Gerry Kearns was a good woman. Her husband was the president of the chamber of commerce and his family was quite wealthy, so she didn't need to work. Instead, she spent twenty hours a week as a candy striper at the local hospital. She was on the board for the local no-kill shelter and always did her best to make sure the family donated whatever money and food items they could when the local food drives came up.
So when the man limped up to her in the parking garage, she didn't think twice about trying to help him get his unruly dog in the van. She only had to see the cast on his leg and that large heart of hers took over. She had spent the latter part of her life working hard to help people. That sort of training caused a type of forgetfulness when it came to personal safety.
As she maneuvered the Golden retriever into the white, windowless, heavy duty work van the man who had requested her aid grinned and pulled the trigger on his taser. Before she could process what was happening, Gerry had been shoved onto the floor of the van and was suffering convulsions. The dog leapt out and the man just let him run off. He had no further use for the dog. After all, he had only taken it as bait for her.
Pleased with himself, the kidnapper shut the back doors of the van, and after removing the false cast he'd donned earlier he climbed up into the driver's seat while whistling a jaunty tune. He pulled the van out cautiously from the parking structure, holding the taser in his right hand in case he needed to deliver another round of incapacitating voltage into her.
It had taken him awhile to realize the superiority of the taser over the stun gun. With the taser he could zap her as many times as he wanted, or needed, to. At least until the leads fell from her flesh due to the convulsions that were knocking them about.
It gave him much more control. He sighed, heavily regretting his first kill. It had been so sloppy, but that was to be expected after all, he was new to this art. Now though, well these days he had knowledge only few did and was intimately familiar with dealing death blows. There were no mistakes any more. Hadn't been in years.
He drove her to his cabin, alternately singing and whistling for the better part of the trip. Oh, he loved how his mind was so clear after he had found one. Without his Angels things got muddled but when he found one of them he knew it was his job to send them back to heaven to be with God. This world was not safe for these beings and it was left to him to teach them that.
Once he actually convinced one of them to see his point. She ended her own life and returned to the House of the Lord forever. He was excited for his own death. He couldn't wait to see the reward he would reap for the good work he had been doing on earth.
He was brought back into the present by a whimper that had escaped from Gerry. He held down the trigger and she went quiet as her body stiffened from the current running through it.
He was home. Safe, with her in his arms. Things were looking good. He took her to the basement and immediately started on her education of the world. Using a riding crop he did his level best to split the flesh on her back and bottoms of her feet. This would teach her about the pain she would find in this world.
He never defiled them, just made sure the Angels were reunited with the God that they so selflessly served. His father told him what a good guy he was to do this for them. There had been so many lucky creatures that had passed his way and he looked back on every one of them lovingly.
He tortured her nightly for nearly two weeks. He was good at torture and knew just when to stop so as not to break their spirits too easily. He was keeping her docile with a hefty dose of Ketamine.
Sedated by the animal tranquilizer, Gerry was living out a hell she could never have imagined existed. Reality was sucked away along with her will. As day blended into night all she knew was that she was being punished and she didn't understand why.
She saw there lived a giant spider in her corner of the basement. During a severe hallucination from the Ketamine she spoke with the arachnid and was told he was sorry she was there. She spoke with the spider almost daily and sometimes when the drugs were too potent, the spider talked back. Sometimes the spider grew so large she just knew it was going to eat her.
As the days turned to weeks she became a bit more used to the drugs and began thinking clearly. At times she thought clear enough to realize she needed to start planning her escape.
She was not too far removed from humanity. From her little corner she could see the security camera he had set up. People came by all the time. No one could hear her scream. A plan began formulating in her mind, one that would change her soul even more so than the torture she had endured.
She would have to kill him. His death would make her world safe again and she had to make sure no one else suffered the way she had been. A closer examination of her bonds revealed she was stuck in a handcuff/leg shackle combo (similar to what is used in jail) and that it was affixed to a chain which had been wrapped around several wooden support beams in the basement and padlocked closed.
One day a large group of people showed up as if he was having some sort of party. It was a perfect time for her to escape. He'd come down and told her the horrors she would face if she tried to leave or get any of his guests' attention. She had to risk it though, there might not be a chance for her to run again. He never cleaned her wounds and several of the bloody welts were starting to reek with infection. She badly needed medical help. Not to mention psychiatric. After a fourth car pulled up the driveway she began looking around for her salvation.
