in front of his face. It just stared at him, tongue lolling. It let out a sharp bark–it was laughing, laughing just like that Indian girl! The arms of the Skinwalker–they were arms, there was no mistaking them for legs–pushed down heavily on his chest. So heavily his breathing got harder. It dipped its head and started licking his face, his neck. Its tongue found the bump in his neck from the night before. The Skinwalker bit at the lump. He couldn’t feel it, couldn’t feel anything but the same sort of tugging he felt on his legs–it was the same, Christ it was the same! The Skinwalker’s ripped the lump out, and throwing its head back he gnawed and cracked at it leisurely, like it was a sunflower seed, smacking its black lips.

Jake’s cries were sobs now. With a tremendous force of will he pushed with his neck–a spasm of neon pain–but it did the trick, he propped his head upright on the rock, looking down at his body. He wished he hadn’t. Three wolves were gnawing at his legs; they were almost stripped to the bone. His blood was soaking the mud. He began to feel woozy. The Skinwalker circled around and joined the wolves. Its strong jaws locked below his kneecap, yanking hard at his tibia the sinews connecting it were stretching, stretching, and then–a snap.

By Mike Joyce

Banker’s Hours

Debbie stumbled from the bar into the night.  She hadn’t gotten drunk there.  Buckley, the bartender, had seen to that.  He had told her that she’d never pass for 21 as long as she kept wearing “her pretty blond hair” in pigtails.  She thought he might be right, but at 18, she had certainly developed the body to pass for legal drinking age and all the men in town had been quick enough to point out that she was old enough for other things.  She decided that in a town this small it didn’t matter how she wore her hair, everyone knew her age and the Sheriff had made it pretty plain that anyone caught serving her alcohol would pay dearly.  That might have had something to do with the fact that he was her uncle.

Debbie mulled all this over while she stepped into an alley to throw up.  Bradford at the liquor store used to give her bottles of the cheap stuff if she’d flash him.  He was only a little older than she was and not very popular with the girls in town, so she felt like she was doing him a favor giving “the nerd” something to dream about all weekend.  The cheap stuff didn’t sit well with her at all and she threw up again.

As she wiped the mess from her mouth Debbie heard a snarling noise from deep within the darkness of the alley.  She slowly crept toward the noise to get a closer look.  In her stupor she couldn’t be sure of what she saw, but it seemed to be as big as a bear and it was rummaging through trash cans like a raccoon.

“Hey, puppy,” she said with a giddy lilt to her voice.

Suddenly, two bright yellow eyes were staring right through her.  The creature let out a low growl and she could see that it had tremendous teeth.  Debbie screamed and ran toward the street.  The monstrous figure followed her.  She could feel its breath on her neck and she knew she’d never outrun it.  She ducked behind a heavy green dumpster and hoped that it wouldn’t be able to reach her.

She screamed as a long hairy arm with sharp claws at the end of it reached in and slashed at her in the dark.  She could hear the creature panting and snarling.  All she could see of it was a massive shadow, shaped not quite like a man, but not like an animal.

Finally, Debbie’s mind caught up to the situation and she pulled out her phone.  She hit a speed dial button and a voice answered, “Sheriff’s office.”

“Phyllis,” Debbie said hurriedly, “Get me Uncle Mack!  I’m in trouble, near Buckley’s bar!”

Her uncle’s voice boomed back at her through the phone. “Did that son of a bitch serve you again?”

“Uncle Mack,” Debbie pleaded.  “Please, come get me.  A monster.  A monster is trying to kill me!”

“Dam it!” her uncle admonished her.  “You are drunk.”

“Please, Uncle Mack.  Come and get me.  Please.”  She began sobbing.

“I’m sorry, Debbie.  But your Dad is going to have to handle this one.  I’ve cleaned up enough of your messes.”

He hung up and all she could hear was the dial tone.  The creature had stopped trying to reach her.  It wasn’t snarling or panting anymore.  She thought something must’ve scared it off.  She knew she was wrong when the dumpster flew into the air and landed at the edge of the alley with a thud.  Debbie never got a clear look at the creature before it spilled her intestines onto the pavement and carried her carcass away to feed upon it.


            Tony sat nervously in the small, old fashioned café.  He had chosen a booth near the window so he could watch the street.  His hands clutched his coffee cup as he continually craned his neck to get a better view of the street outside.  The town of Canderville looked like it had stopped developing in the 1950s.  More accurately it looked like it had been built to shoot a 1950s era movie.  All of the buildings were old in design, but they were as clean as if they had just been erected.  The streets were littered with perfectly restored old cars from America’s past.  In fact, even the few newer cars that were scattered around the street were all built by the “Big Three”.  There wasn’t a foreign car in the bunch.  The streets were wide and there were clocks mounted to the sides of each corner building.  Tony figured the word for it was “quaint”.

In contrast, Tony was the epitome of a modern man.  His clothes were custom tailored, his hair a bit unruly and his phone was smart.  The large device sat next to his coffee cup on the table.  Tony glanced down at it to make sure he hadn’t missed a text.  He hadn’t.  Suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder.  He turned in surprise to see an older gentleman with graying temples and broad shoulders looking down at him.

“Hey, Jack,” Tony said with a little surprise.  “I didn’t see you come in.”

Jack nodded toward the other side of the café.

“Backdoor,” he said as he took a seat.  “Why so nervous, Tony?”
Tony checked the street again. “Isn’t Ron coming?”

“We drove in separately.  You know how it is when you’re on parole.  You attract less attention when you’re not seen with the fellas you used to work with.”

Tony nodded as he continued to look out the window.

“It was a long drive, Tony,” Jack said.  “I assume there’s a reason you wanted to meet us all the way up here.”
“Ya,” Tony said.  He gave no further explanation.

Jack rolled his eyes. He glanced outside the café window at the street and there was no sign of Ron.  “Well can you tell me what it’s all about or do we have to wait for Ron?”

Tony quickly glanced around the café to be sure nobody was watching.  Then, keeping his hand close to the table, he pointed across the street.  He hid his hand quickly as the waitress approached the table.

“Can I get you something?” she asked Jack with a smile.

He found her blue eyes and red hair very attractive.  He wasn’t sure if her haircut and make-up were part of the café’s design or if she just hadn’t picked up a fashion magazine in 60 years.  Of course, that would mean she hadn’t seen one since well before she was born.

“Just coffee,” Jack said as he turned over the cup that was in front him on a saucer.

