Date Night

The rock connected.

Stone to cranium,

you can’t fight force.

The guy with

his pants around his ankles


into a puddle

of piss and rainwater,

dead rats

floating like papier mache boats.

He’s bleeding

and crying,

maybe swearing,

can’t understand him.

The girl

with the torn dress

stopped screaming


she’s looking at me

with the same broken eyes

like I’m just

his replacement.

That offends me.

I tell her

to go

and she runs off.

Stupid bitch,

I’m going to fuck someone

but its not her.

By Christopher Hivner


Menstrual red
spattered about the bed.
White as cocaine,
she poses attractively stiff.
Exploring gray veins,
bulging on her firm breasts,
I scrape my tongue slowly
across frigidly hardened skin—
seeking relief in the depth
of the most amoral sin.
Fingering the jagged gash
across her gelid throat,
I dispense the warm,
liquid life of me
into the cold, still waters
of her ovarian sea.
Unrested on a crimson grave,
for how long beautifully intact
will she remain?

By William Andre Sanders

A Wake Time Tale

If waking to find a decaying bird on the corner of your bed isn’t a bad omen, it should be.
Just how it came to be precariously balancing on Robert’s quilted bedspread this snowy
December morning is unknown. It is a dead bird and it has been dead for quite a while.

He would have let out a shriek, however the shock sucked all the breath from his lungs. He would have woken his girlfriend, but her throat is missing, and the flesh on her face is mutilated, causing her jaw to drop down – way down – opening her mouth wide. What is left of her skin and bones are glued to the remains of her spinal cord by drying blood.

Fumbling from the sheets, he tumbles out of bed face first onto the floor. The initial pain is excruciating: he is sure he had broken a toe or maybe an ankle. Then he opens his eyes. He is lying sprawled in her disemboweled stomach, oozing with last night’s dinner and her small intestine coiled around. Pushing himself up, he realizes he has slipped on her large intestine which had been carefully draped from headboard to footboard like bunting, just touching the floor.

He scrambles, slipping and sliding across the floor, tripping on her liver, then her spleen, trying to escape the souvenirs of death until he crashes headlong into a wall. There, wedged in a corner, curled up in a ball like a fetus, his knees tucked close to his cheekbones, he wails and screams for his mother, his father, or anyone else who might hear.

His bare feet are cut, bruised and cold. His breathing outpaces his heartbeat. No level of logic or reason runs through his thoughts; his synapses are firing erratically and he knows very well that he is not dreaming. His screams gradually cease. Heartbeats now pound through his brain, as Robert melts into a catatonic trance.

Daylight is struggling to overtake the night, and begins to bleed through the curtains. Slender, focused rays search the contours of the room. They spotlight the once dripping blood, now coagulated under the dangling left arm of Robert’s girlfriend. This is where the blood from her throat traveled – down her shoulder, trickling down her arm and tap, tap, tap from her fingertips onto the wood floor.

With the exception of the man wedged in the corner, the room is undisturbed. In time, there is a knock at the bedroom door: curious since Robert lives alone. His girlfriend only spends three to four nights a week, depending upon the demands of her job. The knocking persists: one rap, two raps, never three, with neither cadence nor insistence.

Whether Robert actually hears the knocking is not known, but after a few minutes it stops. Blood oozes from under the bottom of the door, spreading into the room within a couple of feet from the fetal man.

Slowly, elegantly the red fluid rises in a slender and tall column, shifting and shaping, reaching and stretching, to form a man. A man made of blood that continually flows and swirls from the top of his head to the pool below and back. Two large, blazing white eyes fix upon the fetal sole. Robert’s head is lifted upward to face this being by a force not his own, so that he cannot help but stare into those eyes. He presses his own palms into his own eyes, but he never loses sight of those white eyes – white eyes that never blink or move, that do not have pupils, that just blaze through his hands into his brain.

Slowly, a mouth forms below the eyes and even slower a blood arm emerges from the front of the body, reaching for Robert’s gaping mouth and falling tears. There, in its hand, it holds a beating heart.

“She said this belongs to you.”

By Joseph J. Patchen

Killer’s Keepers, Losers Dead

Lapping at a pool of blood
on all fours
like a dog,
I smell
a strange scent.
Raising my head
I feel
my watcher
and when I turn
he bares
black fangs.
I straddle the corpse
of my kill,
ready to defend her
from one more
too weak
to find
his own victims.
The smell of blood
lures them
from their
starvation comas
and they think
they can steal from me.
I finger my necklace,
my trophies,
six sets of
discolored fangs,
other would-be thieves.
I may be human
and mortal
but my girls
stay with me.

By Christopher Hivner

What is Love?

