3rd Runner Up in the 2013 Crimson Skull Contest: Pumpkin Pits by Joseph J. Patchen

Pumpkin-HeadThis pumpkin is a plump one: looks to weigh between twenty five and thirty pounds, give or take an ounce or two; wonderfully symmetrical in a vibrant bright orange with sleek, yet sturdy
bulging ribs and a thick, expertly curved stem.

This is surely the one.

Yes, this is the one to adorn my porch tonight on All Hallows’ Eve. All I need do is carve an interesting and horrifying design and plant a nice fat candle inside. Oh yes, it will marvel not only the little children as they come up my walk but their parents and escorts who are shivering by the curb.

“Sir, sir how much is this pumpkin?” What an odd roadside stand. I travel this road the same time every morning to the torture that is my job for the last six years, and this is the first time I have ever seen this stand. All this man has to sell is a handful of cucumbers, three tomatoes, two green beans, four cartons of eggs and this one ample pumpkin. And it is only seven in the morning.

“Sir, how much is this pumpkin?” I am the only person standing here. Vehicles are whizzing by on the highway right behind us without ever slowing, let alone stopping. It’s funny: the human condition is to be curious. After all, we rubberneck at accidents, and we hit our breaks for a glimpse of exotic animals lurking on the side of the road, not to mention the guys peeing without benefit of a tree.

I wonder if he can hear me above the traffic. He is an elderly man: shoots of white hair stick out like straw from underneath his beat up and filthy feed store cap.

“Two hundred dollars.” He never looks up once. His voice belies his looks. His tone is
evocative, but of what I’m not sure. His face is permanently sun scorched and trenched like a topography map. “I take cash only, no checks, no debit cards and no credit cards.”

I’m floored. “Wait, did you say two hundred dollars? My God. Two hundred dollars! I have never paid two hundred for anything – not for a pair of shoes, or a suit, or a microwave. A h—. Okay, I did that once, but I was very young and very, well, you know. My good man, did you say two hundred dollars?”

“It’s a special pumpkin.”

I knew he was going to say that. His voice had a kind of lilt to it at the end. ‘A special pumpkin.’ “So what is a special pumpkin?”

“It’s unlike any other pumpkin. It’s a magical pumpkin.”

“Magical? What do you mean magical? Do I get three wishes magical, like a genie magical? Or is the pumpkin itself magical, like you can pull a rabbit out of it magical?

He doesn’t even look up from his paper, answering my query in the most bored and relaxed matter of fact manner. “It’s just magical. I don’t know how it works. It’s just magical, that’s all.”

I am my own worst enemy. I should walk. I should tell this guy he is full of it and blow this pumpkin stand. “Well, can it ward off evil magical? Do magical card tricks? I mean, what exactly would I be buying here? After all, I am a consumer with rights and you are a merchant with disclosure obligations.”

He clears his throat and adjusts his cap, stands and adjusts his shorts and pants. If looks could kill, I would be bludgeoned repeatedly with a two by four. “It’s a magical pumpkin. That is all I can say without jinxing the magic.”

“Jinxing the magic? What the Hell does that mean?”

He waddles over to me. Up close, he is a full two feet taller and three feet broader than I. “Just how serious are you about purchasing this piece of fruit?” He places his hands on his hips.

I should have had a stroke by now, out of frustration, but my mini meltdown of legalese gibberish allowed the pressure to somewhat leave my skull. I take the bait. I gladly take the bait. Deep down I know I’m being hustled, but I like it; I like the bait and the bait tastes good. He’s reeled me in flopping and salivating and digging through my wallet and pockets for cash.

He leans into me with a penetrating look. With sharp eyes and tilted brow, he mumbles a harsh and crisp whisper, leaving no breath or space for me to answer. “I mean it. This is more important than you know. Just how serious are you? I see you fumbling around, fishing around in your pockets and all – you serious, or just a pervert? Are you just jerking my chain, looking to pump me for information while pumping yourself? You want to know just how special this pumpkin is? You really want to know?”

I find more composure than coin, or at least enough to stop ransacking my person. “Yeah, I’d like to know before I spend that kind of cash, once I find it.” The words spill out of my mouth and between the gaps in my teeth spraying the counter better than a misty rain.

This guy isn’t fazed. “Put your cash on the counter.” He thumps his left hand on the same spot three times.

I can talk a good game, always could. But I’ve always been a benchwarmer. “All I have is one hundred dollars.” I didn’t even know I had that.

“Then no deal.” I think I hear thunder. I know I heard a crack of lightning.

As I walk back to my car, across the highway, slowly dodging cars across the two lanes, I feel an actual heartbreak. I’m becoming preoccupied with an actual hole in my gut over the loss of that
pumpkin. Yes, for the loss of that particular pumpkin. The last time I felt this bad was when my brother died in a car accident eight years ago.

This is crazy. I’m crazy! But I can’t shake this feeling. I’m letting my imagination and envy spin various scenarios where some jerk taunts me as he carves a wicked face lit by a taper. I wish I had more money. I wish I were carrying that pumpkin to my car to bring home.

What I really need to do, is stop wishing and find a shrink.

As I step back onto the gravel and reach for my door handle, I spy out of the corner of my eye a slender, flapping piece of paper. It’s partially under the front tire but mostly visible. Of course it’s a one hundred dollar bill, a new and crisp one hundred dollar bill.

I guess I do know what kind of magic the pumpkin possesses. I wished for more money and I found it as easily as the breeze now teasing my back as I carry that very same pumpkin to my car.

I always take half a vacation day on Halloween. I always close my business, pay my employees for a full day and wish them and their children well for the trick or treat. I make sure I haven’t missed a single thing: my decorations are in their proper places, both inside and out; my candy is fresh and arranged in a large bowl. And this afternoon, I salivate at the potential design my perfectly plump pumpkin shall express to my guests.

I own no less than forty two books on pumpkin carving. I bet you never knew there were so many. I pour over design after design, but I have to admit I’m getting a little tired: the driving, the haggling, the excitement of finding such a perfect specimen, and now the anticipation of what’s in store for tonight, my favorite holiday of the year.

