Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Stew on Kaldar 3 is Fantastic (Flash fiction fun)

Hi, folks, today I used the picture above as inspiration for the story below. It was a free wallpaper and it lit up my imagination like crazy, I hope it sparks some of your own creativity and that you have a wonderful day!

The Stew on Kaldar 3 is Fantastic
Jaime Johnesee

The galactic toads were singing on their stalagmite perches and the bumblebirds were resting deep inside their mushroom gill nests. Everyone had their bioluminescence in full display, it was a typical gorgeous Kaldarian night, and even the hootblats shrieked sweetly in the air.
As Jeff made steelroot stew, his wife, Al'donk'a'lel, was out gathering horsetails and other ingredients to spice up the dish. He looked outside as he chopped ingredients and saw that the large umburt tree was full of heavy ripe fruit.
He decided to pick some and make a blart for dessert. As he stepped into the humid night to pick the delectable umburts, a dozen sucklers swarmed him and began to feast on the sweat dripping from his tentacles. He was grateful for the sucklers as his sweat was full of pheromones lately and Al told him she felt ill when he sweat too much. She said he smelled of landula blossoms and turgomot root and she was deathly allergic to turgomot. 
To appease her he typically wore a fragrance that smelled thickly of huntsberry and banesbridge. The sucklers meant he wouldn't have to douse himself in the cologne tonight and he was grateful for the reprieve.
He took his bounty into the house, washed them (and himself) up, and sliced a thick orange globdropper. Sap dripped everywhere and Jeff took a moment to lick the sweet sap off his claws as his tentacles set to work cutting the next slice. He plopped them into the stew along with some chaffsgrass and smokeberry then started on the blart.
It wasn't too much longer before Al'donk'a'lel came back. The woman of Earth that came back with her seemed excited. Jeff put the blart in the hobbanger to harden. He smiled at their guest. 
"Can I get you something to drink?" Jeff prided himself on being a beneficent host, Kaldarians were known universe-wide for their hosting skills.
"I have told her we are having her for dinner and she was so very happy about it." Al smiled at her mate.
"Oh, thank you for offering a drink but I'm okay right now. I have always heard the stew is fantastic here! Hi, you must be Jeff, it's so nice to meet you." The blonde walked forward with her hand extended, unaware the gesture was rude to Kaldarians. 
"She's perfect!" Jeff walked over to her and, in what appeared to be one fluid movement, grabbed the human with his tentacles, used his claw to slit her throat, and held her streaming lifeblood over his stewpot. 
As the human bled out, Al looked at her, smiled sweetly, and whispered, "Nothing makes steelroot stew taste as good as some fresh human blood. Thank you for agreeing to be our dinner " 
Al’s smile was the last thing the Earthling saw as her life drained away. Luckily for her, she died before they began harvesting her meat for dinner the next night.

Emerian Rich Talks Clockwork Wonderland

Today I turn my blog over to the lovely and talented Emerian Rich who is here to talk about her latest release! Without further ado, Press presents…Clockwork Wonderland.

Clockwork Wonderland contains stories from authors that see Wonderland as a place of horror where anything can happen and time runs amok. In this book you’ll find tales of murderous clockworks, insane creations, serial killers, zombies, and a blood thirsty jabberclocky. Prepare to see Wonderland as a place where all your worst nightmares come true. You may never look at classic children’s literature the same way again.
Edited by Emerian Rich
Cover by Carmen Masloski
Featuring authors:
Trinity Adler
Ezra Barany
Jaap Boekestein
Dustin Coffman
Stephanie Ellis
Jonathan Fortin
Laurel Anne Hill
N. McGuire
Jeremy Megargee
James Pyne
Michele Roger
H.E. Roulo
Sumiko Saulson
K.L. Wallis
With Foreword by David Watson