He read her nametag as she poured from the pot that she had brought with her.

“Thanks, Jean,” he said with a wink.

“You’re very welcome,” she smiled back.

He watched her walk away and then turned back to Tony.

“Sorry, I was distracted.  What were you pointing at?”  He glanced out the window.  “That bank across the street?”

Tony put his finger over his mouth.

“Would you keep it down?” he pleaded.

Just then Ron slid into the seat next to Jack.

“So, are we here about that little bank across the street?” he blurted out.

Tony cringed.

Ron turned to Jack, “Did you see that redheaded waitress?”

“Sure did.  If I was 15 years younger…”
“I’m 15 years younger,” Ron said with a smile.  “So is Tony, but I doubt a nervous guy like him even noticed her.”

Tony looked over and saw Ron’s ridiculously white teeth shining back at him.  His blond hair and white teeth were in stark contrast with his tanning bed complexion.

Jean came to the table and poured Ron a cup of coffee.

“Thanks, Doll,” he said.

“If there’s nothing else…” she responded with an uninterested look.

“That’ll be fine for now,” Jack replied.  “Excuse my friend.  He’s never seen a woman before.”

Jean let a smile slip past her stern look and walked back toward the counter.

“If you two are done flirting,” Tony said, “I’d like to discuss business.”

“Look,” Jack said, “I don’t know about you two, but I’ve gone straight.  I’m not interested in this kind of thing anymore.”

“It’s a honey of a deal,” Tony said.  “A real pushover.”

“It would have to be to interest you, Tony,” Ron quipped.  “But I’m with Jack.  My used car lot is doing a booming business and I’m not looking to shake that up.”

“I can’t believe people buy cars from you,” Jack said.

“I’ve got an honest face,” Ron replied with a tremendous grin.  “And I let people with bad credit finance through me.”
“Don’t they default?” Jack said.

“Of course, but not until after they’ve made months of payments at staggering interest.  They’ve paid almost full price by the time we repossess it.”
“How often to you have to repossess?”

“About 99 percent of the time.  I’ve been selling the same 20 cars for two years now.”

“Good god!” Tony shouted.  “Can we just talk about the damn bank now!”

The entire café went silent and the trio felt all eyes upon them.  To Tony it seemed to last forever.

“Calm down, buddy,” Jack said patting Tony’s hand.  “Tell us about it.  Quietly.”

Tony turned and smiled at the people at the table next to them.  He turned back to Jack and Ron and leaned in to whisper to them.

“Look at it, boys,” he said.  “It’s a golden goose.”

‘           “I was checking it out before I came over here,” Ron said.  “Looks like any standard bank to me.  Huge vault, alarm system, silent buttons and a guard.”

“A guard during the day,” Tony whispered.

“Surely locked up tighter than a drum at night,” Jack said.

“And hardly worth the effort in a town this small,” Ron added.

“You’re both wrong,” Tony said.  He turned to Ron. “Did you notice anything about the vault?  Anything unusual by today’s standards?”

Ron thought about it for a moment and then whispered back, “No time lock.”

Tony tapped the tip of his nose and leaned back in his chair.

“Look, Tony,” Jack said, “I know it’s tough straightening out after spending some time inside, but you’re only 35.  You’ve got time to do your life  right.  Get married, have some kids, buy a house.  You don’t need to risk another ten years on a few grand from some little bank.”

“What about two hundred grand?” Tony whispered.

“Cash?  In that little bank?  All at once?” Jack stammered each question.

“You passed all that construction on the way up here?  The city payroll goes through that bank every two weeks.”

“And the alarm?” Ron asked.

“Once a month the bank manager and his son spend the night there balancing the books.  Alone.”

“Oh c’mon!” Jack exclaimed in disbelief.

“And let me guess,” Ron said. “Sometime soon these two events coincide.”

“Tomorrow night.  For the first time since I found the place.”

Jack smiled.  He waved his hand in the air to get Jean’s attention.  “Three Cheeseburgers, the works and some great big chocolate shakes!”

“You boys celebrating something?” Jean asked.

            “I just found out I’ll be getting my pension after all,” Jack smiled.

The next night the trio was sitting in a car across the street from the bank.  Tony’s fingers nervously drummed the huge steering wheel of the 1974 Ford Torino.  Ron was in the front seat next to him and Jack was in the backseat leaning forward to look out the front window.

“Relax, Tony,” Ron reprimanded.  “You draw more attention than a topless chick at Spring Break.”

“He’s right, Tony,” Jack added, “but when do we hit this place?”

“We’ll walk in right behind the dopes as soon as they return and unlock the door,” Tony explained.  He glanced up and down the street. “I just wish it was darker.  It’s nearly 8 o’clock.  Why isn’t dark yet?”

“Southern summer nights,” Jack smiled.

Just then, a red Chevy Nomad wagon pulled up to the curb outside of the bank.  The trio watched as Brad, a short middle-aged man with grey hair and a bit of a paunch, stepped out of the driver’s side and walked around to open the passenger door for his son, Taylor.  Taylor was a fit young man of about 19 years.  He was taller than his father and had a thin, but muscular frame.  Ron immediately noticed that the young man looked sick.

“What’s wrong with him?” he uttered as he watched Taylor stagger from the car clutching his stomach.

Brad slung his son’s arm over his shoulder and helped the boy walk to the front door of the bank.  Tony reached for the door handle and got ready to exit the car.  Brad slid a keycard into a panel on the front door of the bank.  He then punched in a lengthy number code.

Just as Tony was about to open the door to the car Jack dropped his hand down onto his shoulder and pushed him back into the driver’s seat.  “Hold it.”

They watched as Brad looked back to the car and slipped out from under Taylor’s arm.  The young boy leaned against wall of the bank.  Brad headed back toward the old car.

“He forgot something,” Jack explained.  “If we hit them now we risk the Dad sending out the alarm.  We need to get them both right at the door.”

“That’s not going to happen,” Ron said as Taylor pushed the door open and stumbled inside.  “At least it doesn’t look like the kid is going to put up much of a fight.”

“It’s weird,” Tony interjected.  “That kid plays football for the local college.  He’s a regular athlete.  The picture of health and yet whenever I see him here he looks ready to drop on the spot.”

“Maybe he’s a drinker,” Ron said.  “Whatever it is, it’ll make him easy prey.”

“Let’s hit it,” Jack commanded as Brad rushed back to the door with a briefcase in his hand.