After perusing book number sixteen, I have to admit, I almost hate to cut it. I almost hate to gut this splendid pumpkin, to indelibly grave it with a scowl or wry, evil grin. Maybe my wish should be for a renewable pumpkin, a self-carving pumpkin that will heal itself by morning and wait patiently for another year. Yes, a reusable, self-carving pumpkin that lies dormant: that would be splendid. A short nap on the couch should alleviate my angst and tamp down my frenzied imagination. I’ll carve later …

My blood scalds and sizzles, streaming down into my eyes. I’m in a fog, light headed and nauseous. A headless man hunches over me, sawing at the top of my skull. Hands I see but cannot feel, turn my throbbing head in the direction of the table where I left the pumpkin before I laid down. My pumpkin, bathing in blood and carved to perfection, happily congratulates me on my wish coming true.

By Joseph J. Patchen

2nd Runner up in the 2013 Crimson Skull Contest: A Savior for the World by Nathaniel Tower

rats ratsTony G stood atop the cliff wondering how the fuck this had all happened. The bloody throat of his pet duck Maurice was draped around his neck like some giant albatross, dripping blood onto the pants that could barely contain his inexplicably erect penis.
The rats had driven him to this brink. They were the ones who’d told him to kill all those people, starting of course with that bitch Mandy, the whore with the audacity to talk bad about his brilliance. All he’d done was try to help her, to make her a better person for the world to see. The rats had prophesied that Halloween would be the perfect time for the carnage. Everything would be aligned, they had said.
Mandy wasn’t the only one of course. One death wouldn’t have left him up here, his life dangling on the edge of that dramatic cliff. There were dozens. Too many for Tony G to even count. He couldn’t remember all their names or faces if he tried. Some names he’d never known. And some faces he’d never seen. He hadn’t even wanted to kill them all.
It was all because of the rats. Those filthy, diseased dirt fluffs. And now they were right behind him, a swarm of filth, thousands, maybe millions, ready to nibble off every inch of his body, starting with his face and ending with his giant penis. It hadn’t always been giant, of course, just like Mandy hadn’t always been a bitch and his duck hadn’t always been dead and draped bleeding around his neck. He blamed this all on the rats as well. No, it wasn’t blame. It was the truth. The rats had taken over his life. He was just their marionette.
He first met the rats in the subway station. Of course that’s where he met the rats. Most people saw their first rat on the subway. Why would Tony G be any exception? He was certainly no extraordinary man. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
Tony G was on his way to work, to the office where that bitch Mandy would come in and betray him once and for all. He was about to step on the train when he felt something tugging at his pant leg. Not one for disruptions to his daily routine, he tried to shake it off, gyrating his leg a few times before continuing his step. But the tugging continued, this time harder. He looked down, right into the beady eyes of the rat.
He didn’t want to call the eyes beady. That was so cliché. But there was no other way to describe those two little brown beads of eyes.
As Tony G looked at the rat, the subway doors closed and the train drifted away. Tony G didn’t worry about the fact that he would be late for work. This rat obviously had something to say, and Tony G was going to listen.
“What is it little fella?” he heard himself ask before he had consciously decided what to say to a rat in the middle of the subway. No one bothered looking at him. People were used to crazies talking to rats on the subway. To everyone else around, Tony G was just another crazy. It didn’t matter that he wore nice clothes or carried a real leather briefcase. Those things didn’t make you any less crazy.
Tony G didn’t really expect the rat to answer. At least not the way that it did. It didn’t start speaking English right there in front of anything. The damn thing stood up on its hind legs and gestured for Tony G to follow it. Tony G shrugged, looked around to see if anyone else saw the miracle. After confirming that he was the sole witness, he nodded his head and followed the rat away from the tracks and toward what he suspected was some secret rat lair where all the rats scurried around and planned the ways they would terrorize the human race.
Sure enough, the rat led Tony G through a tunnel that became smaller and smaller until it suddenly became huge, a space big enough for all the rats in the world to congregate. And there they all were, some sitting in rocking chairs, some drawing on chalk boards, some pouring bubbling substances in and out of beakers. It was almost exactly what Tony G expected, which made sense because he’d always had a creative mind.
The room was organized into sections, or so it seemed. There was a science wing, a math wing, a child development wing. But most impressive was the torture wing near the center of the great room. There the rats stuck pins in voodoo dolls, drew diagrams of decapitated humans, and performed other acts Tony G didn’t want to imagine or ever mention to anyone. Human fingers and toes and ears and other appendages were scattered around the area, forming a big almost circle that divide the torture section from the rest of this hellish rat chamber.
The rats didn’t stop their work when he entered. It was as if they were expecting him and were under orders to pretend not to notice him. Tony G wondered if the rat leading him through the room was the head rat or just a messenger.
As Tony G followed the rat through the room, around the torture chamber, past the rat scientists, he tried to be an amicable guest, waving at various rats and even saying “Hello, how are you?” on occasion. None of the rats responded in any way, except for one of the torturists who slid him a beady wink and a sly smile. Tony G smiled back in return, but he didn’t return the wink. He’d never been able to wink, which he always thought was his biggest flaw as a human.
The rat led Tony G in a circuital fashion throughout the room, passing some of the wings three or four times before finally stopping in front of a massive wooden door. The handle was five feet high, obviously well out of a rat’s reach. The little rat on the floor stood up on his hind legs again. Tony G half-expected it to suddenly stretch up and push the handle down. Instead, the rat gestured for Tony G to open the door himself. With just the slightest hesitation, Tony G reached his arm up and wrapped his slightly trembling hand around the know. He gave it a little turn and pushed the door open.
A rat the size of a soccer ball sat in the middle of the room, a garland of trash upon his head. In his left hand was a scepter, which was actually a broken cane, and he pounded the scepter on the ground three times before waving the little rat away.
“Welcome,” the rat said in a squeaky voice, making Tony G wondering if maybe this was a female rat. Then he spotted the rat’s little pink penis poking out of his dirty brown crotch fur, and he knew the voice was just a typical rat feature.
“Thank you for having me,” Tony G said with a bow. Although he was scared out of his mind, he wanted to look grateful for whatever opportunity he was being given here.
“No thanks necessary. And please do not bow to me,” the rat said before rising to his hind legs. He stood only for a minute before the massive weight of his corpulent body forced him back down.
“Sorry,” Tony G said.
“No apologies either,” the rat king said. “This is not a place for manners. We are rats. We are the scum of the earth. But we know things that you humans do not. We know the world is on the brink of destruction, and only you can stop it from ending.”
“Why me?” Tony G asked, his hands touching his chest in modest shock.
“Because you are the savior of the world,” the rat declared with three pounds of the cane. He then removed the garland of trash and proffered it to Tony G. The tiny ring would barely serve as a bracelet, but he placed it atop his balding head anyway.
“But I’m just a humble office worker,” Tony G said, hoping his modesty would impress the rat.
“That is just a façade. You are a savior. You can save everyone. But only if you are up to the challenge. It won’t be easy. The things we will ask you to do may go against what your human nature falsely suggests. But you must listen. If you do not, all humans and all rats will be wiped out. The machines will take over. The subway that he loathe so much will become the next great race.”
Tony G shook his head firmly to show he was up to the challenge. “I will do it. Whatever you ask, I will do.”
“You must kill everyone who crosses you in any way. Anyone who steps in front of you in line. Anyone who tells you how to do your job. Anyone who talks back to you. Anyone who breaks your heart or the heart of anyone else when you’re around. Basically, anyone you see do anything that is even remotely hurtful or despicable must die.”
Tony G couldn’t help but feel a sense of irony. The rat had not concerned himself at all with manners, but now he was telling him to kill any human who cut in line.
“And how long must this go on?” Tony G asked after studying the rat’s demeanor for several seconds. He tried to make steady eye contact, but the giant beads of the rat’s eyes overwhelmed Tony G and forced him to look away.
“Until the threat is over.”
“And how will I know?”
“A messenger will be sent. It will be a hallowed time.”
“And how do I kill them?”
“In the most brutal ways you can. And your vengeance must be immediate. No drawn-out psychological mind games. Just swift and violent death.”
“Okay,” Tony G said, accepting the mission that was contrary to his views of human nature.
“My messenger will see you out now.”
Tony G turned and saw the little rat standing on his hind legs. He wondered if maybe the rat had been there the whole time or if it had uncanny powers of prediction.
