Blood Moon


September 19, 1948

Nights with a blood moon the baby wouldn’t sleep at all. These nights I would get up in a trance fresh out of rem sleep and creep to his room in just a night gown. The winter air would bite at the tops of my feet and when I finally reached his crib side, his eyes glistened up at me in the blood moon light. These were the only nights he threw his fits. I would cradle him in my arms and walk to the window to see how bright the moon had cast its red glare across the tops of the frozen corn stalks. Strange to me such a farm crop could sparkle like red diamonds in a blood moon light out here in the middle of nowhere, if only their value really were that of diamonds. It could get us both off of this farm forever.
“God dammit woman! If you don’t shut that thing up, I’ll come shut BOTH of you the hell up!” My eyes squeezed themselves shut expecting a belt to the head but it was just a bark this time. A bark that was much worse than his bite but it came from afar. It would take him 6 minutes to get through the hall to the staircase up the stairs down the hall and finally to the babies room depending on how many beers he had had. If he had had more, it could take even longer for him to get to me.
That “thing” was his child too. The only “thing” in this old house was that thing yelling at me. That thing that tortures me daily and that thing that has kept me trapped on this farm for far too long. Anger and alcohol had mustered up a small frame of adrenaline to get him off his ass and up the stairs to attack me and his child. Adrenaline took my hand and helped me out the window with my baby in my arms. I sat my butt on the sill and swung my legs out into the bitter cold, wincing with from the iced rooftop on my feet. I lowered my butt down on top of the slanted roof and sat down. I clutched my crying baby to my chest as hard as I could without hurting him and sat indian style and away we went. Flying like the wind down the ice-slicked slanted roof and THUD! We landed in the snow safely. The second we landed is the second I leaped to my feet and ran the opposite direction of the window. As drunk as his eyes may have been, I couldn’t let him see my trail. I ran to the road where there wouldn’t be snow tracks, given we had some small traffic that day and it hadn’t been coming down hard or for long. I ran until my feet I couldn’t feel my feet anymore and stopped myself before I collapsed in the road. I gazed in front me as the blood red moon’s incandescence glimmered around a small cabin, pumping steam out of its chimney. My baby still cried. I staggered up the driveway with violet feet.
I threw myself and my crying child into the door with dead weight and slid down it into a sitting up position, staring at the grey clouds with gleaming stars poking through them. My limp head fell back against the door causing another knock on it. A blanket of warmth covered my baby and I when the door flew open and I fell into the doorway.
“Oh my! Oh my Lord! What do we have here?! My goodness my lady get in here! Come on let’s get you…” the woman had her hands under my armpits as she pulled my limp body next to the fire. “Oh your poor child! Let me just..” my eyes opened to a slit as she shut the door on the fierce winter blast.
“Please, my baby needs food, my husband..he..has..he has been..”
“He has been beating you for the last, what? 10 years? Keeping you trapped on this farm?” The woman’s wrinkly face stared down us. As she finished my sentence my eyes were like a deer caught in a spotlight.
“How did you..” My mouth hung open.
“Know?” She asked eerily. “I’ve known young lady. I’ve been expecting you. You see your husband and I keep two homes out here in this country. We have this little cabin in case you escaped, and that big old farmhouse where we’ll be raising your son!” The last thing I felt was the knife slice across my neck. My skin filleted open and the warm blood washed over me while my baby continued to cry.
By Cristina Jones