The three men burst from the car and rushed up behind Brad just as he finished punching in the code for the door.  Jack was the first one on him.  The experienced criminal thrust the barrel of a snub-nose .38 revolver into the small of Brad’s back.

“Just step inside,” Jack insisted through gritted teeth.

“Y-you don’t understand,” Brad stuttered.

Jack jabbed the gun deeper into his back and Brad reluctantly complied.  In seconds they were all inside and Ron was pulling the security door closed behind them.  They were standing in a foyer staring at another set of double glass doors.

“Open it!” Tony shouted.

Brad shook his head in defiance. The group looked up and saw Taylor sitting on a desk clutching his stomach.

“Crap!” Ron shouted.  “He’ll trip the alarm!”

“The hell he will!” Tony said. He swung his long trench coat to the side revealing a double barrell12 gauge shotgun.  The barrels were short, but not sawn down.  With it’s oak grips and flat black barrels it resembled an Old West coach gun.  He leveled the gun squarely at Taylor’s head.  The young man didn’t seem to notice. “He makes a move toward that alarm button and I’ll blow his head off.”

“It’s bullet proof glass,” Brad said with a smirk.  “Your shot will just attract attention.”

“Damn it, Tony!” Ron shouted.  “Did you case this place at all?”

“You checked it out!” Tony said.  “You didn’t know about the bullet proof doors!”

“Why don’t you gentlemen just leave and we’ll forget this every happened,” Brad suggested.

They stared at him in disbelief.  Before anyone could speak Taylor fell to the floor and began to convulse.

“Damn it!” Brad shouted.  He slid his keycard into another panel, punched in another series of random numbers and burst into the bank lobby.  The three confused robbers followed closely behind him.

“Ron, disconnect the alarm!” Jack shouted.  “You,” he poked at Brad who was crouching next to his son, “open the vault!”

“Yes,” Brad said.  “We have to open the vault now!”

He led Tony and Jack into a small alcove where a tremendous steel door enclosed the vault.  Ron leapt over the teller counters with a tool bag in hand.  Taylor was on the floor twitching and screaming in pain.  Foam was bursting from his mouth.

Ron’s head popped up from behind the counter. “Alarm’s dead!” he reported.

Jack loomed over Brad.  “Open the vault.”

The nervous banker felt his pockets desperately.  He was sweating and trembling.  He looked over at his son who was tearing the clothes from his body.

“Oh no,” Brad said.  He glanced over toward Taylor.  “It’s happening so soon!  So fast!  Faster every time!”

“Open the vault!” Tony insisted.

“I can’t,” Brad said.  “I need my keycard!”

“Well where is it?” Jack screamed.

Brad pointed to floor near his writhing son.  The keycard was lying in a puddle of foamy drool.  Jack grunted and charged to grab the precious card.  As he crouched down Taylor looked up at him and roared.  His eyes were bright yellow and hair was bursting forth from his neck and arms.

“What the hell is wrong with this kid?” Jack shouted as he reached for the card.

Before there was an answer Taylor swung his arm and sent Jack flying across the room.  The large man crashed through some grey cubicle walls and sunk unconscious behind a desk.

“It’s too late!” Brad shouted as he pulled a jail cell-like door closed between the alcove and the lobby.

“What the hell are you doing?!” Tony said, pointing both barrels of the shotgun at the terrified banker.

“Can’t you see what he is?  It’s too late to get him into the vault!  I just hope the bank can hold him.”

Ron and Tony watched in terror as Taylor stood straight and tall.  His now naked body quivered as his legs and arms extended and his neck stretched and contorted. Long claws burst from his hands and feet and fur grew on his body at an incredible rate. The boy’s face elongated and blood poured from his mouth as his teeth tumbled from his gums, pushed out by long, sharp fangs.  In moments a tremendous wolf, standing like a man, was looming in the center of the dark lobby where Taylor once stood.  The creature was so large that his head nearly touched the low ceilings of the bank.

Ron let out a weak gasp as he sunk behind the counter and hoped that the creature would forget that he was there.

“This can’t be happening!” Tony shouted.  “It was going to be such an easy job!”

His cries drew the attention of the wolf.  It turned in a flash and charged at them, hitting the metal bars with a loud clang.  Tony and Brad stepped back as far they could. They shrunk against the cold metal door of the vault.  The alcove wasn’t very big and the wolf’s arm was long and lean.  The beast leaned in and thrashed its claw at them furiously, snarling as it slashed at them.  Finally, Tony screamed and raised the shotgun.

“No!” Brad shouted.

Tony fired both barrels.  The beast yelped in pain as it flew backwards across the room.  Blood hit the bars.  The wolf slammed into the floor with a loud thud.  Brad turned and struck Tony in the face with his fist.  Tony fell to the floor.  He looked up and pointed the empty gun at Brad.

“You killed my son,” Brad shouted.

“That was not your son!” Tony said.

They heard a cheer of joy from the lobby and looked to see Ron climbing out over the counters.  “You got him, Tony boy!  Nice shot.”

Brad was sobbing.  Tony climbed to his feet and pushed against the iron bars.

“Get us out of here,” he said to Brad.  “Hey!” he shouted shaking the crying man.  “Open this thing.”

“I need the keycard,” Brad managed to choke out.

“Got it!” Ron reported as he headed over to where the card lay on the wet carpet.  He bent down, picked up the card and jogged over to the iron door.  “So, do I just slide it into here?”

Brad and Tony stood silent.

“Hey!” Ron said.  “Do I need a code or something?  You guys want out or what?”  Fear washed over him as he watched Tony’s finger rise and point to something in the bank lobby.  Ron heard a snort.  He slowly turned his head and saw the tremendous animal standing a bit unsteadily behind him.  “Oh my God!”  Ron began sliding the card furiously.  The panel kept flashing red and beeping at him.  “What am I doing wrong?  What am I doing wrong?”

Tony fumbled with his shotgun.  He breached the barrels and pulled out the empty shells.  He struggled to pull new shells from his coat pockets.

“That won’t do you any good,” Brad said.  “Look.”

They watched in horror as the wounds in the wolf’s chest sealed themselves shut.  The creature got steady on its feet and howled in triumph.

“It’s true,” Brad whispered.  “You need silver to kill the wolf.”

“Let me in!” Ron shouted swiping the card again.

“You need the code,” Brad smiled.

“What’s the code?” Ron pleaded.

Brad stared back him coldly and shook his head.

