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Dogs in the Drywall

This is my final text of this story, as heard on Season 10, Episode 9 of the No Sleep Podcast.

I hear the dogs before I see them. It’s Monday morning, I’m in the bathroom stall, pants down, pretending to shit and making polite throat-clearing noises every few minutes. The rotten vegetable green paint on the walls never fails to give me a headache, so I have my eyes shut tight. Still, I can spend twenty minutes here, three to four times a day, eating up an hour. More if you factor in the round trip from office to toilets.

My legs are numb despite my best efforts to restore circulation. That’s my cue to stand up, to go through the motions of wiping, to flush, and to pretend to wash my hands. Before I can lurch upward, I hear them, inside the wall to my right. Nails clicking on pressboard and metal. Fur scraping drywall. Breath like a shuddering air conditioning vent. It’s right next to me, too big to be a rat, and far too real. I spin away, dopey grin on my face in some idiot desire to catch someone’s eye, to have a shared moment of surreal “did you hear that?” camaraderie, but I’m alone in the handicapped stall of a men’s restroom.

The sound drifts away, vanishing at the corner of the walls. I’ve almost forgotten it as I wash my hands, getting them wet and soapy for real, feeling unaccountably dirty. I head back into the office with measured slowness, in no hurry sit at my desk and stare with mock pensiveness at a spreadsheet. I smile at the receptionist, a quick shy twitch. She has the decency to return the gesture, but I see her reflection in the glass wall as I pass, and I know she will crinkle her nose and scowl at my back. Five times a day, a quick scowl, then she forgets me.

The twins, on opposite sides of my low cubicle walls, share a smirk when I return. One taps an expensive watch and the other snickers. Then they turn back to monitors wantonly displaying fashion and travel sites. Both college football sub-stars turned financial middlemen, I still can’t tell them apart, even though one is black and the other is blonde. Dueling scents of designer colognes fill the air and I feel sick. Monday is a long day, but it ends. It must.

Tuesday, I hear them again on my way to the toilets. They’re shadowing me in the hall, inside the walls. I hear a snarl like the whine of an electric drill depressed in bursts. I should be frightened, but I’m giddy at this bizarre interruption of routine. When I stop, the metallic clatter of nails continues past the elevators and restrooms, towards the empty offices that once contained an investment firm on the far end.

It occurs to me that I may be imagining this business with the dogs. I haven’t seen anything, only heard vague noises. So why do I have a clear picture of them in my head, lean and wolfish with beady eyes?

I let my bathroom break go an extra ten minutes, as long as I can before the twins will turn silent jeers into outright verbal abuse, and I’ll have to acknowledge them. The thought makes me ill.

Back in the office, it becomes clear I’ve missed another meeting. I stand outside the conference room, unsure whether to enter late, or slip away unseen. Over my shoulder, I catch the receptionist frowning at me, her pretty brown eyes turned down in what, at my most charitable, I would call sad sympathy. The look you give a transient dying in the gutter.

The glass doors to the meeting room spill open. I hear one of the twins guffaw as the other drawls: “Well, holeeeee shit.” I fake a coughing spell and retreat to the kitchen to drink four glasses of water, hoping to speed the next trip to the bathroom along.

It’s Wednesday when I first see the dogs, and they are dogs. It’s curled up, sleeping at the end of the hallway, so far away that it looks like a ragged heap of discarded grey clothing at first. But when I stop and squint at it, it uncoils, a slinky, silent movement that leaves it standing and facing me.

I have the distinct feeling that the eyes are glowing, and I feel, rather than hear, the grinding sounds of its growl. Before I can make out anymore details, it darts sideways, into the wall and through it, leaving only a chalky stain on the unbroken surface.

It takes me a moment to realize I’ve stopped breathing. I am certainly not going any farther down the hallway. Turning on one heel, I re-enter the office. Too quick. I startle the receptionist out of her good graces, and one of the twins stands up to stare. The other whistles from between two perfect front teeth.