Mr Johnson

Mr Johnson closed the front door behind himself and stepped onto the garden path, while slipping his hands into his woolen gloves.
Upon completing this little, familiar task, his eyes quickly ran a lap of his small yet neat and tidy garden, his eyes came to a stop upon the now blooming daffodils, which were housed within the otherwise empty, earthen border which clung tightly onto the four sides of his even manicured lawn.
He smiled in admiration at the perfectly formed yellow petals which framed each of the tiny orange trumpets and also at the almost too perfect, succulent green stems, he then took a deep breath of the refreshing spring air and stepped forward towards the garden gate.
As he walked along the pavement, the birds singing merrily in the hedgerow across the road distracted him from his thoughts and to show his appreciation he joined them, with an ever so slightly out of tune, whistled melody.
He gave a smile and waved his right hand as he passed by No 5, to Mrs Thomas, who had just greeted him in the same fashion from her living room, where she was patiently cleaning the inside of her windows. Mr Johnson could not help but chuckle to himself as he saw a mound of net curtains draped over her left shoulder.dr t
As he carried on up the road, he thought back to the previous Christmas, when he had been invited by the Thomas’s to call over for an hour on the Boxing Day evening. He had sat there with an ashtray gripped firmly in one hand, while a cigar-a gift from Mr Thomas-quickly smoked away its short life in his other hand. My, but he had been too scared to drop even a smidgen of ash upon Mrs Thomas’s carpet, she was after all, so very house-proud, yet what excellent company they had both been. He made a mental note to invite them both over for drinks sometime later in the week, then he stepped into the park.
The path through the park curved slightly to the left, as Mr Johnson traversed its rough, gravel surface he looked about himself.
The park was practically empty, save for a man-whom he did not recognize-and a small liver and white spaniel dog. He watched them as he walked, the man threw a pinkish ball which the spaniel ran after with abundant enthusiasm, usually catching the ball in its jaws after the fourth or fifth bounce, then with a happy trot, brought its prize proudly to its masters feet, where the energetic activity repeated itself over and over again, much to the dogs enjoyment.
Upon reaching the other side of the park, Mr Johnson crossed the slightly busy street and walked into his local newsagents.
“Good morning Mr Johnson!” called the shopkeeper as Mr Johnson approached the counter.
“Good morning to you Fred!” replied Mr Johnson with the content smile of someone meeting a favorable and constant acquaintance.
“The weather’s brightening up lovely, isn’t it?” yawned Fred as he dug under his counter for Mr Johnson’s daily paper.
“It certainly is, I think I just might go for a nice walk down by the river after lunch and feed those ever hungry ducks!” replied Mr Johnson as he pulled free his wallet from the inside pocket of his coat.
“Oh, and I’ll have 20 Woodbines, please Fred!” added Mr Johnson almost as an afterthought.
“Certainly sir!” answered Fred with a smile.
After the money and change had passed across the counter, they both wished each other a pleasant day and Mr Johnson left the shop.
He crossed the still slightly busy street and proceeded in through the gates of the park, but after four or five paces through the park gate Mr Johnson was suddenly overcome by a sneezing fit. After sneezing fifteen to twenty times, Mr Johnson decided that he had better sit down for a while to recover, so he started off towards the nearest bench, stopping every other step to once again sneeze.
He sat down upon the bench, placed an elbow on each knee, put his forehead upon his arms and let his eyes rest on the floor between his shoes.
The sneezing became more violent-not because he had sat down, for as soon as he had noticed the change, he had sat up, sat back, stood up but to no avail, so he had returned to his former position upon the bench-now some phlegm and other assorted unpleasantness started to run out of his nose.
He reached into his coat pocket for his handkerchief but was dismayed to discover that he had unfortunately neglected to bring it along.
There is nothing that I can do but sit here and wait for this annoying episode to pass, he mused miserably to himself.
There was soon quite a large puddle of slime between his shoes-which he had had to move further away from each other-and the jerking movements which the sneezing sent through him were getting more and more ferocious.
Soon his face started to ache with the strain and a tension was building at the back of his head. He was then consumed in a gigantic convulsion, his head flew up and back, then forward again, there was a painful ripping sensation in his face, followed by a slapping sound, as he this time coughed and vomited onto the floor.
He had kept his eyes closed tight during this last blast from the strange malady which had a hold of him and continued to keep them closed for a few moments longer as he tried to regain some posture.
He then realized that he had stopped sneezing, the tension at the back of his head was gone but the edges of his face-around his ears and jaw-were burning something awful, plus all the front of his face was now completely numb.
Well, at least all of that sneezing has stopped, he thought to himself as he opened his eyes. He nearly screamed, fear gripped him in a stranglehold, for there on the floor, in the middle of the puddle of mucus was a small pile of skin, flesh and blood.
Mr Johnson’s hands shot directly up to his face, where to his horror, he realized that his nose was no longer there. All that remained in its place was a long thin strip of bone, then one of his fingers brushed across his teeth, he lifted his head and felt the rest of his face with his trembling hands. His lips were also missing, along with chunks of flesh and skin from his chin and both of his cheeks. He now understood what the burning sensation around the edges of his face was, it was where the flesh had stopped falling away.
He felt like jumping up onto his feet and running, panic was soaring through his body at an intense speed such as he had never felt before, but he did not get up and run, he just sat there in the same position, staring down at the mess below him.