Excerpt from
Midnight Dance
by Emerian Rich
Mr. March held his fireplace poker at the ready as he peeked into his kitchen. His good mate, Mr. White, had entered his house and seemed to be rummaging for food, but it wasn’t the White he knew from the club. White was generally a very congenial guy. A bit high-strung, but always courteous of others and definitely mindful of the inappropriateness of breaking into another’s home at quarter after midnight.
“Mustn’t give no quarter. Alms grrr…and a slab ‘a meat, yesssss…”
Pushing the kitchen door open another inch, March inspected his friend as he rambled an incoherent string of garbled words together. Perhaps his diabetes had taken a turn for the worst and he had low blood sugar? Still, the White he knew, would have at least rung the bell and requested entry instead of smashing the window and leaving the front door wide open.
White sniffed the air like a curious rabbit. His portly frame jittered in his food-stained plaid pajamas. His houndstooth wool slippers swam in orange juice pooled at his feet. White’s head snapped to the side and he stared directly at March, but didn’t seem to see him in the darkness. March held his breath despite his urge to gasp. White’s normally brown eyes gleamed red in the fridge light.
The grandfather clock in the drawing room bonged at the half-hour and White shuffled out of the kitchen, March following stealthily behind. White stared up at the clock, drool saturating his mouth. The second hand clicked just past the seven.
For a moment, White seemed himself again. His expression jovial as he clasped his hands behind him, rocking serenely back on his heels.
“White? You all right, old man?” March inched closer, hiding the poker by his side.
White turned to March, for a moment his old friend, but White’s lip pulled back in a snarl, displaying jagged teeth. He launched at March, causing them both to land in a heap on the floor.
“Meat and flesh, flesh and bone. Grrrr…” White growled like the Queen’s pup who’d contracted rabies.
“Stop! Get off me!” March struggled against White’s force, holding the fire poker between them as the only barrier.
White snapped his pointy teeth just inches from March’s face, slobber dripping onto his cheek.
“No, stop!”
White moved closer, his weight smothering March so he could barely breathe. From the open door to his right, March heard a scream. Out in the street, a royal guard attacked his neighbor, the Duchess, but March could do nothing to help. Turning back to face the maniac on top of him, March stared into the fiend’s red eyes. They seemed to glow and in the pupils there was some sort of design. A clock face? White salivated, the loud clamp of his jaw snapping as he tried to get ever closer.
White lunged, his massive belly pushing the air right out of March’s lungs. March gasped as his vision grew dark.
Footsteps, a clunk, and then White’s head falling lax to his neck allowed March the chance to use the last of his energy to push the maniac off him.
“March, chap, you all right?”
Gasping for air, March managed to sit up. He blinked and squinted in the dim light, seeing the unmistakable top-hatted silhouette of his good friend, Mr. Hatter. The lanky bloke offered a hand and March grasped it gladly.
“Hatter. My, you are a sight for sore eyes.” March wiped White’s saliva off his cheek with his paisley handkerchief. White’s still body lay in a dark stain growing darker on the rug.
“Pity about your rug, old friend.”
A scream in the street called their attention away from the soiled rug.
“What the bloody hell is going on?” March asked, retrieving his fireplace poker and cleaning it off as well.
“I’ll explain on the way,” Hatter said.
“On the way where?”
“The clock tower. Come on.”
March followed Hatter out of his house and shut the door behind him, although he didn’t think it much mattered. The neighborhood was in chaos and he wasn’t quite sure he’d survive to return. Pity about the strawberry trifle in the fridge. He’d worked hard on those perfect white and red layers for the picnic the next day in the park, but it seemed festivities would be cancelled. After all, the Duchess was hosting and her head rolled by in the gutter as he hopped over it.
Screams and snarls came from every direction as they sprinted to the clock tower situated in the center of town. He glimpsed friends he’d known for years, but they were alien to him in the zombie horde.
“Seems the clock infected some and the bitten become like them,” Hatter explained in hushed tones. His eyes swept the landscape as they made their way through town. “I don’t understand how it works exactly, but the clock must be stopped. Problem is, nothing—absolutely nothing—has worked. Every night it happens again and I can’t seem to stop it.”
“What do you mean every night? How long has this been happening and how come you are just now telling me?” They stood back to back as Hatter picked the clock tower lock and March stood guard. Snarls came from the darkness and March’s hands ached from gripping the blasted poker so tightly.
“You won’t believe me, chap, but this night has played out more than three dozen times.”
The ground shook and the wind picked up, tossing leaves into the air like confetti.
“What was that?”
“Earthquake. I think the clock caused that too, but I can’t be sure.” The lock clicked and Hatter escorted him inside. “Some nights I save you, some nights I’m too late. But I need your help. We have to jam the clock some way so that it can’t do this again.”
March stared into Hatter’s blood-shot, weary eyes and knew he told the truth.
“Show me how.”
Hatter led him down the corridor to the stairs and up four flights.
“How do you know the clock is responsible?” March asked between gasps. He was not used to so much physical exertion. Those cigars at the club were really taking a toll on his health. He’d have to cut back to once a week.
“I’ve traced it to the clock maker. He’s the only one infected after the clock strikes twelve. The earthquakes emanate from this location directly after.”
“And you’re the only one reliving this nightmare?”
“Yes, and then you ask me why I’m the only one. I don’t know why I’m immune. I just know the burden falls to me to stop it.”
The ground shook again and the clock tower creaked under the force. Hatter checked his pocket watch.
“Hurry, we’ve not much time. It’s 12:49 and at one o’clock it resets. Use your poker to jam that gear over there and I’ll try to damage this one.”
March stuck his fire poker in between two large metal gears and watched with amazement as they ate the thin metal up. Black cast iron trickled into the workings and fell to the floor like pieces of silverware from a dropped drawer.
“No!” Hatter yelled as his sword found the same fate. “Hell and damnation!” He grabbed a pipe on the wall and tugged until it gave way. The pipe spewed a fog of steam but it was short lived. Hatter banged on the gears, trying to harm them and March grabbed another pipe, doing the same. They fed the thin copper through the gears, hoping to stop them or break the mechanism, but they too were chewed up by the large mechanical monster.
“Damn!” Hatter kicked the gears causing no harm but to himself. He fell to the floor defeated, clutching his ankle. “How can we jam the gears if nothing can destroy this blasted thing?”
“Jam…” March crouched next to Hatter, his mind turning like the clock gears above them as he thought of how to stop the machine. “You might have something there. What if you’re going about this the wrong way? What if we made something sticky to muck up the works rather than trying to stop the gears themselves? Perhaps my mother’s jam…with a few minor adjust—” March’s face froze.
“What kind of adjustments? March! Please! No!” Hatter shook him, but he could not respond.
The clock bonged one o-clock.

To read the full story and more Clock-inspired, Alice Horror, check out Clockwork Wonderland.

Crescendo of Darkness

Today I turn my blog over to the amazingly talented and seriously awesome folks at H...