Her gaze swept the room searching for anything that could be used to undo the handcuffs. She whimpered, clawing through the drawers on the tool chest nearest her, hoping to find something that could break, cut, or pick the restraints.
She found an old claw hammer and tried using her left hand to smash the links of the chain connecting the cuffs to the shackles. She knew from experience that the basement was soundproofed in some way because her screams and cries brought no response from any one of the people who had visited him while she was being held. She didn't worry about the noise of the metal hammer on the chains for this reason.
It wasn't long before the link she was hammering gave way and her hands were free from her legs. Now came the hard part, trying to free her hands from each other. The shackles gave her a couple feet of movement and after some attempts she found that if needed to she could run with them on. She wanted to get her hands free first. If he came down for any reason she wanted to be able to fight him. So grabbing the hammer in her teeth she attempted to bang the links in between her wrist cuffs trying to free her hands completely.
It wasn't working. She couldn't get the force needed to provide any serious blow to the links. She decided to try something else and started banging on the metal band around her wrist, with the other hand. She held back her screams as hit after hit fell upon her aching, raw wrist. Before too long she heard a weird click and the mangled cuff fell open.
She allowed herself ten seconds to celebrate before moving on to the other wrist. In her excitement she hit the cuff too hard and heard a loud crack as she fractured her wrist. She howled with the agony and as the pain dulled to a throbbing she noticed that she had managed to open that cuff as well.
Taking the hammer into her good hand she began beating at the leg shackles with a renewed fervor. It wasn't long before her legs were free. She sobbed with joy and moved for the stairs.
All she could do was hope that no one saw her. She crept up the basement stairs whispering prayer after prayer under her breath. That same breath caught in her throat when the squeak of rusty hinges announced the opening of the basement door.
He had forgotten to lock it! What luck! She was thanking God and looking around the room she had come out into. It was a den, and it was expensive. Whomever had kidnapped her didn't do it for the money. This thought scared her instantly. Money was a motivation she could understand. Greed was found the world over but if there was no reason for greed...than why?
She peered around the corner and gasped quietly. It was a huge group of people. They were all standing around a tv. She craned her neck and saw what they were watching. It was her. She gasped again then her bladder quickly emptied down her legs as two dozen people stared at her with an unnatural hunger. The oddest thing happened and money exchanged hands. At that point the realization dawned on her that they were betting on her life.
She stared dumbly at a board with odds scribbled across it. Everything from whether or not she would cry whole tortured to 'would she try to escape' was covered. The people who had been visiting the house all this time had not only heard her screams, all of them, but they had also bet on them. Her pain had been their boon.
He looked at her and was overcome with sadness. She had been a fun Angel to play with but Daddy always said that the odds must lay with the house. He sighed his regret and fired the entire clip of his P226 into her brain. "Guess Charlie needs a new angel, huh Dad?"
Thursday, April 12, 2012
My husband's uncle passed last week after a year long battle with cancer. He was buried today instead of last week because he wouldn't have wanted to upset anyone's Easter plans. Yes, that is the amazing angel we were all blessed to know. He was a selfless and loving man and thankfully, he has passed these traits on to his children. I am forever blessed to be a part of the Johnesee, Kowalski, and Glitz family. They are the most loving and wonderful souls it has ever been my luck to encounter. With my health being all kinds of wonky I don't have many good days and have missed more family functions than I attended and regardless of how many I have missed they still greet me with open arms and hearts when I am able to attend. So in honor of Uncle Ron Kowalski I will be putting up a free short story on my website. A story that he helped inspire two years ago during an extended family vacation to Myrtle Beach. We had gone to dinner at a Brazillian steakhouse that both Ron and Pat, his angel of a wife, enjoyed. Watching the waiters walk around with large hunks of meat on spikes titillated the horror author in me and so, being one who cannot refuse my muse I began writing a story set amid the same beautiful atmosphere in which I was surrounded. An atmosphere that had more to do with the loving family around the table than the ambience of the restaurant decor. Several paragraphs in, I came to my senses and realized exactly how rude I was being. Seated at the table hunting and pecking away on my little smartphone's notepad, grinning goofily to myself as I rode the story alongside my characters, I stopped, looked up, and noticed several sets of eyes on me. Upon realizing my faux pas I began apologizing profusely and everyone just smiled and laughed, including Uncle Ron who said something along the lines of "Don't worry about it, I was just surprised to see someone write so much on such a little object." I put away the beginning of the story and enjoyed dinner with these amazing and so very tolerant folks. That trip is the best vacation I have ever had in my life and I only wish more of the family had been able to come. Uncle Ron was quick to smile and kind to everyone. He was the sort of person that could turn your day from sour to good in just a few minutes. There was a light in him that shines on in his family, a light that shows the world just what wonderful people they are. I like to think it comes from the halos they're hiding. The whole family is full of these spectacular people. The Johnesee/Kowalski/Glitz family is one that inspires goodness in everyone they meet. So I will give you 'The Steakhouse' in Ron's memory and I hope you enjoy it. It is horror, I warn you. As much as I am surrounded by angels and light, my muse prefers to take me into the darker scarier places. It is in these spots that I can look back and rest assured that I am blessed with the most wonderful family any person could hope to have. For them, I will always be grateful.