He could not make out any of his features within the puddle, his nose was not visible, neither were his lips, just clumps and lumps of flesh, pink and jelly like, almost like pork fat. There were also strips and patches of greyish white skin, as he watched, the blood started to run away from the pile of face flesh in trickles, through and over the many cracks and crevices in the path. It was almost as if the blood was as disgusted with the whole sickening affair as Mr Johnson was himself and was quickly leaving.
Mr Johnson was suddenly brought back to reality-from the self-consuming horror of his predicament-by a light panting sound approaching. He froze upon the bench, head lowered and thought to himself, I must not be seen like this, whatever happens, I must not be seen like this.
From his hunched up position, he soon saw the spotted muzzle of a dog approaching him directly from the front. Mr Johnson tried to say, Go Away! to the dog but he was unable to speak, he tried to force himself but the best that he could come out with was a stifled groan.
Upon hearing this the dog stopped in its tracks, did a half circle away from the bench, turned back around to face Mr Johnson, cocked its head inquisitively, then approached once more.
The dog came to a stop about two feet away from the bench, leaned forward and sniffed towards the mess at Mr Johnson’s feet, then lifted its head and started whimpering.
Mr Johnson was in complete and utter despair, he was unsure of what to do, although he quickly realized that he must somehow get rid of the dog, for what if the dog came and started lapping up his exiled face, as disgusting as the thought was, it was a strong possibility, for dogs will eat raw meat and that is exactly what Mr Johnson’s face had become.
He was getting more and more anxious, the longer the dog stayed where it was, this was his face upon the floor and no matter how hopeless any thought to a solution to his problem was, and he must still try to protect all which lay upon the floor before him. He kicked out his right foot and gave the dog a low growl, the dog paced back a few feet and stopped again, why won’t you just go away? Screamed Mr Johnson inside his mind.
“Lady, come on lady, fetch girl, good girl, go on fetch, that’s it!” hollered a voice from a distance somewhere off behind the dog.
The dog quickly disappeared, Mr Johnson reassured by the sound of distance in the man’s voice, slowly lifted his head until he could view the person whom he had just heard calling the dog. It was the same man and spaniel who Mr Johnson had observed in the park when he had first passed through on his way to the newsagents. Luckily the man was too far away to notice anything wrong at the bench, so Mr Johnson followed him and the dog with his eyes, his head still half lowered but watching all the same.
The dog and master were making their way quickly to a side entrance of the park, within the next minute or so they would have passed through it, Mr Johnson let out a sigh of relief.
He was now coming out of his state of shock, his face-or lack of it-was still numb but he was slowly becoming aware of the everyday sounds around him. He could hear the birds singing and chirping in the trees which were dotted around the park and he could also hear the traffic driving along the street off to his right.
I must try and do something, he thought to himself at last, I must somehow get medical help, he no longer wanted to remain unseen by passers-by, so he raised his head, straightened his back and looked about himself.
He could see no one in the park, the dog and master had by now completely disappeared through the park gate, he knew from his attempt at shouting at the dog that his voice was not working properly, so he quickly ruled out the possibility of calling for help to the near by street. He thought of waving his arms to attract attention to himself but refrained from using such drastic gesturing on account of the fact that the people who were walking to and fro along the street seemed to take no interest in looking into the park.
He sat there hopeless, he did not want to just get up and walk away from the bench, for he did not want to leave the small pile of facial debris unattended because another dog could come along and besides he could see some carrion crows in a distant horse chestnut tree. He could not let the mess upon the floor be tampered with until he found out whether any of it could be saved and somehow put back onto his face.
He shuddered as thoughts of the crows pecking at the puddle flew through his mind, he blinked his eyes several times and cringed until the unpleasant visions had finally disappeared.
He glanced down at his trousers, which were covered in blood, although they merely looked wet because they were of a dark colour to begin with. He reached his left hand up to his face again, it was still numb but there was no blood flowing, it was in fact soaked in blood yet it was not spurting out as it had been when the incident had first happened.
Just then he heard footsteps approaching him along the path to the left, he quickly glanced in that direction and saw a figure, at a short distance, coming towards him.
He recognized the figure and heaved a sigh of relief, it was Mrs Trump, the old midwife who lived a couple of doors away from his own house, no doubt she was on her way to the newsagents to collect her daily newspaper and to play those scratch cards which she was so fond of.
He immediately felt a rush of relief run through him, for Mrs Trump had been a midwife, she must surely be used to seeing blood and other messy bits, in fact Mr Johnson reasoned to himself-while waiting eagerly for her to draw nearer-that his case would in all possibility not even shock her very much, after all she must have seen far worse things in her time than what he was about to present her with.
A tear ran from one of his eyes, he would be saved, Mrs Trump would go and call for medical help, then return and do what she could for him, while they both waited for the ambulance to arrive.
When Mrs Trump had approached to about ten feet away, Mr Johnson stood up and took a step towards her, while holding both of his arms out before him, imploringly.
She stopped dead in her tracks for a moment, then advanced forwards with a noticeable uncertainty to her walk. When she was within about four or five paces from Mr Johnson she once again stood still but this time it had nothing to do with uncertainty, this time she looked afraid.