There’s a sodden patch beneath my right armpit, and an acrid tang of fear and panic leak from my asymmetrical sweat glands. The twins are aware too, and a few other drones rise up from their cubicles to see me, disheveled and unkempt.

For the first time in… months? Years? I wait to go to the restroom until I actually have to go. I enter the hallway with eyes locked to the ground. But I can still hear them, growling in low, machine tones. I’m almost to the restroom doors when I look up to get my bearings. The dogs are right in front of me.

Three of them, lean and wolfish, like I’d imagined. But that’s where the similarity stops. They’re ragged and filthy; a chalky dust coats their matted wiry fur. Lean doesn’t even begin to cover it. In the front, skin stretches across a canine ribcage, but behind the ribs, beneath the knotted spine is… nothing. Flesh wrapped around a narrow backbone. The back legs have some strange, rumbling threat of power, but they are nothing but literal skin and bones.

At the end of each skeletal leg is something I have to stare at for a long liquid moment before I can accept it. Instead of paws, they have tiny, desiccated hands. The hands of a child mummy behind museum glass, only these hands terminate in perfect, shiny wood screws that rasp against the institutional grey carpet.

One of the dogs growls again, a power tool with a battery winding down, and I drag my protesting eyes to look at the thing’s head. A shark tooth smile of gleaming metal nails, beneath two gleaming LED eyes, bright and painful to look at.

I’m not going to the bathroom. I will find a corner of the office, and I will piss into a coffee mug and dump it into a fake potted plant.

But it’s too late. The lead dog, a foot taller than the others, stalks towards me. The little hands coil into fists, then splay outward with each step, wood screw nails clicking together. It’s panting, and a tongue like a rotting grey slab of meat darts between gleaming nails. The other two dogs are giggling, a low breathy chortle.

I turn and run. It lunges after me, howling like a fire alarm and that’s when I realize how fucked I am. Where my office door should be, there’s only a featureless hallway, stretching on for miles ahead of me. A perfect geometric vanishing point of architecture. No doors. Nothing.

A keening wail of despair fills my throat, and I pump my legs, but without any point of reference, I’m not even sure I’m moving.

It leaps for me, the sound of little clawed hands on the floor ceasing. Screws pierce my shirt and flesh. The blow sends me reeling to the floor where I shred my elbows and knees against the carpet.

I have time to roll over before it’s on top of me, tiny grey hands clutching at my forearms as I try to bat it away. The mouth opens, jaw unhinging too far, and the dead tongue slides to one side. From deep within the black maw, with the stale scent of plaster and ozone, something slithers into view. A neon green and shiny tentacle that splits and splays open like a flower.

Wires. Copper wires with green plastic coating, spreading open like an anemone. At the tips, the plastic peels apart, melting, blackening, dripping away in plumes of sizzling, greasy smoke. The naked wire at each tip gleams, dancing in the fluorescent light.

My arms go slack, drifting across rough fur that can only be fiberglass insulation. A writhing mass of wires spread out across my vision, each pointed tip glowing red hot as it reaches forward to embrace me. The skin on my face is taut in the heat, and my bladder releases, wet and warm, and it’s almost comforting, like surrendering to sleep.

The dog clenches all four of its little hands at once, a spasming embrace. The wood screws dig deep into my chest and thighs, and it thrusts its broken maw onto my face. The wires burrow deep, and my body erupts in a thousand boiling points of crystal white pain. The wires pierce my eyes with a hiss, the heat quenched in the water of my body. I scream into the thing’s open throat as it howls back into mine.

I suck in a breath to scream again, inhale chalky drywall dust and start to cough convulsively, leaning forward in my chair and spattering my monitor with phlegm. Disoriented, I squint my eyes against the sudden light, and I try to scream again but it just comes out as a strangled cough.

One of the twins is standing and staring, no clever joke on his lips. He’s not the only one. The office is quiet, and a field of heads like prairie dogs poke up from behind cubicle walls, all swiveled over to look at me.

My shirt is untorn, my face unflayed. My pants are soaked, of course, the urine already cooling, but I can’t stand up now. I manage some facial contraction that passes for a smile and turn to my monitor, dismiss the Wikipedia article on the screen, and bring up a spreadsheet.