“Very well. Don’t worry, sir, I will see this mission through.”
“I know you will,” the rat king said. “That’s why we chose you.”
Tony G marched back through the rat lair, wearing the garland of trash proudly atop his head. This time the rats did not ignore him. Instead they stood and applauded by slapping their slinky tails together with neighboring rats. They hissed their cheers of joy and offered encouraging glances with their beady eyes. For the first time in his life, Tony G felt important.
The messenger rat led Tony G back into the narrow tunnel that gradually broadened until it dumped him back in the subway station. Tony G looked around. No one had seen him emerge from the tunnel. Nor had they seen him associate with the rat. He turned to face the tunnel entrance one final time before marching to his train, but the entrance was suddenly blocked by a set of sloppily layered bricks. Tony G shrugged, wondering if this was all maybe a dream, and hopped on the train that was conveniently stopped and waiting for him.
A strange thing happened to Tony G on his way to work that day. Everyone was polite. They all said excuse me if the slightest contact was made. They offered seats to each other in an endless pattern of getting up and sitting down. They spoke with soft voices. No one uttered profanity or judged anyone else. No one blared music. No one read drivel from dirty romance novels or tabloids. Everyone was perfect. Perhaps Tony G’s mere presence could save humanity from the destruction the rat had foretold.
But it wasn’t that easy, of course. The moment he stepped into his office, before he could even admire the picture of his pet duck sitting on the desk, Mandy approached him with fire in her eyes and sluttiness in her hips. She sashayed right into his office, her massive breasts half-exposed by the half-unbuttoned plaid shirt she tried to play off as a Halloween custom. Tony G wondered what the hell she was supposed to be. A cross between a sexy farm girl and a grunge whore? Tony G had always wanted to screw her brains out on his desk, but today he knew that such a feat could not be performed. That would be contrary to the mission he was sent to carry out.
“How may I help you, Mandy?” he asked, trying his best to be polite and not lustful.
“You can help me by not being such a fuck-up,” Mandy roared, her finger pointing in accusation.
Tony G began to scan the office for an implement of destruction. He spotted a fire extinguisher that would serve her well.
“And how am I a f-up?” Tony G said, opting not to repeat her profane remark.
“You changed the numbers on my report,” she accused.
“Yes, I did,” Tony G said. “I changed them to the correct figures.”
“No. You fucked them all up. You now have simple math errors. You have the average of 3 and 3 and 3 as 4 and a half! How is that correct? How does that even make remote sense? Are you trying to get me fired? Are you trying to make this company go down in flames?”
“No, no. Those are certainly not my intentions.” Tony G said, stalling as he stood and walked to the fire extinguisher. “You are mistaken with your figures. If you look more closely at the report, you will see that I have improved everything. Nothing has been made in error.” He picked up the fire extinguisher. “But I’ll tell you what. If you want to, you can take your name off the report. I’ll take all the credit for it. And if it gets praised, I’ll say you helped tremendously to get it prepared. Deal?”
“No!” Mandy said, throwing her arms up in the air so that her boobs bounced like basketballs on a trampoline.
“Very well,” Tony G said. “Then I have no choice but to do this.” He swung the fire extinguisher high over his head and launched it down straight between the mountains of her chest. The solid metal object punctured right through her torso, sending her crashing to the floor like crumbling mountains.
“You bastard!” Mandy panted, struggling to find her breath with the weight of the extinguisher bearing down on her. “You’ll pay for this.”
“No. You’ll pay,” Tony G said. “I’m saving the world.” He bent down to pick up the fire extinguisher, squeezing her dented breasts in the process. “I’ve wanted to do that for a long time,” he said with a smile before raising the extinguisher over his head and slamming it down on her chest again. He repeated this action until she was fully deflated, like a crying child’s worn-out birthday balloon. Then he forced open the mouth, stuck the nozzle of the extinguisher inside, and triggered the gassy liquid into her. It bubbled out of her nose and eyes as her body convulsed. A puff of smoke even ascended from her crotch.
As Tony G tossed the extinguisher on the ground, he found himself strangely aroused. He stared at her body for a moment, imagining the things he could to do her before he realized that he needed to get the hell out of there. He grabbed his leather briefcase and suit jacket and burst out of the office. A coworker dressed as Dracula stopped him forcefully in the hallway.
“Where ya goin’?” the coworker asked, his hands on Tony G’s shoulders.
“Big mistake, asshole,” Tony G cried. He reached for a stapler on the nearest desk and began pounding staples into the coworker’s face. “I’ll teach you for being rude,” Tony G yelled as the staples penetrated the coworker’s face. Blood began trickling down, and the coworker soon dropped to the ground. “Suck your own blood, bitch,” Tony G said before spitting on the nearly dead Dracula.
“Hey, what the hell are you doing?” a voice yelled from behind. Tony G chucked the stapler at the dying coworker’s head and turned to face his new foe. It was his boss. If ever someone needed to be killed.
“I’m taking care of the trash,” Tony G said, hoping he didn’t sound too cliché. He eyed the objects between himself and the boss, looking for the most brutal instrument around. He settled for the water cooler, which appeared to have been recently filled. Tony G sprinted to the water cooler and pulled out the massive bucket of water. The boss began running, so Tony G threw the bucket of water with all his might. The thing must’ve weighed fifty pounds, but the fire in Tony G’s soul gave him the strength to launch it a sufficient distance. The thing came down directly on the bosses head. Tony G watched with flee as the bucket of water and the boss’s head shattered simultaneously, creating a waterfall of water and brain and bits of bone. It was a beautiful sight to behold.
But Tony G didn’t have long to behold it. Other coworkers were emerging from their offices to find out what all the commotion was. Tony G killed them all. He used trashcans, computers, paper cutters, box knives, and anything else he could find that would mutilate or destroy the evil people before him.
When he was certain all his coworkers were dead, he bolted from the office. At the building’s exit, the messenger rat stopped him. It stood on its hind legs and tried to speak with its eyes. Tony G didn’t understand what it was saying. The rat started using sign language. Tony G still didn’t get it.
At last, the obviously frustrated rat used his squeaky voice. “What the fuck are you doing?” the rat cried. “This isn’t what you’re supposed to do. You’re causing the world to end!”
Tony G looked around. Planes were descending from the sky. Rivers and lakes were swelling onto the city streets. A volcano that couldn’t possibly have existed in the city began erupting. A giant hole in the sky ripped open and a giant arm reached down and began squishing people.
“I thought this is what I was supposed to do,” Tony G cried desperately.
“You thought wrong. How could you be so stupid? I knew we shouldn’t’ve trusted a human with such an important mission.”
The rat returned to its four legs and then leapt on Tony G’s pant leg, gnawing at the flesh of the pants. Tony G kicked with all his might. When the rat wouldn’t let go, Tony G picked it up and bit its head off.
“That’ll teach you to fuck with me,” Tony G said. Suddenly he was convinced that he had to kill more to reverse this ending of the world. He started killing everyone he saw on the streets. He was about to slice someone’s face off with a broken bottle when he saw the swarm of rats pouring into the street, led by the fat rat king who couldn’t manage to stand earlier.
“Kill, kill, kill!” their beady eyes yelled as they chased Tony G down the street and out of the city until they had him cornered on top of the cliff.
“You’ve ruined everything!” the rat king said.
The rat king threw Tony G’s pet duck’s throat at him.
“Maurice!” Tony G cried.
“Wear this as your sash of shame!” the rat cried.
Tony G put it on and watched as the blood dripped down onto the pants that barely covered his inexplicably erect penis.
“Now hang yourself with it,” the rat ordered.
“Never,” Tony G cried.
“Then be gnawed to death.” The swarm of rats was upon him in an instant, gnawing every inch of his body, starting with bits of his face and working their way down to his erect penis. They left the eyes intact so Tony G could see everything they did to him.
“Stop! Please!” Tony G begged, but the rats would not relent.
Hours later, the last of the rats left Tony G’s body. For a moment, he felt nothing. He could still see, could see the opened sky and the hand reaching down to squish things. Then a voice spoke from the bottom of the cliff.
“Rise, Tony G,” the voice said.
Tony G rose.
“Now understand your place in all this. You have caused this. And because of that, you will be the only survivor. You will roam the streets in your horribly disfigured state forever. Mirrors will be placed all around so you can never escape what you have become.”
Mirrors suddenly rose everywhere around. Tony G cowered at the sight of his horribly disfigured body, especially at the sight of his tiny demolished nub of a penis.
“Is there anything I can to do repent?” Tony G screamed to the heavens.
The mirrors laughed in unison, and Tony G tried to shut his eyes, but he found they had somehow been welded open forever.