She dropped her handbag and flung both hands up to the left side of her chest, the color quickly left her face and she was sweating profusely while making strange choking and gurgling sounds.
Mr Johnson approached her just at the same moment as she dropped heavily onto her knees and rolled over onto her side. What on earth is going on, thought Mr Johnson to himself, he had expected the meeting to start off on a dramatic note but he had not been prepared for this.
Then it suddenly dawned upon him, Mrs Trump had retired from midwifery early because of heart problems, she must be having a heart attack he realized in disbelief.
He wanted to do something for her but he just couldn’t think of what to do, he ran back and fore from Mrs Trump to the bench several times trying to form a logical solution to this predicament, yet he could not, the longer he stayed here the more terrified he became. He stopped once more by Mrs Trump’s motionless body and saw that she had now stopped breathing, poor old Mrs Trump, he could now no longer do anything for her even if he were capable.
Every instinct in his body was screaming for him to flee, no good could come of him staying here, for the next person to walk through the park would discover Mrs Trump’s body and raise the alarm. When the people came running and saw Mrs Trump and then Mr Johnson’s face they would simply not understand what had happened and Mr Johnson could not possibly explain to them, for the bottom half of his face had fallen off and he could not speak.
He decided that the only sensible thing that he could do would be to try and get home, so he ran back to the bench, took the newspaper from his pocket and opened it to the middle pages. He laid the newspaper down upon the path a few inches away from the pile of slimy flesh and with his gloved fingers started to shovel the mess onto the paper. He had to stop on a few occasions because when he stuck his fingers into the bloody pile steam rose up out of its depth and wafted into his eyes and mouth, the taste which came with it was horrendous and each time his hand made contact with the flesh he felt his stomach rise up to his throat.
Eventually he completed his task, all that could be seen upon the floor was blood, puss and phlegm. He carefully wrapped up the slightly warm parcel and put it into his coat pocket, he gave a last glance at Mrs Trump’s prostrate body and then set off in the same direction that she had appeared from.
He traveled at an unsteady jog, although he kept straying to the right and had to keep turning back onto the path, he looked a bit like a drunk running to catch the off-license before it closed. His eyes scanned from left to right as he travelled in this uncertain fashion, looking for any signs of movement up ahead, he saw none, luckily no one had entered the park since Mrs Trump.
He could now see the park gate up ahead and as he pushed towards it he started to feel little tingles in his jaw. It would seem that the numbness which had been holding his face captive was slowly releasing its grip upon the prisoner. He panicked even more, for he knew that if he did not receive medical help soon all feeling would return to his face and he would be able to do nothing but roll around in agony.
At last he reached the park gate and grabbed violently onto the flaking black paint, which lay apathetically upon its cold metal, he waited until his breathing had slowed down, then walked through the gates and turned right towards his road.
He kept his head lowered as he walked, with his hands held above his eyes, as if he were trying to view something from afar. Every time that a vehicle drove past, he turned to his side, away from the road, and pretended to look about on the floor for something lost. Within a couple of minutes he had reached the first house in his row, he was nearly home, just ten houses to pass by and then he would be safe. To him each house was a dreadful event waiting to happen, when each house was behind him he whispered Amen inside his head.
As he passed by No 8 he could not believe his luck, there were no people walking upon the road and only three cars had passed him.
Unfortunately for Mr Johnson, his luck took a turn for the worse as he passed by No 6 and approached No 5, for there stood Mrs Thomas. She had obviously just finished cleaning the outside of her downstairs windows and was folding up a small aluminium stepladder.
“Hello, again Mr Johnson!” she called half over one shoulder as she turned to face him properly.
There was a scream, followed by a metal clattering sound as she dropped the stepladder.
Mr Johnson did not pause for a moment but rushed with more speed until he was at last at his own garden gate, he pushed himself through it, leaving it to swing as it wished behind him.
He pulled out his keys as he raced up the garden path, stumbling off and treading onto the daffodils as he went.
He reached the front door, put his key into the lock, pushed and opened the door in one swoop, pulled his keys free and slammed the door behind himself.
He entered the living room and went to the easy chair by the window, pulled the now soaking wet newspaper parcel from his pocket and placed it carefully upon the windowsill next to the telephone.
He ripped off his coat clumsily and flung it down upon the carpet, picked up the telephone handset, placed it down upon the windowsill next to the parcel and dialed 999.
He then sat down upon the easy chair to wait, he knew that the operator would send someone straight out to investigate even if he did not speak, for it was the emergency number and it was their policy.
As Mr Johnson sat in the easy chair, looking out of the window onto the road, he saw a crowd of spectators gathering by his garden wall. Mrs Thomas was right at the front of this gathering, pointing at Mr Johnson’s house and yelling hysterically for some of the people-some of which were fellow neighbors-to go and break down his door.
Luckily before Mrs Thomas’s request could be carried out, there came the sound of sirens and soon one police car followed by an ambulance pulled up outside the house.
As Mr Johnson sat in his easy chair, watching the police and ambulance men exit their vehicles, he made a mental note not to invite the Thomas’s over for drinks after all, then silently and at last, almost peacefully, Mr Johnson fell unconscious.