None of them want to ask if I’m okay, but only the twins return to mockery. I hear them whispering the words ‘piss’ and ‘stench’ over the next few hours.

When it’s dark outside the tinted windows, and I’m the last one in the office, I head to the kitchen, stripping naked and running water over the salt stain in my khakis. I relieve myself in the sink. I won’t be going back into the bathroom.

I must brave the hallway to go home, that much is inescapable. With my few possessions in hand, my coat, my empty ornamental briefcase, I step back into the hall. The pack is at the far end of the hallway. Their pinprick LED lights track me, but they do not follow.

The big one pants, a sound almost like the twins’ mocking laughter, as copper wires dance at the corners of its jaws, but they do not approach me. They let me reach the halfway point, and in a gesture that feels like an insult, they turn away, ignoring me as I stab the elevator buttons.

The car comes without incident. They don’t even watch as I board. The elevator, I find, has too many buttons, and I have questions I shouldn’t have. What floor am I on? Which floor has the exit?

The numbers descend to “1”, then “L”, then “B”. I hit all three buttons, taking my chances. The car obliges, sliding downward, away from the dogs. The ride takes longer than it has any right to be, and the digital display is dark and quiet. There are no chimes between floors, and I’m left to make pointless estimates of height and time as I go down.

Floor 1 is offices, a twin of my own floor, whose number I can no longer remember. But there are no dogs. The doors part on “L”, and a wave of light, sound, and smells assault me. Morning sun and the thrumming sounds of people and business. Men and women in fresh-pressed, clean suits step onto the elevator before I can get off, smells of breakfast and coffee and bagged lunches with ham sandwiches.

I’m too stunned to move. How long was I on the elevator? Or in the hallway, with the dogs? Before I come to my senses, the doors close again, the passengers giving me a wide berth, barely concealed disgust as they eye my stained pants and damp underarms. They make a show of covering their noses, grandstanding like vaudeville performers, and I see one of the twins, a grin like ice as he shakes his head.

If they hate me now, it’s worse when they realize I still have the “B” button lit up, and the elevator slides downward. Now their contempt is vocalized in little coughs and sighs. The twin chuckles, low and dry, eyes locked on me until I stare down at my shoes. When the door opens on the basement, a concrete hallway with exposed pipes, I think about running, spending the rest of my days in the solitude of underground. But I can’t bear the shame of moving, so I let the doors shut, aware of their hateful sidelong gazes.

We ride in silence. People depart at each floor, and when the twin steps off the car, I join him, still unable to recall what floor we work on. I follow him at a safe distance down the hall, clutching my jacket and briefcase, aware in the delicate scent trail of his expensive soaps how awful I must smell. I contemplate darting into the bathroom to hide, but my body stumbles, numb, toward the office door.

The dogs trail me inside the walls. Metal nails clicking on concrete. Fiberglass fur scratching drywall. I hurry through the door.

The office is in full swing, everyone moving with coffee-fueled purpose, but they stop to stare at me. I pass like a leper. The receptionist regards me with what feels, for a moment, like true sympathy, and I want to cry, fall at her feet and beg for forgiveness. But she’s cupping a pretty hand over her nose and scurrying away.

My desk is a thousand miles away. They’re all looking at me, they know something is wrong. I never fit in here before, but it’s different now. By lunchtime, they’ll have pitchforks and torches.

I need to leave. I failed once, but I will leave this time, and I will not come back. No paycheck, no health insurance is worth this.

My briefcase drops from my numb fingers and I turn back towards the front door. One of the twins cracks that it’s early for my bathroom break and I break into a run.

The dogs aren’t in the hallway, but the elevators are destroyed, dented doors hanging askew to reveal an empty shaft that drops away into blackness. A breeze comes from far below, cool and pleasant, with a smell that reminds me of childhood. Like a garden hose in summer on a hot and dusty sidewalk.

That pleasing little thread of memory evaporates, leaving only the black abyss of the elevator shaft. I know I have to go home, but I have no idea where it is, or how to get there. A hand wraps around my heart. A gray and withered child’s hand.