By Nathaniel Tower

1st Runner Up in the 2013 Crimson Skull Contest: Waiting for Halloween by Daniel Gonzales

Olivia waited every year for Halloween to arrive so she could show her true face.
Her parents told her to hide it all year long.
“People just wouldn’t understand,” her mother said, “They don’t believe in monsters. At least not the kind you are anyway.”devil mask on girl
Her father was more severe, “If you show people what you really are, they will hurt you, they will kill you.”
Olivia was only twelve but she knew that she was a monster.
Every day at school, the other girls made fun of her, they pushed her in the mud, they pinched her arms until she felt the tears well up in her eyes but she did not tell. She knew she deserved it, she was evil.
On Halloween I can be myself, she thought. I don’t have to be afraid.
She put the devil mask over her face and went out trick or treating. Her parents decided that she was old enough to go out on her own as long as she took her little brother with her. Toby was seven and annoying as fuck. He was perfect from his blonde hair to his dimpled cheeks, he wasn’t a monster like her. The curse had skipped him.
“My sister was like you,” her mother said, “She was twisted and deformed inside and had to hide her true face. She killed herself when she was twenty two. My mother was glad to be rid of her.”
She knew that her parents talked sometimes about getting rid of her. Just putting her out of her misery but instead they let her live on.
She had the knife in her pillowcase just in case and waited for the hour to grow late.
“Olivia, when we go get candies?” her brother said in his candy corn costume.
“Soon,” she said, “I have to do something first.”
She spotted the girls around fifth avenue shortly after seven p.m.
It was the same bitches who tormented her at school every day. She told her brother to wait behind the tree in the park and she went after them. Slowly she approached them in her devil mask and heard them chatting.
“I can’t believe she wore that!” Tiffany said, dressed as some slutty witch. She looked like a whore. She knew they were talking about her, making fun of her, thinking of new ways to torment her.
“She is so pathetic, she should just kill herself already,” Amber said.
“Oh my god, did you see how hot Greg was?” Lily said.
“I would totally suck his dick,” Tiffany said, she was thirteen, a year older than the other two girls.
“Have you done that?” Amber whispered, “You know…sucked a dick?”
“Of course! I used to practice on my cousin all the time. He’s seventeen. He has a huge one.”
The other two girls said nothing.
Olivia pulled off her mask and ran behind Tiffany, jamming the knife into her back.
“OH MY GOD!” Amber screamed.
“You crazy bitch!” Lily said.
How did they recognize me? Olivia wondered, she knew she was showing her true face. Couldn’t they see the demon? The lizard skin? The horrible scars?
Amber was starting to attract attention with her screams so Olivia jammed the knife in her neck and watched the blood spurt out. She laughed, it was like a red river. It poured across the cement and dead leaves like a painting.
Lily started to run. She was dressed in some generic cat Walmart costume that looked like it came from the sales rack.
“I can smell your sin,” Olivia said and stabbed her in the back.
“Please,” Lily begged, as she fell over the blood soaked into her blonde hair.
“Now you know how it feels,” Olivia said, “But you just kept pinching me. Pinch, pinch, pinch.”
She stabbed the girl again and again then twisted the knife up in her gut and felt her open up like ripe fruit, the smell was horrendous but her intestines fascinated her. They were like strands of fleshy silly string. She could have played with them for hours but heard shouts in the distance. They had heard the screams. People were coming. She ran away.