Suddenly Ron was torn from his feet.  He dangled in the air just a few feet in front of them as the wolf stared up at him and sized up its prey.  Then, with a lightning fast strike of his jaws Ron’s throat was torn out.  His body fell to the floor and the beast discarded his head with a toss.  It bounced over the teller counter and disappeared.  The wolf fell upon the headless corpse and fed furiously upon Ron’s insides.

Tony pushed Brad against the bars of the iron door.

“You let that thing kill my friend!” he accused the little man.

“If I had let your friend in we’d all be dead.”
”You were just trying to save your son!”

“From what? You and that shotgun?  You can’t hurt him.  You saw that.”

“He bled.  If we hit him hard enough, fast enough, with enough fire power, we’ll hurt him.”

“And how do you propose to do that with 2 barrels of buckshot?”

“Help will come.  Someone must have heard all of that screaming and howling.”

“Once we got inside those bullet proof doors we pretty much entered a soundproof environment too.”

Tony took a step back and Brad rubbed his bruised chest.  He smiled at the defeated criminal.  He looked out and watched as the wolf that was once his son continued to tear Ron’s body to pieces.  “It’s actually sort of beautiful, isn’t it?”

Tony snorted and slid to the floor with his back against the vault door.  He looked down at the shotgun and then at the iron bars.  “Do you think those bars will keep him out?”

“I don’t know.  There are claw marks and dents on the inside of that vault door that probably would have mangled these little, old fashioned bars.  That vault is some kind of new fangled alloy.  These bars are just iron.”

“I can keep him off the bars awhile with this.  Maybe I’ll get lucky and get a headshot in.”
“Maybe.”  Brad turned and smiled at him.  “Just don’t panic.”

The wolf finished making a meal of Ron.  It almost sounded like it was purring as it sat back on the blood stained carpet and looked at the gore covered bones.

“Maybe he’s full,” Tony said hopefully.

The wolf’s head shot around and it looked back at the two men in the alcove.

“I don’t think so,” Brad said.  “Better get that gun ready.”

Tony leapt to his feet and watched as the huge creature charged the bars.  He fired desperately in an attempt to stop the attack.  The pellets ripped into the wolf’s shoulder.  The beast barely stumbled from the shock and its huge body impacted the bars hard enough to shake them within the concrete wall.  It reached in through the bars and grabbed Tony by the throat.

He felt the claw crushing around his neck.  He couldn’t breath.  Water gushed from his eyes and his ears felt like they would explode.  Tony knew he’d blackout any moment.  He clumsily struggled to get the barrels of the gun under the wolf’s chin.  In desperation he fired the remaining shell and the wolf stumbled backwards and fell to the floor.

Tony dropped to the carpet clutching his injured throat.  He coughed and gagged struggling to get air.  He looked over at the mass of fur on the floor.

“Ha!” he croaked out in a raspy voice as he climbed to his feet, using the vault door to steady himself. “That got him.  Right in the chin!  Let’s see him recover from that!”

The wolf twitched.  Its chest began to rise and lower in short, deliberate breaths.

“How?” Tony cried.

Brad looked through the bars and scratched his head.  “Lots of thick muscle and bone to go through I guess.  You just can’t do enough damage fast enough.”

“We’ll see about that,” Tony said, reloading the gun once again.

“How many of those you got left?”

“Three,” Tony said thoughtfully.

“Three?  Who carries an odd number of shells for a double barrel gun?”

“It’s just strange.  I think it’s strange.”

Tony reloaded the gun and stumbled back to the bars.  He took aim and fired again with both barrels just as the wolf was attempting to get to its feet.  The creature fell to the floor with a grunt.

“Hit it in the same spot?” Brad asked rubbing his ears.


“I figure if you’re trying to keep its wounds from healing until it dies you need to hit the same wounds.  In general, at least.  I’m not really sure how it works.”

Tony loaded his last shell.

The wolf turned onto its stomach and struggled to get to its feet.  Tony took aim.

“Last shot,” Brad smirked.  “Make it count.”

Tony looked at the gun and backed away to the cold door of the vault.  Brad checked his watch.

“It’s nearly ten o’clock.  Only eight hours to go.”

The hours went by and periodically the wolf would rush the bars and thrust one hairy arm into the alcove trying to get a grip on Tony or Brad.  Each time the iron bars would bend a bit more.  The framework would wiggle further from the concrete wall.  Tony struggled to contain his urge to fire the gun and end the assault for just a few minutes.  He figured his only chance would be to wait and see if the beast broke through the bars and then let loose with the last shell right into the monster’s gaping mouth.  With each attack it became more and more difficult not to fire.

It was close to midnight and the two men were staring at the wolf that sat just a few yards away.  It was picking at the bones of Ron’s leftovers.  Brad checked his watch.

“You keep checking the time,” Tony observed.  “It can’t be near 6 AM yet.  What’s the point?”

The wolf seemed to flick its ears at the question.  It stopped its chewing and slowed its breathing.

“Nothing,” Brad said.  “Just counting down the minutes.”

A groan echoed through the lobby. The wolf dropped its chew bone, and slowly got to its feet. Its nose twitched as it searched the air for a sign of food.  All fell silent when Jack’s voice filled the air.

“Tony, Ron?  What the hell happened?” Jack called out.

The wolf greedily snarled and crouched down to ready for an attack.

Jack pushed the cubicle walls to the side and gasped when he saw the massive ball of muscles and fur charging toward him.  Without a thought he raised his revolver and fired, emptying it into the monster’s chest.  It stumbled, fell and slid into a heap at his feet.  He looked down at the still body of the wolf, lightly kicked it in the ribs and watched as there was no reaction.  He stepped over the bloody mass and let the shells from his gun drop to the floor as he walked toward the alcove.  He slipped in the pile of bones and muck that used to be Ron.  Jack glanced down and continued his walk to where Tony was behind the bars.

“The keycard!” Tony shouted.  “Get it quick.”
“Sure,” Jack said with a bit of confusion in his voice.  “Where’s Ron?” He bent down and picked up the keycard that had been sitting just short of Tony’s reach.  “And what the hell is that mess over there?”  He pointed to the pile of bones.

“Never mind,” Tony demanded.  “Open this door and let’s get the hell out of here.”

Jack slid the card.  “Did you see that freaky guard dog?  It was huge!”

He stared at the keypad. “I need the code.”

Tony pointed the gun at Brad.

“Not a good idea,” Brad said.

“This is our chance to get out of here!” Tony shouted.