The elevator shaft calls to me, and I have the powerful urge to leap through them. Instead, I turn and enter the bathroom.

I’m unsurprised to see the color of the walls is not green, but a pale blue, and that there are now three urinals and two stalls instead of the other way around. This is the closest thing I had to a comfortable space, of course, why should it remain that way?

The dogs are here. One is lapping in a toilet with its rotten grey tongue, and another is scratching against the metal door of the stall, screw-nails leaving shining furrows. Up close, I see cheap ballpoint pens and paperclips matted in their fur.

The big one is right there, smiling at me. I don’t even perceive movement before he’s on me, clutching hands shredding my arms and legs. I sit hard on my ass, the ringing impact against the tiles sending stars shooting across my eyes.

It drops its lower jaw like a hinge, and I smell burning plastic. The flower of green and copper wires emerges, spreading open to embrace me. If I were not wholly empty, I would soil myself and wail, but I am a shell. An angry hateful shell.

I scream something that must be fuck you but comes out as an ululating babble and I reach up and grab the bundle of wires at the base, hard. Some of the wires curl back to pierce my hand, but I squeeze tighter, and then wrap the other hand around the dogs neck, feeling the metal and plastic frame beneath the fiberglass fur, and I pull. I fucking pull.

It inverts.

Like reaching into a bag and pulling at the bottom, it turns inside out. The dog falls back in on itself as its guts come tumbling out in a rain of disposable coffee cups, brown plastic door stops, and the bright green fabric leaves of fake plants. Where before there were four limbs and the embrace of wire, now a thousand writhing tentacles of metal cabling and plastic tubing lash out with sudden purpose, entombing me. Every inch of what the dog has become reaches out, a thousand prehensile artificial snakes, each one fixed on piercing my heart and drinking me dry.

My body convulses without aim, kicking off the wall and sliding beneath the sinks, but I wear the thing like a perfect suit, molded to ever contour of my body. It’s skinning me, lacerating and abrading my flesh away. When it starts to grind bone in a dozen places, I open my mouth to scream and, it spills inside me. Bitter plastic tendrils force their way down my throat.

I retch, spewing bitter yellow bile onto my desk, over the sticky keyboard.

There is no blood on my filthy skin, but I stink more than ever, the tang of fear and sweat stings my eyes almost more than the smell of vomit on my desk. The twins are staring at me. Jokes forgotten. They look afraid, and for a moment I savor it. I stand up, and I think about spitting at one of them.

But then I see the dogs. Dozens of them, moving through the office without a sound. Devouring.

No one sees the things that eat them. One of the twins has only one leg, the other a raw stump picked clean by a blossom of hot wires. His dog crouches beneath him like a faithful pet.

I run without thought, headlong towards the door. The receptionist looks shocked, fearful of me and my sudden flight. But she doesn’t seem to mind that her dog has chewed a hole in her stomach to root around up in her ribcage with tiny, clutching dead hands, as everything inside her spills out around her pleated skirt.

A dozen other scenes of casual carnage slide past as I hit the door without slowing down. In the hallway, the dogs, my dogs, emerge, passing through the walls in a puff of plaster dust. They keep pace with me while I run. A game, like chasing cars. They could down me at any time, but they seem to enjoy the exercise.

The elevators are still yawning black holes, but I see the emergency staircase next to it and I throw my shoulder into the door. The stairwell is dim and cramped, the dogs don’t follow. I keep on running downward, taking the stairs three, four at a time. I don’t slow until I’ve dropped at least two dozen floors. Too many floors.

What stops me dead is a sudden realization: there are no more doors. There are no numbers. There are only stairs.

I keep going. For an hour at least. Past a hundred empty landings. After a while, it doesn’t make any sense to go any further down.

So I go up. For a day or more. The door to my floor is gone. I keep going. My body screams for sleep, but I know it will only give up and die, and by god I want to let it, but not here. Not in this building. I will die outside.

A thousand flights of stairs pass, and finally, the staircase ends. A sign.