Toby was waiting patiently for her in the park.
He was starting to grow bored and was picking pieces of bark off the tree. He had one in his mouth when she found him.
“Don’t eat that!” she said and slapped him in the back of the head. He spit it out.
Tears started to well up in his eyes.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “Just wait, we are gonna go get candy now.”
For the next hour and a half they went door to door getting candy as the sound of ambulances and police cars went by.
Parents were starting to talk, taking their kids home early.
A massacre, they were saying.
An elderly woman handing out Snickers bars warned her, “You two should head on home now, it’s not safe out there, there was a murder tonight. Three young girls.”
Olivia smiled. The fear was spreading.
Her mother had told her to punish the sinners.

Olivia took Toby back home and saw her mother sitting at the kitchen table talking to God again. She was gesturing wildly and speaking in tongues, her eyes rolling back in her head.
“I have to go out, Mom and take care of one more sinner. I will be back later.”
Her mother made garbled noises and drooled leaked down her chin.
Olivia put the devil mask back on and went back out onto the streets.
It was 9PM.

The house of Miss Edna Fisher was one of the largest in the neighborhood, she had a family fortune in accumulated wealth and wasn’t afraid to rub it in other people’s faces whenever she could.
She was also Olivia’s seventh grade teacher.
She was a horror. Always calling on her, humiliating her when she didn’t know an answer, she would snicker when she saw the other girls picking on her. Once when she had been flung in the mud by Tiffany, she saw Miss Fisher looking at her but instead of going to help, she had walked away.
Edna was a spinster, a mid-fifties old maid who didn’t have any children of her own so she disciplined children that weren’t hers.
For some reason, Miss Fisher had always hated her but she didn’t know why.
Did she sense my demon? Olivia thought. Does she know what I really am?
Olivia walked right up to her door and knocked.
It took several moments but Miss Fisher finally came to the door.
She had done everything to make it look as if she weren’t at home, the gate was shut, the lights were turned low but Olivia knew the truth.
“What are you—Olivia?” Miss Fisher said, surprised.
She answered the door in a long flowing white silk nightgown with a thick bathrobe over it and fuzzy slippers.
“What are you doing here, young lady?” she said, “Haven’t you heard there was a murder?! Your schoolmates were killed. Tiffany Miller. Lily Tomkins. Amber Marrow. It is all over the news. Don’t your parents have the common sense to tell you to stay home?”
“I know about the murders,” Olivia said, “Their blood smelled like fresh flowers.”
Miss Fisher’s mouth gaped in shock and Olivia pulled the large kitchen knife out of her bag, still covered in the girl’s blood. Then she charged towards the door.
Edna fell backwards onto the wooden floors and started to crawl away in a panic. Olivia stabbed her in the ankle. She screamed and kicked at her.
Limping, she ran towards the living room and the telephone.
Olivia was fast like a snake.
She threw her devil mask on the floor and then started to feel her face transform.
I am a monster. I am a demon. I am pure evil, she thought and imagined the horns and the scaly skin.
When she looked in the mirror, that was what she saw. Just like her parents told her she looked.
“Get away from me, you little freak!” Miss Fisher screamed, “What the hell is wrong with you? I knew you were a monster!”
Olivia moved quick and pulled the phone out of the wall.
She saw the bowl of candy sitting next to the sofa, Miss Fisher had been snacking on chocolates when she knocked, the empty candy wrappers laid there. She grabbed the bowl and smashed it against Miss Fisher’s head.
Miss Fisher screamed as blood poured down her forehead then she ran past Olivia and up the stairs screaming the whole way. Her ankle was still bleeding and she left a blood trail behind her.
Olivia laughed, “Trick or treat, Miss Fisher. I want to cut out your eyes and eat them. That’s my Halloween treat.”
Olivia followed her upstairs.

Edna had locked herself in her bedroom and scrambled to find her cell phone.
She dialed 911.
“Yes, police? Please help me, there is a young girl in my house and she is trying to kill me, she has a knife and I think she killed those other girls tonight. Her name is—“
Olivia burst through the bedroom door, slamming against it.
Miss Fisher dropped the phone in fright.
“Get away from me, you freak!” Miss Fisher said.
“You never liked me,” Olivia said, “I saw you turn away when they pushed me in the mud. You turned away.”
Miss Fisher got a wild hateful look in her eyes then, “Yes, I hate you! I always hated you! You are weak! You deserve to die! You filthy little bitch!”
Olivia swung the knife towards her face and sliced into her cheek.
Blood dribbled down her chin.
“Stop!” Miss Fisher said in a panicked voice, “I’m sorry, okay? I’m sorry!”
“Why did you become a teacher?” Olivia asked her, serious suddenly, “Was it cause you couldn’t make babies?”
Miss Fisher said nothing.
“You obviously don’t like kids.”
“Please,” Edna said, looking her in the eyes.
“Are you scared of my demon face?” Olivia said, “Doesn’t it frighten you?”
“What are you talking about?”
“Don’t pretend you can’t see it. This is my real face. I am a monster.”
Miss Fisher looked at the girl strangely then and almost with pity.
“Who told you that?” she asked.
“It doesn’t matter.”
“You don’t have a demon face. Look in the mirror, Olivia. You are an innocent girl. Now stop this before it’s too late. We can get you help.”
Olivia looked across the room at the mirror above the headboard of the bed.
She saw her own face starting back at her.
No demon.
It was a trick. This bitch was trying to trick her.
“No,” Olivia said, “I know what I am. Mommy told me. Now let’s see where babies are made.”
She stuck the blade into Miss Fisher’s stomach and gutted her.
The smell was more putrid than Tiffany’s intestines.
Yet they fascinated her still, she watched them ooze out and put her hands through them. She played with the liver, then pulled out the kidneys. She kept cutting and broke the ribcage until she found the heart. She put it in her candy sack and left through the window before the police came.