Friday, April 6, 2012
Her life had stopped being her own when she had the kids. Marilyn didn't mind that. They were wonderful children and no mother could be prouder. What really bothered her was knowing that the Devil himself was going to come take them from her when they reached seventeen. He had told her so the night he had impregnated her. She sobbed into her duct taped hands and ignored the pain as he took her violently. Nine months later sweet little Sarah and lovely Anthony were born. She'd had a difficult time carrying the twins and once had thought she had lost them. She had actually been ecstatic at the time. Of course she didn't realize just how much those kids would mean to her. As their fourth birthday appeared Marilyn decided to play things safe, if they looked different perhaps Satan would not recognize them and would leave them be. She had smiled as she carved into their faces ignoring their screams of pain and terror. She was doing this for them and that thought steeled her while she mutilated her babies. "Momma, will you sing us a song?" Sarah asked her one evening. "Yes dear girl, I'd love to." Marilyn began singing 'Hush Little Baby' to her sweet loving children. She was in bliss and sure that the Devil wouldn't get her kids now. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "What's her story?" one of the new interns asked Dr. Middin. "Who, Marilyn? It's a terrible tragedy. She had a loving husband who'd died, two months later a bookie showed up to collect a debt from him and when he'd found out her husband had passed he took the loan out on Marilyn. He raped and beat her for two whole days. As if that wasn't bad enough she conceived from the rape. It broke her, because she and her hubby had been trying so hard to have a child. She lost the baby when he was four months old. The bookie had found out that he'd sired the boy and came back to kill him. He raped her again. She broke with reality, thank goodness, and killed him while he was torturing her. Sadly it was too much for her to bear and she snapped." "Wow! That's awful." the intern pitied the poor woman. "She hasn't spoke a word in almost five years. She just hums some lullaby and screams occasionally. She'll have at least one psychotic break a day. I'm not sure which is worse, her torpors or her breaks." Dr. Middin sighed, he felt old. Treating people who had been so badly broken wasn't quite the rewarding experience he had been expecting. There were few things he hadn't seen and most made him lose utter faith in humanity. Marilyn's case was one of those that made him feel angry beyond rage. Not only was she not progressing but her condition seemed to be worsening. He just had to try and reach her again. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- When the intern headed off to empty some bedpans, a nurse slipped into Marilyn's room and whispered in her ear "I'm coming for you Mary. It's time to save you." he grinned as she stared off into space in horror. There was a part of him that blamed Marilyn for not getting well, and for refusing to respond to him. It pissed him off. The hospital wasn't paying him enough to deal with this crap. He'd decided that if they wouldn't get well then he would make them change. Sure most killed themselves, but some, like Marilyn, became bliss to play with. When his girlfriend had broken up with him he'd enjoyed "treating" a nymphomaniac named Jill. Yes they didn't pay him much but his job had many perks. Tormenting Marilyn and trying to anticipate her reaction was a favorite of his. "Your turn to die, Beelzebub." She said quietly as she approached Manny the night nurse from hell. She pulled a piece of metal from under the mattress and stabbed him in his right eye when he was leaning in to whisper more of those horrific things. "No one will blame me Devil for ending you. You cannot have my children and with you gone I can be free to enjoy my life with them." Manny had no idea what she was screeching, he was too busy trying to claw his way to the door. He felt her remove the shiv she had made from a piece of the bed springs and then his left eye went dark. Panic mode set in and he started wailing for help. His last thought was "I should have left the security camera on." as Marilyn stood over his prone body stabbing her attacker and praying internally to God. Manny was also praying to God but somehow his prayers went unanswered. The last thing he felt was the warmth of his own blood running down his throat when she severed his Carotid. "No Mr. Satan you won't have my children. They're mine and you can no longer touch them you vile beast." proud of herself Marilyn sat back and felt some semblance of safety for the first time since Larry died. When Dr. Middin arrived he found Manny dead on the floor and Marilyn laying peacefully on the bed a beatific smile lit her face and the doctor was surprised. He called for help and went to examine her. She would never respond to another soul again. She was with her children and was safe, the real world would never intrude on that safety.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
It had all started when Mt St Helens erupted years ago. A parasite living deep in the fiery bowels of the volcano was expelled along with the magma and gasses. This parasite had been dormant since the time of the dinosaurs and no one knew of its existence until it started using humans as its host. It started its rein of terror by invading the bodies found dead along the side of the highway. It realized quickly that the cold lifeless corpses of animals made unfulfilling hosts. They wanted something more intelligent, something larger so that they could breed and transfer their young out into the world. They came across a pre-school.