By Paul Tristram

The Closet

My Frankenstein night light glows
feebly from across the room;
closetnot enough, not nearly enough
to hold it back.

My mother is a fool.

Enfolded in white linen sheets,
I’m tucked into a darkness that
smothers me tighter than this
mere covering ever could.

He will come as he comes every night I tell her.

Mother fears for me; for she sees
the look in my face as I describe
what it looks like when it comes to visit.

Ruby red eyes set in a sunken hallowed form.
Slim slit of a smile cutting a grin
in leathery skin of the blackest cast.

Its jagged nails caress
the door frame of my closet from within.

It wants in.
It beckons me over from my bed.
It cajoles with its scratching;
like a morse code of bleakness and remorse.

It simply wants…a friend.
The journey has been long in its travels
through the night just to arrive at my closet door.

All good children deserve its visit…
All good children should taste of its
delicious fear it instills.

I open the door to my closet and greet my nighttime
friend with my own devilish grin.

It has only been a day, but their taste
has already passed from my lips and tongue.

I find I want more,
the more I travel the dark ways with him,
for I have come accustomed to the taste of
all the good little children.

By Philip Wardlow

Never Reject a Warlock





JASON (early-20s), dressed in typical goth fashion, sits at a desk reading a TABLET COMPUTER.

LEVI (early-20s), whose face could be described as interesting and memorable, comes in.

Jason turns around. He gets to his feet.

He goes to Levi, smiling.


Hey, honey.

He tries to kiss Levi, but at the last second, Levi turns his head so that Jason kisses him on the cheek. Levi gives Jason a fake smile when Jason looks at him suspiciously.



Levi takes a few steps further into the room. Jason turns around to face him.


Everything OK?




Need help unpacking?


That’s what pledges are for.


What would you think if I pledged?


I don’t think August Fraternity is really your scene.

Jason tries to take Levi’s hand, but Levi pulls his hand away.


OK . . . What’s going on?




You’ve been acting weird. Is something going on?


Not this again – Have you been taking your medication?

Jason’s eyes narrow.




Levi goes to the desk.




Levi . . . Are you sure you don’t want to go with me and Alex to the falls?


Why would I want to go there?



I just read that there have been multiple UFO sightings over the past few nights.

Jason picks up the TABLET.


I think I’ll skip the little green men.


Well, I thought I’d post an ad on the student message board. See if anyone else is interested.


That’s great – Can I borrow the video camera?


Sure – What for?


I promised mom I’d send her some video of the ocean . . . Stuff like that.

Jason sets the TABLET down. He opens the DESK DRAWER. He takes out a CAMCORDER CASE.