“Did you have fun?” Olivia’s father asked when she came in the door.
“Yes, Daddy, I punished some sinners.”
“Good girl,” he said, “Maybe if you keep doing God’s work, he will heal you and make you human again.”
In the kitchen her mother was unconscious on the floor and twitching. She was having one of her angelic seizures.
“Your brother is already in bed. You have school tomorrow, young lady. You better get to the basement.”
He pulled the key from his pocket and opened the door to the basement steps.
“Off you go,” he said, “Goodnight.”
He kissed her on the cheek.
Olivia walked down the steps into the dark and fumbled around until her eyes adjusted and she saw the sleeping bag. She crawled inside and hid.
She heard the sounds of police sirens and an ambulance driving by.
Her mother’s body thumping above on the kitchen floor.
Until next Halloween, she thought and closed her eyes. Then I can be myself again.

By Daniel Gonzales
editor, Surreal Grotesque

WINNER OF THE 2013 CRIMSON SKULL CONTEST: The People Downstairs Do Wicked Things by Peter Marra

Bloody-PumpkinThe moon was up and full and starting to shed red tears, which turned phosphorescent as they entered Mona’s blood stream. These tears kissed her red blood cells, strengthening her lust and her obscene cravings. Soon, her mouth tasted of iron and her eyes became the color of film negative. It was the best moon for Halloween.

She sat by the window that was slightly open, breathing in the October air which was still warm but carried the smell of decay. She looked at her fingers. She could still make out the pale skin on her left ring finger where her wedding ring used to be. No more.

“I’m gone. Can’t come back.”

The naughty spot. That’s what Mona craved. Just something to get her higher. She had just moved to the neighborhood, having recently re-located from the suburbs, a rather fast exit. She knew this place was a dump, but she was finally away, nestled in shadows of seclusion, surrounded by vibrating noise – a low hum that always lay under her thoughts. Thoughts that were often evil in nature. Mona loved her new apartment – it was across the street from the boardwalk – smells of danger and rot caressed her senses, begging her to partake, mixing with the sounds of the wooden rollercoaster and the odor of hotdogs and blood.
She hadn’t finished furnished it yet, just an small antique wooden table, a wooden chair. Both had been purchased from the junk store down the block, next to the carousel. Bare walls, bare bulb overhead.

The Sex Shop around the corner had piqued her curiosity. She had passed it last night on her way back from the storefront Chinese restaurant, but she doubted she would ever pay it a visit; those places were pretty dull: bootleg dvd’s and lame sex toys. The patrons were usually either smelly and old or perverted younger men – all sweaty; sweaty and sad. Stink of semen and sweat. They were the lost tribe of disastrous desires hiding in video booths while they discharged and wept. Mona didn’t understand why she was remembering this now.

“But it’s the best moon for Halloween.”

Vacant eyes. She sat on the window ledge letting the warm autumn air slowly climb up her legs, invading the black triangle under her black leather mini-skirt. With the fingers of her left hand she massaged herself. Afterwards she held her hand up for inspection, taking note of the fluid clinging to her fingers.

It was approximately 8 pm. There were no trick-or-treaters in this neighborhood.
The amusement park was still open. Today was the last day of the season. Open until midnight, then not again until the spring. Open Easter Sunday. Closing on Halloween.

Mona sang a gentle song to the item at her feet: a few days ago she had decapitated her husband’s head and placed it in a Plexiglas cube. Hermetically sealed. No chance of decay. After eating his heart, gobbling it up with glee, she had sawn off the head in hubbie’s basement workshop. Some of the blood and flesh had been consumed also, but not by her. That was the deed of the her friends the followers of the Black Science. It was their trademark. His eyes were sewn shut. Her wedding ring was sewn inside his mouth.

“You look good,” Mona said.

He didn’t answer. She held the box up to her face and gave the box a slight lick with her tongue, leaving a saliva mark which looked elegant in the moonlight that was creeping into her room. A slight pang of sadness, but Mona’s electric disease squelched down any regret. A soft sucking sound could be faintly heard.

“No. Not here.”

“I don’t know why this happened, but I’m glad it did. The cops must have been curious, just before they ejaculated in unison, I really put them into an arousal fugue state. I just adore being the center of attention. Dead men tell no tales, neither do well fucked dead cops.”

Mona placed the cube on the window sill.

“The sea air has many health benefits.’

distant distant slowly through my veins watch her work at it but no relief cobblestone memories I can’t recapture unable to leave the basement
a collection of things waits for me inside wait for time wait for the previous slave
I knew I was it I was toxic for time the door swung open and I stabbed blindly eradicating arousal

She lit a cigarette and exhaled smoke out the window. She thought of how she would entertain herself for the rest of the evening. After all, it was Halloween. She pulled open the table drawer and withdrew a glassine packet, rubber-stamped with the words “Black Sunday,” along with a spoon and an insulin hypo. Mona didn’t remember the dealer who had given her the packet. It was rumored to feel like a mixture of crank and junk. She poured the contents into a spoon, added a few drops of water from the glass of water she had left on the table earlier, and heated the spoon briefly over a match flame. When she shot up, her head bolted back and her clitoris spasmed. Plasma juice shot into her cervix. Waves of languor fucked by friction and energy rushed through her body. Mona’s skin suffered a cold burn. The burn subsided after a few minutes and she felt complete. A quick bolt of vomit shot out her mouth and landed on the floor. Very clean. No mess on her or her outfit.

when done I stuttered backwards talking teetered and sat down to watch the fungi colonize then I ravished then I punished “please wait” roughly tilted emotion-motion my mind is quite funny. quite funny. those chemicals.
because post-mortem deterioration had forced a climax too soon upon a cross
an autopsy was really hurting let’s attend to important business because of a death, cleopatra arrived she was so much braver than they were

Mona pulled on her engineer boots, opened her compact mirror and admired her shoulder length black hair, her bangs which rested on her eyebrows. As she pulled on her black turtleneck, she heard undecipherable murmurs. She decided to wear her motorcycle jacket since it might get chilly later in the evening. Bidding her spouse goodbye, she walked out the room, down 1 flight of stairs and out to the street.

“Good evening naughty boys and girls!”

Turning left, she rounded a corner and looked down the street to get her bearings. The street was barely illuminated by 3 antique streetlamps. At the end of the street was the Sex Shop she had noticed earlier. Mona made the decision to go pay it a visit, since she really had nothing else to do and the drug was making her twitchy and feisty.