The children were out playing during their recess when the parasites invaded the playground. The kids never even saw it coming. One second little Mary Sue Greene was playing hopscotch the next she was groaning and shrieking. The teacher on guard watching the kids immediately ran to her and called into his walkie-talkie for an ambulance. It would have been the perfect thing to do if Mary was ill. Unfortunately Mary wasn’t ill; she was deceased. The creature that took over her body pushed the soul/being/human that was once Mary into the universe and claimed the body as its own. It buried itself into her brain and thoroughly enjoyed using her eyes to view the world and her tiny feet to walk.
It had never had to walk before, always relying on air currents to move. As it mastered the fine art of walking and using the girl’s arms it looked like Mary Sue was having a seizure. The adult attempted to restraint the girl but the thing that had taken over the child hissed at him, gnashing her teeth and slavering like a pitbull. The teacher called again on the radio asking for some help. That was when little Brian Dobkins attacked the teacher from behind. The sweet blonde haired boy ripped Mr. Carmichael’s left arm off as easily as it were tissue paper instead of living tissue. The blood spurted from the severed brachial artery and a sweet coppery redolence filled the air.
The parasites remembered how hungry they were and they steered the little bodies under their control towards the owner of the deliciously scented liquid. Ten children fell upon Randy Carmichael; their teeth biting and tearing, their hands grasping and ripping his flesh. As the parasites swallowed the gobbets of flesh belonging to 2002’s teacher of the year they realized how much they enjoyed the taste and feeling of the thick chucks of salty sweet flesh as it rode down their throats filling the hosts’ tiny stomachs. The parasites were disappointed when they realized the children’s tummy’s were too small to hold much more blood and flesh. They attempted to unburrow themselves but found they were unable to leave this host. Nature abhors a vacuum and since the creatures had ousted the previous bodies occupants they were stuck in the tiny flesh suits. They cried and screeched but no matter what they did they were stuck. Their thoughts then centered on reproduction.
A self replicating species, the parasite began laying and fertilizing eggs in the folds of the human’s brain. Both the parasites and their eggs were too small for human eyes to see. The principal came out to check on Mr. Carmichael and Mary Sue. To his unfortunate surprise the horde of children fell upon him snapping and manducating. The flesh didn’t stay down long as the tiny tummies of the hosts were too small to hold such delectable bounty. As the infected children vomited up pieces of the poor man they wished their offspring better host bodies than they had found. They passed on the knowledge that they would be stuck in the bodies they infected to their eggs.
While the eggs were being incubated, the parasite ridden children had been separated and contained. The CDC had been brought in to explain why the little kids of Good Morning Pre-school had turned cannibal. They found some of the parasite’s eggs embedded in a slice of brain tissue they had cut from a little boy’s brain when he stopped moving and expired suddenly. As they watched under the microscope the eggs hatched and the room was cleared and locked down. The rest of the children were gathered and placed into a similar room. Both were airtight and nothing was allowed to escape. For three weeks the CDC team waited and watched as one by one the children’s corpses began rotting. They made the mistake of believing the parasites to be dead. As is usual with humans they set their own stupidly erroneous parameters upon the deadly parasites.