Roof Access.

It’s twilight outside. A cool night the color of a bruise, smelling of car exhaust. The rooftop is empty, just a wide field of cracked tiles. I stare out across a city I don’t recognize. A meaningless field of identical towers. I breathe. Deep and clear. I think about my promise to myself. This counts. I’m outside the building. I think this means I win.

It’s enough. I smile, and enjoy the quiet.

When the stars come out, I’m ready. I step up to the edge of the building, look down at the streets below, and slip off my shoes.

I spread my arms wide, and I step out into the open air.

My legs impact just a few feet below, on carpet. Shocked, I tilt backwards and crash into a heavy oaken table. I lose my balance and go down onto the conference room floor. Above me, fluorescent lights hum. Everything spins.

After a while, I stand up. My shoes are perched on the table, next to the telephone. At the door to the meeting room, they’re clustered, staring in at me. Shocked. Horrified. I can see beyond the frosted glass that everyone is here, pressed to get a good look at me, leaping to my death from a three foot wooden table.

Fuck them. I pick up a chair and hurl it at the glass. It explodes outward, raining down in a thousand safe little pieces, but it’s enough to scatter the goddamn scavengers. I have more chairs. I throw a few more, once a half hour or so if any of them get too close. The dogs slide between them, unseen. The flying chairs don’t scare them of course, they seem content just to watch.

At some point I doze off, only to wake to strong, firm hands on my shoulders, helping me to my feet. I want to weep at how good it feels to have someone not shirk away from me in fear and disgust, to be touched. I don’t recognize these two men in dark uniforms, but they’re whispering soothing platitudes to me, and I buy in, fully. Yes, it will be all right. Yes they will help me. Yes, It is going to be okay.

They guide me to the door, and out into the hall, and I’m not scared. I smile at the receptionist as I go, and I don’t care that she looks like she wishes I was already dead. I understand.

In the hallway, the men are no longer trying to soothe me, just hustling me forward towards the waiting elevator. Inside, there are no buttons, just doors that slide shut on us like a mouth, and I know it’s not going to be okay.

One of the two men smiles. Behind the grin, I hear the skittering dance of copper wires against his perfect white teeth.

The new sense of purpose that comes over me is cool and hollow. If I can’t escape this place, then by god I can hurt it, as much as its hurt me. I brace myself, planting one foot on the elevator floor, and tense my body in preparation to strike. These men, the dogs, they’re nothing more than extensions of the building, mindless hands reaching out from a rotten, hateful abyss.

It thinks it has me in its grasp. Maybe it does. But I will not go willingly. I will bite back, and when I sink my teeth in, I will not let go. If this place will not let me die, then so be it. I will make it kill me.

 

This one snuck up on me. I wrote it all this weekend in just a few sittings. A bizarre idea I had while walking down a hallway in my office stuck with me, and a later nightmare provided a complementary series of images (the grasping tentacles of wires from a snake hinged jaw), and pretty soon it was out of my control.

I knew exactly where the story would go before I started writing, something that brings its own curious problems. This feels overlong for its slight subject matter, so it probably needs a more savage edit than usual. This also feels like something I would used to write, a largely interior monologue about subjective horrors, from an unreliable narrator. I like this structure. A lot, but I wonder if I shouldn’t be done with it. The other projects I have going at the moment are almost frighteningly novel, so there was something comfortable about banging this out so fast.

At any rate, I’d love to hear your feedback, as always. I feel like the rust is flaking away as I start to write again, but don’t let me get away with bullshit. Call me on it. I’m counting on you.

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Happy Halloween – Three New Stories

Hello, all. It’s been a while, as things have been quiet for me on the fiction front. Until this month – in October, I had three new stories, in three new venues. All these stories are linked by a common thread of parental anxiety, viewed from three different angles.

Last Halloween – The newest residents of a perfect community grapple with the bargain they made to be here. Available for free on the FLAPPERHOUSE website, or in print as part of FLAPPERHOUSE 19

The Shrike – A grieving mother finds an unlikely focus for her grief and anger. Available to read or listen for free (Read by Sandra M Odell) at Pseudopod, the horror fiction podcast.