“Hey, Tony, did you see the way I blasted that mutant mutt?” Jack snickered.

Brad pointed through the bars and Jack heard a snort behind him.  He turned to see the giant wolf looming over him.

“How in the He—“. He was cut off when the wolf backhanded him and sent him tumbling across the room.

It charged at him again.  This time, with his gun empty, Jack was forced to improvise. He scrambled to his feet and grabbed one of the stands used to hold the velvet rope for the bank line.  He held the metal post out in front of him like a battering ram and struck the charging animal’s chest with it.  As he made his attack he also stepped to one side and the wolf tumbled through an office door with a crash.

Jack ran toward the iron barred door.  “What the hell is that thing?” He swiped the card.  Brad reached through the bars and punched in some numbers.  Jack clutched the bars and tugged, but the door didn’t open.  Brad snatched the card from his hand.

“Hey!” Jack shouted.

“Oops,” Brad said.  “Wrong code.”

They could hear wood cracking and metal bending as the wolf went on a rampage in the office.  A desk shot through a plaster wall and crashed into some potted trees near the front doors.  Jack frantically used a speed loader to get his .38 ready again.  With a howl the wolf crashed through what remained of the plaster wall and turned to face Jack.

The experienced gunman took careful aim and fired all five rounds from his small weapon directly into the beast’s head.

“Yee-haw!” Tony shouted.  “Right between the eyes!”

Jack let the empty shells fall to the floor.  He glanced up at Tony.  “Does it make a difference with that thing?”  In a moment he was loaded again.

“I think so,” Tony said.  “The shots hurt it, but it heals fast.  Really fast.  Maybe if you destroyed its brain…”

Jack thrust his brawny arm through the bars and grabbed Brad’s collar.  He pulled the small man against the bars so quickly that Brad’s nose exploded with blood from the impact.  Jack shoved the gun into his ribs.  The barrel was still hot from all of the firing and it burnt Brad’s stomach.

“Now, how about the right code?” Jack demanded.

Brad checked his watch.  He nodded his head and slid the card through the reader.  Then he quickly punched in some numbers.

Jack swung the bars open and grabbed Brad once again and tossed him to the floor.  Tony stepped out and all eyes turned to the massive creature lying on the floor.

“Don’t they change back when they’re dead?” Tony asked.

“Who am I, Lon Chaney?” Jack said.  “How would I know?”  He trained his gun on the bloody wolf.  “Let’s just get out of here fast in case it’s not dead.”

Tony nodded and grabbed Brad by the collar lifting him to his feet.  Brad desperately glanced back at his briefcase, but Tony was dragging him toward the door before he could get a hold of it.

“Open the doors!” Tony insisted.

“No,” Brad said.  “We’d be letting it out.”

“We’d be getting out!” Jack said.  “We’ll lock it in behind us.”
“I don’t think these doors will do it,” Brad said.  “We’ve got to get Taylor into the vault.”

“Taylor?” Tony said.  “You’re still calling that thing Taylor?  That is not your son!” He pointed to the still lying hulk on the floor.

“Besides, whatever it is, it’s dead,” Jack pointed out.  “Look at it!”

“Then what’s the harm in moving it?” Brad said exasperated. “To give an old man some solace.”

Tony and Jack shot glances at each other.  They both shrugged.
“Easier than beating the code out of him,” Jack pointed out.
He and Tony walked over to the body of the wolf on the floor.  Each grabbed a portion of bloody mess of fur.  It seemed to weigh a ton and the best the two men could do was lift part of it and drag the rest across the blood soaked carpet.

“This thing do that to Ron?” Jack said breathlessly, nodding his head toward the gnawed bones in the center of the lobby.

Tony nodded.

“Well,” Jack called back to Brad, “get this big dang vault door open.”

Brad rushed over with his keycard at the ready.  He slid it through the reader and quickly punched in the code.  Clicks and clangs of moving parts could be heard from inside of the vault.  The mechanisms moved frantically as they all worked to release the many cogs and locks on the huge door.  Then with a hiss of air that shook the walls around it, the door slowly creaked open.  Brad leaned against it to shift the weight and the tremendous metallic door glided open.  They could see the scratches and dents that Brad had mentioned to Tony earlier.

“I’ve had a heck of a time explaining those to the staff,” Brad said. “I told most of them I was moving a heavy load of coins with a pallet jack and it got away from me.  People will believe anything…except this.”  He pointed to the wolf the men were holding.

Jack looked at Tony and nodded.  The two men let go of their load and let the wolf slump to the ground.  They charged into the vault and began grabbing stacks of cash and shoving them into their pockets.

“What the hell are you doing?” Brad shouted as he rushed to grab the wolf and began to drag it into the vault on his own.

“You don’t think we really cared about your ‘solace’,” Jack taunted.

Brad was desperately struggling with the bulk of the wolf’s body as he tried to drag it into the vault.  Jack and Tony easily slipped past him.  They ran out of the vault and watched as he managed to roll the huge lump of fur just inside of the bank vault.  The last roll caused a loud sigh to emit from the creature.

Jack and Tony looked at each other.  They grabbed Brad by the collar and  yanked him from the vault.  Jack then shouldered the giant door closed just as the wolf began to lift itself up.

The door clanged shut and the locks began to automatically engage.  Tony snatched the keycard from Brad’s pocket and shoved him back against the vault door.  Then he and Jack left the alcove and locked Brad inside.

“You still need the code to get out,” Brad said.

“You get the code?” Jack asked Tony.

“I’ve seen him do it two or three times now,” Tony said.  “I think I got it.”

They headed to the door.  Before they reached it a loud clang echoed from inside the vault.  They turned to look and saw Brad looking back at the vault in terror.

“I’m not sure it will hold him this time,” Brad said.  “Please, you can’t leave me locked in here with him!”

“It’s always held him before, right?” Tony said.

“Every time we got him inside in time,” Brad said.

“How long has this been going on?” Jack asked.

Another loud echo burst out from the vault.  This time plaster fell from the ceiling and the whole building seemed to shake.

“Please!” Brad shouted.  “At least give me my briefcase!”

The vault door shook.  Tony rushed to the front doors.  He punched in the code.  Nothing happened.

“I thought you knew it!” Jack shouted.

“I do!” Tony insisted. “I’m just nervous.”

The vault door shook again and this time the center of it bulged.  One of the embedded hinges became visible as concrete surrounding the door fell to the floor.

“He’s coming!” Brad shouted.  “Please, my briefcase!”