He hands the CASE to Levi.


Want some company?


Nah – You’d just be bored.





It’s Hell Week – I’ve got a lot of stuff to do.


Alexandria sits on the bed, pulling TAROT CARDS, one by one out, of the DECK in her hands.

Jason sits at the desk with a laptop and the camcorder in front of him.

ALEXANDRIA (early-20s), dressed in New Age clothes, lays down the REVERSE WHEEL OF FORTUNE, the LOVERS, the TOWER, the MAGICIAN and the TEN OF SWORDS CARDS.

Jason plugs on end of a USB CORD into the CAMCORDER and the other end into the LAPTOP.

Alexandria looks up from the cards, worried.

The laptop screen displays two video files.


Jason –


Why are there two files?


Jason. I think you should –


Must be Levi’s scenery video.

Jason DOUBLE-CLICKS on the first video displayed on the screen.

The video, shot from a dresser in a bedroom, shows ALESTER (mid-20s) naked, sitting on the edge of the bed and receiving oral sex from another young man.


What is this?

Alexandria climbs off of the BED.

She goes to Jason’s side and stares at the screen.

The video shows Alester leaning his head back.


(in ecstasy)

Oh yeah . . . That feels so good.

The young man bobs his head faster between ALESTER’S (mid-20s) legs.


Isn’t that?


My ex . . . Alester – But, what –

His question catches in his throat when he sees, on the video, Alester guide LEVI to his feet.

Alester unbuttons LEVI’S PANTS and pulls them down.

He leans forward and kisses Levi’s stomach.

Levi runs his hands through Alester’s hair as Alester continues kissing his stomach.

Alester pulls Levi into BED.

He crawls over Levi.

Watching the video, Jason has a blank expression on his face.

On the video, Alester kisses Levi’s chest.

Alester sits back on his legs, between Levi’s legs, and gives Levi a sly grin.


Take them off.



On the video, Levi lifts his bottom off of the bed and pulls his EMERALD GREEN UNDERWEAR down.

Alester grabs the UNDERWEAR.

While Levi lifts his legs, Alester pulls Levi’s UNDERWEAR off.

Alester throws the UNDERWEAR onto the FLOOR.


Turn it off.

Jason pushes the fast forward BUTTON on-screen.

In fast forward mode, Jason sees Alester and Levi having sex.


Turn it off!


Jason sits in shock, staring as if the video were still playing.

Alexandria touches Jason’s shoulder.

Jason shrugs her hand away.

He stands up and storms out of the room, SLAMMING THE DOOR behind him.



Jason sits on a STOOL at the bar, drinking BEER.

Levi walks in, spots Jason, and starts toward him.

Jason sees Levi, sets the BEER down and stands up.

Jason gets in Levi’s face. Levi stops, wide-eyed.


I found your video!


What video?


You know exactly what I’m talking about – I guess you forgot to delete it!


Sweetie –


And with Alester? Of all people!

The owner and bartender, MAX (50s), comes around the bar and goes to them.



Calm it down, boys.


(glaring at Levi)

It’s OK, Max, He was just leaving.

Levi has a look of desperation on his face.


We’re through, Levi. I never want to see you again.



Alester, half dressed, opens the DOOR to Levi.

He blocks the doorway.


What are you doing here?


Jason broke up with me.



That’s terrible.

Inside the apartment, a NUDE MAN walks from one room to another, across the hall.

Levi looks from inside to Alester.

Alester looks over his shoulder. He has a devilish smile on his face.

He looks back at Levi’s shocked expression.




I –


We had fun, but that’s all it was.


I thought you said you deleted the file.


I must not have done it right – You know me and electronics.

The Nude Man walks back across the hall.

Alester looks back into the apartment and then back to Levi.


Now, if you’ll excuse me.

He shuts the DOOR in Levi’s face.



A lamp, framed photograph of Levi and Jason together and a bottle of dark liquor set on a night stand beside of the bed where Levi sits.

Levi picks up the BOTTLE OF LIQUOR and takes a SWIG.

He places the BOTTLE back on the DESK.

He picks up the FRAMED PHOTOGRAPH and stares at it.

He pulls a PHONE out of his POCKET.

He touches the SCREEN a few times.

He stares at the PHONE.

He puts the PHONE back in his POCKET.




He throws the FRAME in the WASTEBASKET between the bed and the desk.