It was a noisome club, with stuffed-shirts loitering around holding beers and peering at women, but the soundtrack was Chopin’s “Nocturne in b-flat.” Nobody could hear it, nobody but Melanie. Memory plays louder than any stereo.
Cara approached Melanie, with fresh drinks. Cara told Melanie that Stan and Mike wanted to go somewhere else. Melanie asked why Cara was getting new drinks, Cara said that Stan was buying some candy-cane outside. Melanie sipped her drink, Cara swigged.
‘Roses don’t even grow on that kind of soil,’ Melanie said, and Cara told her to stop thinking about it. They went outside. Stan was grinning and Mike wiped his nose, said it was good stuff. Cara did some off the back of his hand.
Stan offered his jacket to Melanie, her teeth were chattering. She said she didn’t need it but he said two lines kept him plenty warm, somebody might as well take his jacket. She pulled it around herself. A breeze from Lake Michigan made the arms blow up and flap around. Her shadow looked like a monster from a bad movie.
Stan commented that Melanie seemed a little distracted. ‘There’s this rose bush,’ Melanie said, ‘it keeps cropping up on the grave of someone who used to be in my life. I’ve gotten them to tear it out twice now, but…I don’t know who could keep planting it.’
‘Who used to be in your life?’ Stan said. Melanie told him it was her husband, and Stan said she looked too young to be a widow.
‘He wasn’t sick or anything,’ Melanie said, ‘it was a suicide. It’s okay, it’s not hard for me to talk about. I mean, it’s not easy, either. But we just got married too young. We didn’t have much in common. If he ever wanted to go out, ever wanted to put his books down, it was to the opera, not to a club. That kind of thing.’
‘So he was gay?’ Stan said.
Melanie sighed. ‘Did I say that?’ Stan tried to apologize but Melanie cut him off, told him to forget about it. She looked at him and smiled, said she was having a good time, but she wiped away the bleeding mascara from underneath her eyes. Her hair flew up with the wind. Up ahead, Mike was giving Cara a piggyback. Behind Melanie, something stepped out of the shadowed lower-level doorway of a brick terraced house.
A desiccated skeleton, wearing a grey suit with a red tie, was walking towards them. Stan grabbed Melanie. She wasn’t screaming. Stan wished she would scream, he couldn’t find the strength in his own voice. There was a small jagged hole in its right temple. It held out its hand, and nestled in the bones was one long stemmed rose. Melanie moved toward it. Stan tried to hold on to her but she slipped out of his jacket.
Melanie took the rose. The skeleton brushed her face with those sharp, thin fingers. It turned and walked down the stairs, into the darkened doorway, and Melanie ran to follow. Stan rushed after her.
When Mike and Cara found Stan, he was shouting Melanie’s name, beating his fists against the bricked-up doorway of the terraced house.

By Neil Ballard

Merry Christmas, Anya

She took a drag of his cigarette before snapping his neck. He lay there lifeless as a dead bird that had plunged head first into a glass window. “Sucks to be you,” Anya mused aloud looking down at his broken form. She was naked, and her ivory skin was streaked in mud from the back alley where she was now standing. The man was a known murderer for the Polish mob. The only people who would miss him were the scum that paid for his services. There might be a short hunt for his killer by both the police and Pols but they wouldn’t find anything except a smoked cigarette and his body. The police would assume it was a mob hit, and the mob would probably think it was a revenge scheme. Of course both of them would be wrong. Anya stepped out the cigarette with her bare foot and looked up at the shinning luminescence of mother moon and let out a piercing howl as she melted from woman to wolf. She looked back once more at her kill and sprinted into the darkness.

When Anya first became an assassin for the North East chapter of the pack she didn’t know if she’d have the stomach for it. As the months went by she discovered it was exceedingly easy to take out her assigned kills, so easy that she almost relished it. The targets were humans who, in some way, threatened pack territory or exposure of the pack itself. There were also hits like the Polish man in the alley, a key player in a blood thirsty organization who had over stepped their bounds and killed a werewolf. Usually in cases like those the victim didn’t even know they’d snuffed out the life of a supernatural, they just thought they shot a wolf or killed a regular human. Anya’s Pol had invaded the home of a wolf family and shot all of them in the head before taking a breath. Mother, father, and two children had splattered meatball brains painting the walls of their New York town house. Apparently the Polish mafia got it into their minds that the father was working with the feds to build a case against the mob boss. They didn’t know that the family were situated werewolves living a peaceful life in the city and therefore would never entangle themselves in human affairs. That was a big mistake, because now Anya was coming for all of them, and she was going to huff and puff with her Desert Eagle .50 and eat the heart of the bastard who ordered the hit, while he watched.