“What is so dammed important about your briefcase?” Jack asked.

Brad checked his watch.  “It’s nearly 12:30.  I have to be ready.  I may have to kill him!”

“What happens at 12:30?” Jack said.

Just then a buzzer rang.  All eyes turned to the front doors and Jean was standing outside on the street with a cardboard tray full of cups.

“Every time we do this Jean brings us coffee at 12:30,” Brad said meekly.

The door shook again.

“He’s so much stronger,” Brad observed.  “He’s never been this strong.  Maybe it’s because he fed this time.”

Tony watched in amazement as Jean swiped her own card in the door outside.  She casually punched in the code.

“You gave the waitress the code?” Tony said incredulously.

“I trust her,” Brad said.  “Now, please, let me out of here.”

Jack reached out his hand for the card.  Tony reluctantly handed it over.  Jean stepped into the foyer.  She stopped in shock as the mess inside of the bank came into view.  She could still only see mostly shadows through the glass, but it was evident there was movement inside and that something terrible had happened.  At the same time she swiped her card for the interior doors Brad handed Jack the card and the banker unlocked the cage-like door.

Tony grabbed Jean and covered her mouth the instant she stepped inside.  Brad ran from the alcove just as the vault door crashed to the floor.  The wolf burst out into the lobby.  Brad jumped back into the safety of the alcove and closed the bars behind him.  Jack scuttled behind a desk and crouched quietly.  Tony pulled Jean behind the teller counters and kept his hand over her mouth.

The wolf immediately turned back to the most obvious target.  Brad stood staring at him from behind the bars.  He backed into the now gaping vault.  His only hope now was to keep the monster’s attention until Jean could get away or the sun came up.  He didn’t have much confidence in being able to accomplish the second.

The wolf skulked over to the bars.  It stared in at Brad and snarled.

“Now, Taylor,” Brad stuttered.  “It’s me.  Your Dad.  I love you, Son.”

The wolf roared and reached through the bars at him.   It looked at the vault door on the floor and growled in disapproval.

“Now, son, I only did that to keep you safe and protect the town.  If they had found out about you they would have killed you.  And remember how upset you were about killing that girl?”

Jean didn’t know what was going on, but she knew she was tired of being manhandled by this stranger.  This guy was a lousy tipper the day before and he had lousy manners now. Jean bit down on Tony’s hand and the man let out a scream.

The wolf backed away from the bars and slowly turned to look in the direction of the noise.  Tony knew he had given his hiding place away.  In an act of desperation he charged out from behind the counter and fired his last blast into the wolf as it ran toward him.  This time the shot hardly even registered with the beast and it crashed into the shatter proof doors with Tony in its clutches.  The glass became a crimson mosaic as the wolf tore at Tony with its massive claws and 6 inch long fangs.  His screams soon turned to gurgling and Jean watched in horror from her hiding place within the shadows of the clerks’ counter.

Brad listened desperately as the sound of the wolf’s feeding died down.  He hoped Jean was okay and that he could still keep the wolf’s attention long enough for her to get away.  As the room became silent he shook the bars furiously and shouted.

“Hey!  You still hungry you little bastard!”

The wolf grunted and turned back to Brad.  It charged over and growled at him through the bars.

“Maybe bastard was a strong word,” Brad said meekly. “Actually, your mom and I were very happy to have you.”

The wolf looked at him thoughtfully.  Brad thought he could see some recognition in its eyes.  Maybe even a calmness at the mention of Taylor’s mother.

“She so wanted to see you,” Brad said.  “I never should have taken her camping when she was seven months pregnant, but that trip was a tradition with us and we thought the camper would be fine.”

The wolf sat back on its haunches as it listened attentively to Brad’s voice.  As the man spoke his voice became more steady.  More calm.  More soothing.  He noticed the effect on the wolf and so continued the story.

“We were having a good time.  Fishing and telling stories around the campfire.  We named you on that trip.”
The wolf let out a low sigh.

Jack couldn’t believe what he was hearing.  He wondered if he could make a move to get to Jean and try to sneak her out.  He had only met her the once, but he felt responsible to protect her somehow.  It was an unusual trait for a crook to be gallant, but he always had been.  His first arrest as a kid was because he had stopped to hold a door for an old woman when he should have been running from the security guards who worked for the store he had just liberated of several cassette tapes.

The wolf had laid down on its stomach by this point and the story of the trip was flowing so naturally from Brad by now that he wasn’t thinking about what he was saying.

“It was such a peaceful area,” he went on, “which is why it was such a surprise when that wolf attacked your mother.”

The beast’s ears perked up.

“ I drove her to the nearest hospital, but it was 30 minutes away from the campsite. The shock put her into labor and they managed to save you, but your mother died before you ever got to know her.”

The wolf sat up and let out a pain ridden howl.  A tear came to Jean’s eye as she heard the sound from her dark corner.

“It wasn’t until you became a man that we found out the bite had somehow transferred this curse to you.  Made you, this.”

Brad began to cry and the wolf howled again in agony, but it wasn’t long before Brad, Jack and Jean realized that Brad had gone too far with the story.  It took only a few seconds for the sobs of pain from the wolf to become grunts and then growls.  In moments, human sadness had turned into animal rage.  The beast looked up and his eyes locked with Brad’s.  Inside, what was left of Taylor, blamed this man for killing his mother and putting this curse on him.  The mind of the Beast saw only food and an enemy.  Both lashed out.

In an instant the wolf was on its feet and it crashed through the iron bars as if they had never been there.

With his last breath Brad shouted, “Jean, run!”  He fell silent as the monster that was once his son ripped his still beating heart from his chest.

The wolf hovered over his body for a moment.  It sniffed his still body and stared into his blank, lifeless eyes.  The next howl it let out almost sounded like remorse.

Jack sat crouched behind the desk.  Silent.  He knew that if the creature cared to try it could find him easily, but he hoped that all the feeding, rage and emotion had left it exhausted.  Maybe it would sleep until morning.  Maybe he and Jean could just hide out until the beast turned back into a scared young man and he could worry about the police later.  His hopes were shattered when he heard the beep of the card reader.

The wolf slowly turned its attention back to the lobby.  It left Brad’s body and slowly loped into the center of the bank.  It let out a terrible howl just as Jean made it into the foyer.  The wolf charged into the shatter resistant doors and they shook under its assault.  Jean screamed.  She tried the outer door, but to no avail.  It was locked and only the keycard or a buzz from inside could let her out.  She looked at the floor just inside of the bank, and to her terror, she saw that she had dropped her card there.  She screamed again as the wolf pounded on the doors.  The thick, specially treated glass, began to crack.