The street smelled strongly of urine and something else she couldn’t comprehend. As Mona continued to stroll, the mystery odor ate at her.

“aaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeee, fuck!”

She turned around quickly when she heard the guttural wail off to the side; in a barely lit building entrance two figures appeared to be grappling. As Mona approached the two silhouettes the image came into focus, the film stuttered and burned. Two females held each other tightly, one had just gouged out the eye of the other and thrown the orb to the ground. The disembodied eye stared up at Mona from the sidewalk. Mona picked it up and handed it back to her owner who was still screaming in pain.

“You’re welcome.”

Mona continued on her trip, which ended when she stopped at the entrance to the Sex Shop. The display window contained two mannequins that were dressed as naughty French maids, their bulbous plaster udders barely contained by their outfits. The floor was littered with sex toys and assorted sex paraphernalia. Mona entered.

Criselda was sitting behind a display case which served as a table for a cash register. The cash register was antique, inherited from her father who had opened a bodega at the same location for many years. He was gone now. The Sex Shop barely made money but it served other purposes and she liked being the sole proprietor. She had just opened a book and started to read when she heard the door alarm go off. Mona’s form slinked into view in the security mirror overhead. Criselda’s fingers trembled and her mouth went dry.

“Hi I’m Criselda. Whatcha need?”

“Just looking.” Mona turned and looked directly at Criselda.

“I like your sweater, “ Mona said. “Mohair?”

“Yes. I always wear it when I wear leather pants.”

Criselda got up from behind the display case. She walked over.

Criselda looked up and down at Mona, her ebony eyes drinking her up. She took Mona’s left hand and looked it over.

“I see a ring is gone,” she said as she slightly caressed Mona’s ring finger, “Was it your choice?”

“That’s a good way to put it.”

As she said this, Mona felt a little tingle in her crotch. The moist breath and smell of Criselda made her a little dizzy.

“Don’t be so nervous. I’m not going to do anything. I’m not going to hurt you.”

Criselda grabbed Mona’s left hand, taking it and placing it down the front of her leather pants, on top of her crotch. Mona’s fingers parted the lips. She detected that Criselda was wet but there was something pearly hard between the lips of her cunt. Mona withdrew her hand and smelled her fingers. The smell on her digits was a combination of vaginal liquid and saliva. She placed her hand down the front of Criselda’s pants again and decided to explore.

“In case you were wondering, it’s teeth.”

“What?” Mona asked.

“It’s teeth, vulva dentata, it runs in my family. I have it. My mother has it. My sisters, my grandmother and aunts in Mexico had it. ”

Mona just stared at her. After a few seconds She tasted her fingers. Her new acquaintance smiled.

Criselda looked at Mona’s eyes, then she pulled up Mona’s sleeves, exposing the track marks.

“I see, I see…” Criselda smiled.

Mona tensed up, then said, “Why is the display case dark? Did the light blow out?”

“What? I didn’t realize…,” Criselda went back behind the case and switched on the light. Mona sucked in her breath as the tableau came into view.
The decapitated head of a middle – aged man was propped up behind the glass, around it were scattered some bones and cat skulls. Towards the left was a crucifix and some dried up flowers. The eyes were gone, the flesh was starting to shrivel. Three mice were wandering around sporting atomic smiles; they briefly glanced at the humans, then turned away.

“That’s my dad,” Criselda said, “We were just chatting when you came in. I made him die in the best way possible. I had to jump him one night, took him from behind. Got him on the floor, had my box-cutter, ripped him from ear to ear. I remember he heaved as I remained on top of him, then he collapsed flat to the floor. It was fuckin’ amazing! Made may pussy twitch! For a long time I stared at the puddle of blood underneath him. Blood never looks the same in real life as it does on TV. After awhile I got a hacksaw from downstairs and removed his head. Had to wait awhile for the blood to drain out. Then I placed him in the case. Later on I added some decorations, as you can see in the case. Not sure what the mice are doing in there. That was a couple of Halloweens ago. It’s been there ever since.”

At this moment, the door alarm went off again. They turned around and saw a middle-aged man in the store. He was perspiring. Criselda smiled.

“May I help you?”

“You got video booths here?”

“Yes in the back. I’ll show you.”

“Wait. Wait. How much?” the patron said as he leered at the women. Mona felt more puke working its way back up, but another wave of the drug rush kicked in and the urge went away. She felt as if her eyes were on fire.

“Since it’s Halloween, the first 10 minutes are free!”

The happy patron smiled. “Where is it?”

“In the back, I’ll take you there.”

She left Mona standing there as she walked the man to the back of the store, past the racks of slutty lingerie, leather, gear, sex toys and bondage equipment.
Mona watched as they disappeared behind a red velvet curtain. She heard a door open and Criselda’s words fading “it’s right down the stairs.” A few minutes later Mona’s ears were enticed by the low sounds of moaning and screaming. Infernal soundtracks for her pleasure.

After about ten minutes Crisleda re-emerged alone. “He’s down there enjoying himself.” Criselda smiled.

“Oh! How many booths are down there?”


“Want to see? We’ll bring the next one down together.”

“I’d love to.”

walk down down down watch the victims squirm taste burnt metal skin smooth trapped sweaty fur and leather in the october sticky rain she’s reaching toward the shiny things and stops just before the monster beyond the stars as told by the people below the ground look down fuzz fall fuck

The door alarm sounded once more. Both women turned around quickly and stared at the thirtyish male who had just come in. He was in a business suit. He also inquired about the peep booths.

“Sure we have ‘em pappi,” Mona said. I’m Mona, this is Criselda, we’ll take you downstairs and show you. We have quite a nice setup. Don’t we?

Criselda was slightly taken aback by Mona’s sudden assertiveness, but nodded in agreement.

“Nice suit! You a salesman?” Mona continued.

“No, not at all. I’m a trader,” he said indignantly.

“Oh! Sorry about that!” Mona apologized, ”Sure, let’s go downstairs. This way behind the curtain. By the way, in honor of Halloween, the first ten minutes are free! Criselda please lead the way!”

Mona escorted the gentleman, taking his arm as they followed Criselda behind the curtain and down the stairs. Mona noticed that his eyes were riveted on Criselda’s ass, tight in the black leather pants. There was a smell of mildew and that unknown odor that Mona had detected on the street. At the bottom of the stairs was a decrepit door that was covered with cracked red paint. Criselda opened the door and they stepped in. The room was dark except for a row of 12 peep booths. Each booth was identified by a neon number.