The Green Tunnel – A wounded woman tries to lose herself solo hiking the Appalachian Trial. Available in the latest issue of Lamplight Magazine.

All of these venues mean a great deal to me, and I’m honored to have such perfect homes for this anxious little trilogy. In due time, I will post the complete texts of these stories here, but I hope you’ll check out all three.

Happy Halloween, and I’ll see you soon.

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Welcome Back

Hello, and welcome to my collection of weird tales and horror fiction for your enjoyment and criticism. I’ve always found that feedback from people not obligated to say nice things has been the best tool for continuing to hone my writing. Here are four of the newest stories for your consideration.

  • Axis Mundi – Loops and whorls of the dead sketching glyphs and geometric shapes drift around the ghost ship, held close by the Yggdrasil’s gentle gravity. 
    • A horror-sci fi story about advanced humans making first contact with an isolated group of humans who’ve been trapped aboard an ancient generation ship.
  • The Crisis Somewhere, swimming in the night above, there are eyes. There are eyes like black stars, and they see me.
  • Digger’s Lament – The voice in the dark laughed, a throaty whisper of mirth. “You are Palta Qynes, and you are no man of the Emperor. You are a digger, and a criminal, and a betrayer.”
    • A fantasy novella following two miscreant archeologists sifting through the ruins of the kingdoms of dead gods.
  • Mapping the Crooked Places  – The blooming corpse-flower smell surged, hotter and brighter than ever, and if I could have scaled the air itself to ascend to the roof above me, I would have clawed through, ground my fingers to the bone.
    • A new version of my story about addiction, architecture, and urban obsession. If you’re familiar with the original version, I think this new take is greatly improved.

Beyond that, look around in the Library on sidebar, and you’ll find a variety of older short horror stories for your enjoyment. As always, I am very grateful for your interest, and would be happy to hear any comments or criticism you have. 

If you have any questions or want to reach me for any reason, don’t hesitate to contact me, and you’ll find other various ways to keep up with like Twitter and Facebook.

If you’re looking to inquire about freelance writing for games, or of any sort, head on over to my professional website for my business contact details.

Thank you again for your interest, and enjoy.

The Crisis

I was fortunate enough to be invited to submit to Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward’s “Shadows Over Main Street” anthology, which merged Lovecraft inspired stories with small-town Americana. My contribution started with my interest in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the sense of pending apocalypse nested in my own safe conception of the past, and unspooled from there.

If you enjoy this blend of Mythos and Mayberry, then check out the rest of collection, featuring stories from Nick Mamatas, Gary Braunbeck, Lucy Snyder, Josh Malerman, and more. The second edition is available at Amazon, and many other booksellers.

 

Erica holds onto my hand as we sit on the couch and stare into the wide eye of her father’s color TV. Her sweaty palm pulses in time with her galloping heartbeat, and she sucks at the air in noisy hiccups. I have to press my lips together to keep from screaming at her to be quiet.

They’re showing the photographs again, the new ones. All week in school we’ve talked about missiles and blast radiuses and blockades, the approach of halloween all but forgotten. Our paper-mache masks, two grinning witches, sit half-finished in the corner, casualties of the Crisis. But it’s all changed again, and we can’t catch up.

“The purpose and function of the structure are still anyone’s guess, but by now it’s clear that the Soviets had another purpose on the island of Cuba entirely. We still don’t have a good explanation for how a sinkhole of that size appeared seemingly over night.”

The man on the television repeats what he can about the new photographs as sweat beads on his upper lip, vivid and crisp on the Dahlberg’s new screen. The man on the television doesn’t know how to describe them, keeps tripping over his words as he tries to make sense of the aerial photographs. No one can. I can hear Mr. Dahlberg screaming in the kitchen, loud and angry.