He flops down on the BED.

There is a KNOCK at the door.

Alexandria comes in.





Alexandria goes to Jason.

She sits down on the BED beside of Jason.


Are you OK? Really?



Sure. Why wouldn’t I be?


Come on. You know you can talk to me.



How could I be so stupid?


You’re not stupid.


He lied to me . . . And I knew . . .

He looks into Alexandria’s eyes.


I knew, damn it! How could he do this to me?

Alexandria pulls him into a hug.



Levi sits at a ROLL TOP DESK by the light of black candles. He wears a long-sleeve shirt.

A taxidermied owl and a censer sit on top of an inverted pentagram that has been painted on the desk top. Jars of herbs and roots, one labeled water hemlock, and bottles of spooky fluids fill almost every space in the desk.

The framed photograph of Levi and Jason together sets on a shelf above the desk, reflecting candlelight.

He takes the JAR OF HEMLOCK ROOTS and removes the LID.

He shakes some of the roots onto the pentagram.

He puts the LID back onto the JAR and replaces it.

He looks up at the framed photograph.

He takes the FRAMED PHOTOGRAPH and looks at the image adoringly.


Alester sits at a desk reading from a school textbook. He wears a university T-shirt.

The DOORBELL rings. He rubs his eyes.


Alester opens the DOOR to Levi, who carries TWO CUPS OF COFFEE IN A DRINK CARRIER.


I thought you’d be up.


What is it now?


I thought you could use some caffeine.

Alester steps aside.


With a smile on his face, Levi hands one of the CUPS to Alester, keeping his hand in the sleeve.


Careful. It’s hot.

Alester takes the LID off and carefully sips the COFFEE.


It’s a little sweet.


Just like you.


I told you –


I know – I’m not going stalker on you.



Alester takes another sip of COFFEE.


Well, I guess I’ll let you get back to whatever it is you’re doing.



I could use a break.


I’ve got things to do.

Levi goes to the door.

He uses his SLEEVE to turn the DOORKNOB.

He steps into the hallway. He turns around, still smiling.

Alester goes to the door.


Have a good night.

Alester CLOSES the DOOR.


Levi’s smile turns into a sneer.


As Alester walks toward the bedroom, he takes another sip of COFFEE.


Levi walks down the deserted hallway.


Alester sits at the desk, trying to read from the textbook. He wipes sweat from his brow. He looks at his shaking hand.


On his knees in front of the toilet, Alester VOMITS.


He stands up, unsteady. His lips and fingertips are bluish in color.


Alester collapses onto the FLOOR.

He rolls over onto his back. He froths at the mouth and seizes.


Levi picks up the FRAMED PHOTOGRAPH of him and Jason from the shelf.

He looks at it lovingly.

He hugs the FRAMED PHOTOGRAPH against his chest.

Almost dancing, he spins around as he crosses the room.

He flops down on his back on the BED.

He holds the FRAMED PHOTOGRAPH above him.

He touches the IMAGE OF JASON adoringly.





By Justin H. Guess

Blood Red Dream

scary childrenI finally found a way to rid myself of my horrible dream.

It all started when I was sixteen. Somebody at a party gave me some pills to swallow. Trance music was blasting the hotel room, the floors were shaking from the droning bass, and the walls were caving in from the echo of the electric drums.

The dream began.

I was standing in a river of blood. People, naked, writhing in the damp dark murky red, howling with extreme pain. Body parts were hanging from the ceiling attached to wires.

And the children.

The children were facing me. Their black soulless eyes glaring into my very being, licking their thick red lips, baring sharp tiny teeth moving motorized cycles. Buzz saws.

And the things in the walls.

Yellow arms reaching out. Black elongated nails clawing out at anyone getting closer, tearing them apart. Whatever limbs, body parts they can grab, is tossed to the floors ahead.

Floors with mouths.

Mouths with sharp teeth, grinding, chewing flesh.

The children just laugh, giggle. Clap when a meal is done.


I awoke.

I was in a hospital bed. My arms were bound for my own protection. They said I overdosed. That wasn’t the only thing I came away from that party with. My dream. For four years I have lived with it.

But now….

I have found a way to rid myself of it. It happened one day at work. I was cleaning the offices and Mrs. Gayle was working late. I forgot to put my gloves on and I accidentally touched her arm. Just brushed it.