“Why doesn’t she just leave?” Jack whispered to himself.

Cautiously he lifted his head above the desk.  He could see Jean struggling with the door and then he noticed the dropped card on the floor at the wolf’s feet.  His mind raced as he tried to figure out how to help the woman.  Even if he could get to the card he wouldn’t have time to get the code from her before the wolf made a meal of him.  Maybe he could find the buzzer, but would there be a key he would need to make it work?  He couldn’t even think of a scenario where sacrificing himself, which he really didn’t want to do, would help her.

His eyes scanned the room for a weapon.  Something that could be effective against that Monstrosity that nearly crushed the framework of the security doors.  Then he saw it.  The briefcase!   Brad had so desperately wanted that briefcase.  It must have something that could help.

Jack leapt over the desk and made a desperate charge for the leather satchel that sat just a few yards away.  The wolf heard the movement and immediately turned on him.  He ducked its grasping arms and rolled toward his target.  Jean watched in disbelief as he snatched up the brief case.  The wolf, having missed Jack, crashed into some chairs and was thrown into a tumbling mess from the inertia behind its attack.

Jack rummaged through the briefcase and his hand settled on a letter opener.  He pulled the small, shining blade from within the leather bag.  He looked back into the bag in disbelief.

A growl got his attention and he looked up just in time to see a half dozen  chairs fly through the air and burst against the walls. One flew just inches over his ducked head.  Jack dropped the briefcase and examined the letter opener.  Etched in the handle he could just make out the words: “Sterling Silver”.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” he said to himself.

The wolf left him little time to think about it.  The Monster charged at him again and this time Jack met the attack with a charge of his own.  He clutched the letter opener in his right hand and then, just as he was about to collide with the wolf, he dropped to his knees and thrust the small weapon up into the center of its furry chest.  He felt the blade sink deep within the monster’s chest.  His whole body twisted as the force of the creature’s charge carried it over his head and wrenched his arm from the socket.

Jack cried out in pain.  He watched as the huge mass of fur tumbled into the shattered doors.  Jean screamed as the wolf’s body crashed through the remaining glass and came to a standstill at her feet.

Jack struggled to get to his feet.  He limped to Jean’s side and took her hand.

“Is it dead?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” Jack replied honestly.

Then the two of them watched as the giant body of the wolf shrunk into the beaten, battered body of young Taylor.

Jack looked around at the mess.  “I can’t be here when the police come.”  He looked at Jean hopefully.  “Will you give me a head start?  You’ve got to believe I never wanted any of this.”

“Just your retirement fund?” she said as she pointed to the bills bursting from his pockets and waistband.

Jack smiled meekly.  “I can leave the money.” He began to reach into his pocket.  Jean put her hand on his.

“I’ve got a better idea,” she said with a smile.

He smiled at her hopefully.

“I’ve been wanting to retire myself,” she said

“I don’t know there’s enough here for that,” Jack said honestly.  “But it might be enough to buy into a nice bar a buddy of mine owns in Mexico.’

“Perfect,” Jean said.

She picked up her keycard and opened the outer doors.  The two of them headed for the Torino.  Jean noticed a cut on Jack’s arm as he held the door open for her.

“You’re hurt,” she said with some sympathy.

“I think I caught some glass when that thing tackled me,” Jack said.

“But you weren’t anywhere near the glass,” Jean observed.

“I’ll stop at a Pharmacy and get some antibiotic ointment if it will make you feel better,” Jack joked.

He walked around and got into the car.  He started it and as they drove off he said, “I’m famished.  Anyplace around here serve a really rare burger?”

By Jason L. Liquori
Cornered Sky
The aerial werewolf
killing team blasted
away as the monster
fur flashed to cave, so
the group rappelled,
but were slow afoot
like zombie skincare
collection scavengers,
soon ripped-n-running
bloody and no bone bit
extractors, rib spreader,
retractors or prosthetic
facial implants would
ever pass through the
shredded meat cave
curtains to serve or
suture the undead
By David Pointer

A Place for Monsters

The children wait outside my home. They wait for me to burst out of my door with a roar and a growl, and let them prove who is the bravest. Who can withstand the wolf-man’s howl the longest, risk a bite. I can hear them laughing, I can hear their little mumbled speakings.

“Just wait. Come on, don’t go. Just wait,” I hear, looking out through my living room blonds. I comb my hair back — a joke my mother used to tell — parting my hair began at my big toe and went “up and all ’round,” ended at my heel.

Sometimes, I think it would be funny for them if  I opened the door chewing on a dog toy. I think they would laugh: squeak squeak squeak.

I sneak up to the door so they can’t hear the floorboards creak and turn the knob with a sudden pow! “Roooooooo-ar!” Pull up my lip and bare my fangs, chasing them down the walkway.


“Run, run!” They laugh as they scatter, “He’ll bite-cha!”

The newspaper is down at the curb. I stroll down to the end of the front lawn and pick it up. The newspaper delivery man won’t come any closer to my front door. These children are braver than him.

I am Peter. I am Peter and the Wolf. The last child of six and only son. My mother was free with her love; my sisters and I all had different fathers. You ask, where did my father go? “To the dogs,” my mother would answer and laugh, run her hands through my hair, her fingertips beginning at my nose, running up and over my head, making a fist at the nape of my neck and pulling a little. That was love.

She is gone now and I, her puppy, wait to find someone who will pet me. Offer me a treat.

I make my living during seven days each year at the state fair. I am a werewolf. I rent a large tent, some chairs, though by attendance my shows become “standing-room” only. I have heard, in modern society, there is no longer any room for monsters such as me, for freak shows and the like. I have heard you have become too evolved for such displays.

Yet, the people still come. Hundreds every day come and speak as though I can’t hear them, “It’s exploitation,” they say from the front row, “They shouldn’t be treating him like this.”

They. There is no “they.” There is only me.

“Come see the last great monster, the half-man, half-beast: WEREWOLF!” They read the sign and snicker… But they still come.

Other than that, I stay at home. Condition my hair. All my hair. It is long and thick everywhere. I stopped trimming it at twenty. It seemed to stop getting any longer at thirty.

Why cut it? There is no man under this monster. There is no one here but me.