As of an hour ago, there’s been no more communication with the USSR, and the President’s demands for an explanation have gone unanswered.” Continue reading “The Crisis”

Digger’s Lament

Digger’s Lament is a side story to an epic science-fantasy trilogy I’ve had percolating in my head for a little over five years. Palta and Ananda were supposed to be minor secondary characters, but they are the first to hit the page. Robert Helmbrecht at the sadly defunct Hazardous Press, who bought my first ever story, asked me to contribute to the anthology “Tales of the Black Arts” and I wrote the first draft in one night. I’m more than a little in love with these two characters and have a pair of other adventures in mind for them before I tackle the Big Trilogy, “This Side of the Blue”.

In the night, the valley was so filled with smoke that Palta could not make out the dimmest guidestars. He had a dozen other ways to divine the time and his location, but it still filled him with a slippery dread, a feeling of being half-lost and pointed in the wrong direction. His tent, barely half the size of the reeves’ tents and still stinking of the marsh crossing, seemed to close in on him like a fist as he tried to catch a few fitful moments of sleep.

He’d wet his scarf and tied a thin strip to his face, but the sharp stench of the burned town and a hundred cook-fires crept through, clinging to the soft tissue of his eyes and nose. Outside, he could hear the 17th Expeditionary Host of Imperial Kattaka, the insectile buzz of a thousand men talking grimly by the fires, reeking of dismay and unease. He knew it wouldn’t be long until they started to blame him for the men who’d died that day.

Continue reading “Digger’s Lament”

Metapost: Hello Again

Hello all.

It’s been too long. Since last I posted, I haven’t had the chance to write much fiction, the notable exceptions being Axis Mundi and First Souls in FLAPPERHOUSE, as well as The Crisis in Shadows on Main Street. I spent most of my creative time on Rise of the Tomb Raider, and while I miss writing for myself, I am immensely fond of my contributions to that game. If you played it, you may have seen a few very short horror stories of mine in the games collectible documents, but now that I have transitioned over to being a freelance writer, my hope is that I’ll be able to spin up the prose engine again

Over the next few months, I will be posting some stories that first appeared in print, but I now will be able to share with you, including my fantasy novella “Digger’s Lament” and others, so please keep an eye out for those updates, and some other news as I am allowed to share it.

As always, thank you for reading.

Metapost: Welcome Redux, New Stories, and Thank You, Kris.

I woke up to a particularly loud telephone yesterday morning, alerting me to some sort of twitter goings-on. As it happens, an artist and writer I greatly admire, Kris Straub, had posted a new installment of his “Scared Yet” web-series, and this episode was focused on my stories. I’m flattered by what Kris had to say, and if you’ve found your way here through him, I’m grateful for the exposure. “Candle Cove” is one of the handful of stories in this new-internet-horror-genre that was instrumental in getting me to write creepypastas in the first place, so I’m giddy that the mutual admiration goes both ways.

Kris is currently in the second book of Broodhollow, his blend of classic cartooning and magnificently realized horror. Broodhollow has been hitting on all cylinders since the first strip, and has only grown more tangled, dense, and horrific. The plotting, the use of the format and art styles, the delicate blend of gallows humor and grim dread, and interior and exterior threats, all work hand in hand. The seemingly disparate elements support and enhance one another like complimentary flavors. It’s one of only two webcomics on my RSS feed, and without a doubt the best horror comic I’ve yet read. If you haven’t read it, start at the beginning…

If you’ve come here thanks to Kris, the stories he suggested, North, East, Sick (or, the Algorithm), Thaw, and Barricade can be found at the right, or clicking here. Please poke around, and if you have any feedback, criticism or questions, I am always grateful. The fantastic film version he mentioned of “Sick, or The Algorithm”, by Tom Festo can be found here. As for the pen name, Kris was correct, that came from my old 4chan days. I picked that pen name as a bit of a joke, acknowledging the pastiche and outright theft I was engaged in at the time. I’m more confident in my voice now, so I’ve dropped the pseudonym, but it continues to be the name I’m most known by.

For new and old visitors, if you’re looking for news or more conent, click through for a couple of updates for what I’ve been engaged in or otherwise up to.

Continue reading “Metapost: Welcome Redux, New Stories, and Thank You, Kris.”