She loved the run after a kill, even if she didn’t get to rip his throat out like she’d wanted. The situation had called for some improvisation, such as the element of the unexpected. When he trained the gun on her as a wolf he had too clean a shot and she would have been seriously wounded, that was why she transformed quickly into human form and caught him off guard. His face twisted in disbelief as he watched her shape form breasts and the head of a beautiful woman with flowing honey hair. He dropped his gun and Anya pounced on him, pinning him to the ground, giving her the chance for the killing move. She hated killing in human form, it wasn’t nearly as enjoyable.

Anya raced through the glittering white of fresh powder, illuminated by shop windows in a festive red and green glow. She ducked under finely decorated lamp posts wrapped in fake pine boughs dotted with lights to the fire escape of her overpriced Manhattan loft. Morphing into her womanly body, Anya leapt up to pull down the icy ladder. She quickly climbed the iron rungs hoping no one looked out their window at that particular moment to see a nude girl scaling their building. The window was open a crack and she lifted it to a small wood floor room. The apartment was bare except for a blanket, mattress, and one ratty suitcase that looked like it was from the 1970s. Anya never stayed in one place too long; it was easier to keep possessions to a minimum. She pulled on a pair of tight black pants and a form fitting black sweater, then she slipped a black ski mask over her head and rolled it up into a hat to let her face breathe. There were several friends she planned on inviting to the Polish Christmas party with her: two butterfly blades, four extra clips, Desert Eagle, taser, piano wire, and a partridge in a pear tree. Werewolf or not Anya was infiltrating the Polish mafia’s crime den on a night when everyone and their mum was packing heat; she was going to have to play with her food a little.

The chill of the city whipped through the streets in wind tunnel fashion, penetrating her clothes and biting the soft skin underneath. She raced to the subway and jumped the turnstile just as the A that would take her to Penn Station chimed to pull away. The subway car was not crowded, but there were three homeless men passed out in various positions, trying to keep warm on a cold New York night. Their dirt etched faces hardly winced as she’d leapt through the doors at the last second before they closed on her. She was glad she hadn’t had to wedge her hand in the closing train entrance and use the superhuman strength she had to pull them apart. Even if the vagrants were unaffected by her, she was sure someone would notice that.

In the last few stops no one new stepped on to ride the electric rails of the A train, but as it pulled to a stop at 23rd street the doors opened to reveal a very lupine scent which sent Anya reeling into attack mode. Her boot connected squarely with the jaw of a tall brick of a man, whose muscular frame hardly flinched with her blow. His rust colored hair and sharp green eyes glared loudly at her as he grabbed her leg and threw her into a submissive position.
“I see you’ve missed me Anya,” Alexi said in a strong throaty growl.
“What the fuck are you doing here Alex,” Anya spat back at him.
“What the fuck do you think I’m doing here? The pack sanctioned a hit on the Polish mob boss of Long Island and they don’t want you screwing it up with any of your personal bullshit.”
“Oh so they decided to send my ex-boyfriend to take care of me, that seems like some pretty personal bullshit to me.”
“Don’t be a smart ass Anya, you knew I was in the city, it was an easy choice to send me.”
“So this is a personal favor? How sweet. Did that cunt of a she-wolf Lila make the call? Are you still licking her feet like a good lap dog?”

Alexi’s fist punched Anya hard in the shoulder, knocking the wind out of her as he moved to let her up. She took the opportunity to send her foot right through his chest driving the breath out of him as he fell backwards. The homeless men had all crowded together at the back of the car, watching as the two werewolves scrapped like a couple of strays after a juicy bone. The train pulled into Penn Station and Anya pushed Alex out of the way to jump on the platform. She hit the ground running and made a mad dash for the LIRR. Alex followed in hot pursuit, breathing heavy with anger just a step or two behind her. All the spectators saw was a blonde black blur followed closely by a rust black one, weaving in and out of throngs of passersby.
“Anya! Stop already!”
“What’s wrong Alex? Can’t keep up? I knew that bitch was making you soft,” Anya gloated as she wound through groups of Christmas shoppers carrying over-sized bags of presents.
“I’m not even with Lila anymore and you need my goddamn help with this,” Alex shouted and reached out grabbing Anya’s strong arm tightly, pulling her resistant body close to his.
“Let me go, you bastard,” Anya shouted, tugging hard away from him.
“NO! Not until you stop being a goddamn child and let me help you with this!”
“RAPE!” Anya screamed at the top of her lungs drawing the attention of several hefty looking men who, at seeing pretty blonde Anya in the hard grasp of towering Alexi, began making a move to help her.
“She’s just kidding,” Alex yelled. “This is my sister; she’s not too right in the head sometimes!”
“You jack ass!” Anya seethed trying to twist her way out of his grip. The men stopped making their way towards Alex when it became apparent that he clearly knew the girl and this quarrel was none of their business. Anya twisted in his hand, but finally gave in with a tortured sigh.
“Why are you pushing this, Alex?”
“You know why, you’re out to avenge your cousin’s death, not plant a clean hit,” he reasoned. “You’re going to get sloppy.”
“Fuck you,” Anya blazed. “I have as much a right to seek retribution for Nikki and his family’s deaths as I do to assassinate the cretin who commissioned them!”
“I’m not debating that, I’m just saying let me help you.”