“Lets all go into booth 3, it’s big, it’ll fit all of us,” Criselda said. The man eagerly walked ahead toward the third booth.

Criselda led them to booth 3, opened the door and they all stepped in. The light came on. The booth contained three stools. Criselda had the man sit on the middle stool and Mona and her on either side. Criselda put a red token into the slot and the black barrier lifted in front exposing a window two feet by two feet wide. Criselda grabbed the man by the neck and pressed his face against the glass.

“Take a look, baby!”

Mona also looked and what she saw excited her immensely. There was a circular red stage lit by one floodlight. Under the light was the patron Criselda had lead down earlier. He was naked and tied to a chair, blood poured out of his mouth painting his naked chest. He was moaning and weeping. His penis was erect because someone had fastened a cock ring around it. Strips of skin had been removed from his chest. His tears were plentiful. His feet were fastened to the floor with long nails Two women, naked, were on their knees on either side of him, drinking from deep gouges in each wrist. He twitched every so often.

“Those are my babies, Crisleda said. See how beautiful they are? My daddy didn’t like them! So sad!! See his mouth? His tongue is gone, he tried to eat me out. Shit, was he surprised when my cunt ripped his tongue out!”

“I thought we were going to watch porn! Not a haunted house!” the man complained, “What is this Halloween shit? You dumb cunts! This shit don’t even look real! I’m getting the fuck out of here! Fucking skanks?”

“Wait wait pappi. Don’t get angry,” said Criselda.

“Fuck you, spic!”

When she heard the insult, Mona’s anger kicked in, fueled by Black Sunday.

“Wait, wait baby! Calm down! You’re making me so hot!” Mona purred.

Mona winked and moved in as if to kiss him. He calmed down and smiled. He took her lead and leaned in for an intimate moment. Mona took his top lip in her mouth lovingly, bit down hard and ripped it clean off his face, sending blood flying over the window, the booth, and her and Criselda. His screams only increased her anger and frenzy and the wetness between her legs. Criselda caught the fever also and ripped his ear off, spitting it onto the floor.

“It’s real pappi, it’s real… It’s real just like your eye that I’m gouging out!” His shrieks grew very loud and vomit was coming out of his mouth. A soft rip-squish and the orb was free. Criselda showed him the eye in her hand – a lump of flesh and a couple of veins perched in her hand, dripping goo to the floor of the booth. Sister Streetfighter.

“Here! Look at it with your last fuckin’ good eye. Asshole.”

The man slumped over onto the floor.

“That was fun,” said Criselda.

“I think he passed out,” said Mona.

“Good. Pull his pants down, get him hard.”

Mona did as she was told and when he was erect, Criselda, pulled her pants down, exposing her vulva, which was moaning. She sat down on top of his cock and when it was fully in, bore down. Mona heard a soft ripping of flesh and she noticed a flood of blood gushing out from beneath Criselda, who was oblivious, her neck bent back, eyes rolling up, tears exuding from the corners of her eyes.
Criselda spoke in tongues as her climax waned.

“Fuck! Fuck! I needed that!”

When done, Criselda dismounted and pulled her pants up.

“Come on mammi. Lets drag him out to the stage. I’ll tell the girls to get another chair. Business should be booming tonight. Come on. I’ll introduce you to my girls. I think you’ll like them. They don’t talk very much though. Ooof! He’s heavy. Yuppie businessman asshole! Cheap cocksucker! I’ll get some mops and Clorox – we have to clean this shit up. I have a feeling we’ll be busy tonight.”

It was now 4 a.m.
Mona and Criselda surveyed the peep show area under the Sex Shop. There were 7 males ranging in age from 30’s to 70’s, each tied to a chair, each drained of blood, each mauled beyond recognition. Criselda’s two daughters lay curled up in fetal positions, sleeping on the floor, sated and content, enjoying sweet dreams of torture and bliss. Mona was coming down from her drug high, slight depression was kicking in, the night’s activities a soft slow blur that she would always remember. Her mouth tasted like iron.

“We’ll clean this up later. No one is going anywhere. The girls need their rest. Let’s close up and go to the beach,” Criselda said.

“Listen, I have to clean up,” Mona said, “We’re covered in blood, semen and who knows what other shit. I don’t have a change of clothes.”

“I’ll take care of that. I live above the shop. Let’s go.”

The women went upstairs. After Criselda locked the shop door from the inside, they went up a hidden staircase to Criselda’s apartment. Mona liked the apartment: it was a hybrid of Victorian splendor and early 70’s décor. Not exactly the stuff of suburban dreams, but it worked and somehow it made Mona comfortable.

“You know,” Criselda said, “I’m alone here. The girls have their own room to stay in. If you have no place to go you can stay with us. There’s an extra room, you can furnish it anyway you want.”

“I’ll think about it. Do you have any clothes I can borrow?”

“Sure. After we’re cleaned up and dressed do you want to go to the beach? The sun will rise soon. Plus the beach is officially closed now, so there will be no city officials bothering us.”

“Sure. That would be nice.”

Later the two new friends sat on the beach very close to each other. They were wearing identical white lace dresses. Mona’s head lay on Criselda’s shoulders. The sun was just starting to peek up. Mona had enjoyed getting dressed with Criselda.

watching seagulls wet females laughing children with their families dads looking down white lace remember her white lace hold this thought forever white garter belt black lacquered toenails translucent glowing droplets of blood on the upper thigh teeth glow glow glow don’t leave the shadow people will come back

For the first time in a very long while, Mona was at peace. Revenge was complete.



“Next season, when the rides are open again can we ride the Carousel?”

By Peter Marra
Peter’s earliest recollection of the writing process is, as a 1st grader, constructing a children’s book with illustrations. The only memory he has of this project is a page that contained a crayon drawing of an airplane, caught in a storm. The caption read: “The people are on a plane. It is going to crash. They are very scared.” His parents were always disturbed by that 1st book and particularly by his love for writing.

His poems explore alienation, addiction, love, the havoc that secrets can wreak and obsessions. He has been published in many online and print publications, including Literary Orphans, Danse Macabre, Maintenant 4 & 5, Caper Literary Journal, and Why Vandalism?, as well as an interview in Yes, Poetry. A record of his published work may be found at http://www.angelferox.com. Peter’s e-chapbook, Sins of the Go-Go Girls is published by Why Vandalism? Press and is available as a free download at Why Vandalism: Sins of the Go-Go Girls (Four Scenes) by Peter Marra