When the man in charge of the Zombie Project opened the door to the containment room he was suited up and believed himself secure. The door whooshed open and thousands of unseen parasites flooded the building. They didn’t care what level protection the suits were they bored through the rubber and plastic until they reached the soft flesh of the humans below. They liked the bodies they pirated and used them well. As the new horde shambled from the building they looked for more people. More yummy, delicious people. Some preferred the salty taste of the brains and some liked the sweet breads best, but all enjoyed the thick sinewy flesh and hot, savory blood.
The four hundred employees of the CDC were now basically mindless creatures with ravenous appetites. As they opened the outer doors they let their fellow parasites out to find bodies of their own. As they reproduced they learned in time that their children could be taught to head for the mouth of the host to be released into the world through the host’s saliva. This meant that they did not have to die for their off spring to flourish. It also meant learning some measure of self-control as they could only bite a human once in order to implant the young ones. It was hard to suppress the instinct to rend the soft skin and eat it, but as always the urge to procreate outweighed the insatiable hunger and the yearning for flesh.
As time went on the horde grew larger and the parasites lived longer. They started choosing their hosts carefully for fear they’d be stuck in an loathful host. As time marched on; the aimless horde started becoming more and more like a family. They began watching out for each other and each others’ larvae. If they saw a zombie about to bite a human they knew to be unworthy they’d stop that zombie and eat the human. Communication began and the horde became a living, thinking, working entity. Unfortunately good food started to become scarce and the flabby lay-abouts that populated the Northwest and the Midwest became almost unpalatable to the horde. They scuffled southward in search of more muscular and tastier bodies to add to the family as well as eat. As they migrated they were unaware of the fact that the humans were starting to fight back. The people in the armed forces discovered that sarin gas worked quite well at killing the parasites and their eggs. A plan was put into place to destroy the swarm as it moved.
The humans in towns along the horde’s route were evacuated and the roads and towns surrounding the legion of zombies were isolated save for the encroaching beasties. The Air Force had been elected to fly over the horde and release a large cloud of sarin gas. As the zombies died their corpses would be tossed into a deep freeze containment unit in the unlikely event that any survived. It was thought that they might have a problem with the cold. The solution had presented itself when a stray zombie found it’s way into the meat locker at a grocery store. It lasted not three minutes before it died. Nobody understood why the cold killed them, they were just grateful that it did.
Hundreds of thousands of bodies lay twitching in the streets, the sarin gas killing most and leaving a few in a coma-like state. As the men in the rubber suits carried the bodies into the deep freeze they were terrified of becoming infected themselves. Once they finished hauling the corpses inside the containment area they closed and sealed the door then rejoiced in their triumph. Humans all over the world celebrated that night as every country forced their zombies into a deep freeze of their own. It became a world wide independence day of sorts and the festivities were grand. Fireworks were set off throughout the globe and parties were held on almost every block in nearly every neighborhood. People were dancing in the streets and whooping with joy. It was a grand time to be a human.
Meanwhile the parasites waited in the cold. One day the humans curiosity would cause them to open the door and those that had adapted to the cold would rise to infiltrate and devour human flesh once again. They had agreed to start small and begin with animals. As they acquired the ability to communicate telepathically with each other all over the world the parasites waited for the day when the humans would begin their own demise. They were so excited to plan their escape and dominion over the Earth. The entire time they were held captive they plotted and dreamed. As they talked to each other wordlessly they realized they could unlock the memories and thoughts inside their host brains. The knowledge gained around the world was immense and they shared it with each other. As they laid in wait for the humans to accidentally set them free they grew excited at the possibilities of their future. They had never realized how quickly their time would come. Most assumed they’d have to wait a century or more. To find that they’d only have to wait weeks would come as both a surprise and a treat.
His name was Ned McCauley, he was a janitor at the base where the original freezer was. He always thought the giant aircraft hangar being turned into cold storage was a neat idea. He just wished he could peek in and see what the bodies looked like. He wondered about them a lot the few weeks he was on the base. He queried; were they blue? Were there snotcicles hanging from each corpse’s nose? Would they try to attack and eat him? Ned McCauley never realized he’d be going down in history when he turned the freezer doorknob. The bodies were too frozen for the parasites to move but they were able to allow the young ones out through the nostrils. When he slammed the door on the hangar Ned was sure everything was okay. He would find out a few months later that he had allowed a dozen nearly invisible parasites their freedom. No one except Ned knew he was the one who set the beasties free. When he realized what he had done he painted his kitchen wall brain matter grey. As far as the parasites went, it didn’t take long for the offspring to return for their parents. After all, their motto had become “Horde equals family”.