I board the bus to the fairgrounds. I am aware my appearance is a problem for others. Hypertrichosis. Long ago, they said people like me were born after their fathers were mauled by wolves. I wouldn’t know. This could be true in my case.

I take a seat next to a young lady in a green coat. She looks at me once out of the corner of her eye — I can see, sharply, the rapid blue sliver of her iris — and then she looks again, for an amount of time most measurable to my heartbeats. She looks so pink, so unprotected.

I can only imagine how she sees me. A hairball with teeth.

She forcefully roots her eyes back to her book, and I stare at her, I can’t being myself to tear my eyes away although I know I should. I will make her uncomfortable, I just know it. I raise my hands up, the long fingernails I’ve been tending — my monster’s claws — scraping a line across my eyebrows to part my hair.

“What are you reading?”

Her whole frame jerks, pushing her book up into her neck. I can see the cover is pink and reflective, “Nothing, nothing,” she stammers, turning her shoulders to face me.

“You can’t read nothing,” I joke.

“It’s… It’s just a romance novel. You know, trash, basically. I mean, sort of. I love them but my mother’s always telling me they’re poisoning my… My uh… concept of relationships, I guess, but since I’m twenty-five and I don’t have kids yet she thinks I’m pretty much corrupted already, you know…” her words come out in one long rush, eyes closed. She ends by laughing, tittering. She has a small set of yellowish teeth.

“I don’t very often read books like that.”

She smiles slightly, the corner of her mouth twitching. “Where’re you off to?”

“The fairgrounds.”

“Oh,” she makes a face like this is the funniest thing she’s ever heard, “Off to have some fun?”

“No. I work there.”

“Like what?” She is laughing inside. I can smell it. “A guard? A janitor? Someone who makes sure everybody’s this height to ride the rides?”

“No. No, you might say I qualify as a ride.” I watch her frown and back away a little further, “I’m in a show. I have this little thing I do. A werewolf show.”

Her eyebrows narrow, both of her eyes constricting to a dark point in the center of her face. She reaches up behind her and I watch her hand flail for the pull cord that will stop the bus. “Isn’t… Isn’t that awfully embarrassing?”

“I don’t see it that way.”

She gets her hand around the cord and yanks hard, “Well, I would think so. If it were me.”

Everything is so clear to me. The pull of beads of sweat on her skin, the crossing lines and planes dancing within her face. I wonder if you’re capable of seeing yourselves the way I do: so clear, so naked. So defenseless.

I have a little space all to myself behind the stage to begin my transformation. I fill a large paint bucket with lard, vegetable oil, cow’s blood and fine dirt, mix it with a wooden spoon, like a witch’s horrific potion. Like the stew my mother used to make. I used to add a little food coloring to keep the red bright and raw, but it obscured the gritty color of the dirt, the true, brownish watery tints of blood, the clear, mucous-like consistency of the half-melted lard.

After awhile, I stopped adding the fake red. The real color of blood, the smell, the sight of it; is more frightening than an imitation. I know. I am a connoisseur of blood and an expert at magic.

Applying the elixir to every available inch of my body, I put on my tattered pants, remove my shoes and comb the long hair on each of my feet. I rub my feet in dirt and water, force the grime beneath my claws. Over time, flies will crawl all over me and the whole mixture will run, clot, stink.

A loud cacophony of voices is everywhere around me, and I can hear the things they barely say, like a language I should never care to learn: “Tickets to the ferris wheel cost how fucking much? That’s just fucking stupid. And the Tilt-A-Whirl?” “Where did Amy leave her sandals? Are they back in the car?”

I can hear the things you barely say, and your words press into the sides of my head like many forceful blows… I wish you’d just be quiet. Really quiet so I could actually hear you…

A feel a face enter the room behind me, “Pete? Almost ready?”

“Yes, Harry. Almost.” For two-hundred dollars a day — a small amount compared to the total take —  Harry is my master, my keeper, the warlock that tamed the wolf. He leaves the back room, and as soon as his back is turned, I stretch my hand out after him, flexing my claws. I am assailed by a sudden sadness… I wouldn’t know what normal people feel like, I wouldn’t know the texture of you under my palms. I think of the girl on the bus…

I can hear Harry re-enter the back room and approach me from behind. Suddenly, he’s working to wrap a collar and leash around my neck, “Almost time, Pete. You ready?”

I adjust the collar, “Just don’t pull so hard this time.”

He shrugs and pulls back the curtain.

“Ladies and gentlemen! I, Dr. Harold Grossman, have searched the jungles of South America, the savannah of Africa, the wild and inhospitable heights of Kilimanjaro and the cold wastelands of Siberia to bring you the last great wonder of the world!

Television, movies, books… Are rife with outright lies and half-truths! It’s a consolation we tell our children as well-meaning  parents and custodians: there is no such thing as monsters! Of course we do! What more can you know but what you see with your own eyes? We even come to believe it! But let me tell you, ladies and gentlemen, monsters are very much real,” Harry bends down to face the front row, swooping his cragged face only inches away from the audience, “and I have searched the world far and wide to prove it.”

“Ladies and gentlemen,” I can hear the crowd groan and snicker, “May I present the last… living… werewolf.

This is my cue.

Harry pulls the leash once, a little tug, and then quite harshly, snapping my head back. I swallow as forcefully as I can and rush out onto the stage with a bellowing scream.

I am six feet, seven inches tall. I smell like death. I am muscle and blood. The audience rears back, shocked at my size, the rank smell of blood in my fists. They rise from their seats with a collective scream, “What the fuck is that?” I hear, all I can hear.

I attempt to rush off of the stage and Harry yanks me back, “Now, ladies and gentlemen, there’s nothing to worry about. He’s quite domesticated, you see. All you have to do is offer him a treat, and he’ll behave.”

I howl again and the audience can not help but react. I don’t think they were expecting to really see a werewolf. They never do. This thought almost makes me laugh, but that would be out of character. They scream, I can hear their hysterical fear masked as laughter…

Harry throws a chicken bone at me and I catch it in my mouth, crack it with my teeth, biting my lip and drooling blood.

The crowd roars as I push a bubble of blood out from between my lips, gargling red spheres that burst all over the stage. I am willing to go the extra mile to please.

The children in the back clap their hands and laugh. They enjoy their own need to scream. I am a professional monster and children love me. They are the only ones who look me in the eye.

I think they would like to believe I am real, then anything would be possible. Children understand that for their beloved heroes to live, for there to be happy endings, for their dreams to come true, there must also be a place for monsters.

By Samantha Ducas