She didn’t say a word. She just looked at me. Traumatized. She got up from her chair, mumbled something about murderous children. She walked by me, caught in a daze. I heard the cars honking their horns. I ran to the window and saw Mrs. Gayle laying in the road, surrounded by onlookers and stopped traffic. One car in particular was parked on top of her.

But now….

I found a homeless man.

Just lying in an alley. Drunk. Dead drunk. Speaking incoherent words.

I smiled.


I was riding myself of that bad dream.

I touched him. He sprung alive, arms waving, eyes rolling in the back of his head. Blood formed in the corners of his eyes and trickled down his face. He was dead.

I removed my hands.

I was free.

Free of that dream… more murderous children, or starving floors.

I could feel that I was free.

Suddenly, walking down a busy sidewalk, almost home, I passed out.

The others woke me minutes later. They said I must have had a conniption fit. That wasn’t all that was happening.

I was dreaming again.

I had inherited that man in the alleys dreams.

Blood red dreams.

By Mark Slade


coffin girlWith each handful of soil, or stub or two broken off a stick mixed in with a pebble; all that I toss on the pine slab below, I know will someday be me. As the debris, energized by the gravity I introduce, explodes on the coffin below, the soul in the grave down there should soon be transcending to be free.

I wish I could believe. That is why we are here. I wish I truly knew how the spirit lives apart from its fleshy bag. That is why I undertook this experiment. The truth to the meaning of life is not necessarily in purpose or design; it’s in knowing how the ghost flows and why it allows the body to rot as in the box below.

With my prayers done, I pause next to pray for her peaceful repose. An attractive girl, an aspiring musician whose performances are tonight limited to clanking glasses; and an avid Goth, whose only vices involve liquids and solids but of the recreational kind; a comely girl of twenty-one or so with deep green eyes; thick brown hair, and as smooth and shapely a set hips and as pleasing a bust as a man could ever dream for.

Sober or otherwise, no matter her manner of dress or hairstyle; she is the kind of girl, who on every glance will always trick a man into repeating puberty. She likes her cigarette breaks too. So in between her work of avoiding tending the bar she was hired to pour out, I could have simply slit her throat in the alley and observed. But I don’t have the stomach for all that blood and well, I do have some preliminaries in mind.

I did consider it though as she has the personality of a canker sore. But for a bag of pills she’s known to reciprocate enthusiastically in the front seat of a car, and that’s what I counted on. God gave her tits but not eyes in the back of her head.

Her passing out was swift, almost simultaneously after coming up for air. High from a mouth full of muscle relaxers and semen she was all gulp and didn’t put up much of fight over the rag fashioned in Chloroform.

Fitting snuggly into the coffin I built with all the scrap wood and metal I have been saving over the years; I felt some measure of vindication for having purchased a station wagon two years ago.

I had enough time to get to the burial site before screwing the lid down. It wasn’t until I started re-filling the grave that I first began to hear muffled screams, shouts, kicks and fists beckoning for release. You would think that being a Goth, lying in coffin would be a turn on.

Out on the far edge of town the work is industrial and anonymous and closes at five. One thirty in the morning wouldn’t draw a crowd let alone a single police car. Thick woods buffer the residential from this area and the flicker of a light would only be mistaken for a passing car on the highway.

With each handful of dirt I wait for her spirit to subdue her physical form. As I begin to rain down shovels full, I hear less and less. I am waiting to come face to face with her spirit. I am waiting to see an orb or a shadow burst free from her mortal slumber.

I wait.

And shovel.

And I wait.

Perhaps I am too anxious. Perhaps I am too nervous to undertake such an important experiment.

But as it has been said ‘everything in time’.

By my third cigarette my aching muscles begin to soothe in the cool night dew. My sweat begins to dry and the voices finally stop. The pounding too is silent. I am disappointed that the only mist I see around the grave comes from my own breath. I am heartbroken that no light rises out of the mound of dirt.

The meaning of life then must squarely be in the present.

No matter, I have learned my lesson and accept death’s terms.

Following my rest and revelation I believe it will be time to dig my companion up out of the cold damp earth and bring her and the coffin back to the warmth of my home. But unlike the first time I met her, months before I chose her to aid me on this most important of scientific journeys, this time when I tell her I have nothing to offer other than undying love and respect, she won’t be so inclined to sneer at me and say ‘no’.

By Joseph J. Patchen