With that Alexi forcefully kissed her and dragged her stunned body to the upcoming train. They sat in the back and sorted out their weapons, Alexi liked knives, big ones. He had twelve separate blades hidden on his body and a standard Glock 17. Guns weren’t his thing, but he wasn’t stupid enough not to carry one in their line of work.

The lights of the giant mansion house on West Egg were gaudy and ostentatious, just like the annoyingly posh cars that lined the 3 mile long private drive. Makes and models that weren’t even going to be released for another 4 months cluttered their path vulgarly. The mafia had no idea how to keep a low profile; one could argue that they liked to hide in the open behind their garish wealth. It made Anya’s stomach lurch. She bit her lip hard and felt the copper sting spilling over her tongue. That’s when they heard the first bark.

Alexi sprang into action and knocked Anya out of the way as a hundred pound Rottweiler barreled into him and latched its jaws around his throat. Anya transformed and took the mutt down without so much as a second blink. She hated killing the dog, but he was half crazed and dangerous, she wouldn’t let her affection for canines soften her beast. Alexi followed suit and morphed into a sleek black Alpha standing at almost 200 pounds, much larger than any average wolf. They ran at the house abandoning their weapons at the gate. Somehow this had turned from a hit into a flat out hunt.

The pair of regal loups slunk around the perimeter of the estate; two armed guards stood watch near the entrance. Lucky doubles, thought Anya, and nodded assurance at Alexi for the execution of their obvious next move. It was Alexi who struck first. He army crawled close to the well armed guard and coiled into a crouch. Within a flash of seconds they had torn out both of the men’s throats, fresh blood hot on their muzzles, the taste of death leading them to salivate heavily. Anya embraced her dark lover and nipped at his soft underbelly, they knew what was coming next and it would not be clean or silent.

The party goers crooned in their native tongue over thick vodka drinks and dense imported cigars. The children were in bed and they were free to let lavish excess pour over them. When the front door collapsed only a curious few even bothered to look up, and when body parts began piling up their fog of pleasure kept them from drawing pistols in time. One by one the wolves tore through the crowd of murderers and thieves, sucking the marrow from cracked bones and glutting themselves on internal organs. The dogs were at a feast of the wicked, only the wicked had not known they would be the main course. Everyone knows evil has a most delicious flavor.

Alexi was tangled in a fat man’s intestines, eating foot after foot when he noticed Anya was still and staring. She was eyeing a door, a door he guessed lead to her bloody vengeance and the end of their Christmas massacre. Anya slipped into human form and approached the bronze handle. She turned her beautiful stained face towards Alexi and smiled a real joyous toothy grin. It seemed she could hardly keep herself from bursting into laughter.
“Help,” she called with a newly acquired Polish accent, as she brought her fist against the heavy oak. “Help! The animals, they’ve killed everyone, let me in!”
Alexi heard a distinctive click as the locking mechanism of the door was reversed. A very bald head emerged slightly and upon seeing naked Anya covered in blood opened it entirely.
“My god girl!” he exclaimed. “Are you hurt? Where are those beasts?”
Anya smiled again, as her big pearly whites turned into pointed canines. “Right here, old man.”

She leapt at him, clawing his face, careful to keep him alive and screaming while she dug her fierce snout into his chest cavity, rooting like a pig in shit for the vital life force. When the muscle was securely pulsing in her jaws she ripped it out, and the old mob boss got to see what his insides looked like while being eaten by a wild animal.
“Merry Christmas, Anya,” Alexi whispered, now a crouching naked man marveling at the enormous wolf gorging herself on revenge.

By Emily Smith-Miller

One Too Many

She rushes at me out of the dark
naked and lovely
tattoo of a skull between her heaving breasts

I can’t touch her
turning away cursing
the skull having teeth and a flapping tongue

too much to drink I pee in my pants
running into the street I’m hit by a car
dragged underneath like a rag doll

waking in the hospital sown in stitches
the nurse  and doctor leaving my room
shaking their heads as you-know-who
licks and nibbles at my wounds.

By Stephen Jarrell Williams

He is the editor of Dead Snakes at