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Hunter's WifeIn the morning, she kissed him goodbye. John slung his bag over his shoulder. "Have a good day, doll."
"I love you."
"Love you, too."
He climbed aboard his truck, started up and smiled at her through the windshield. He shifted, backed out of the driveway, gave her one more smile and sped off in a roar of diesel.
She sighed, waved hello at old Mrs. Carter across the street, then retrieved her newspaper. Sun was barely up, and it was already old news. Three more homeless found dead. College kid missing. Animal Control puzzled by bat activity.
Back inside the house, John Jr. was up, already in front of the TV, console game glowing and volume up loud.
"Good for his reflexes," John always said, "Hand-eye coordination. Might do him good someday."
Sara sighed again. She and John saw different futures for lil' Johnny, that much was plain. Hers involved soccer camp, college, maybe med school. His involved taking apart an AR-15 blindfolded.
She made more coffee. She made Johnny
Bagger LemSometimes Lem wondered how they saw him in the moments just before. An old girlfriend, an ex-husband maybe? Their mom or dad, or maybe a long-dead Army buddy. They saw what they wanted to. All Lem knew was the look on their faces when their gaze met his, when their minds told them he was something other than what he was. They always wore this beaming smile, an expression of damn-it's-good-to-see-you. They kept that look as Lem ripped their throats out with his teeth and slopped up the blood with his tongue.
He could tell himself they died happy, that the last thing they saw was the person they most wanted to see. It was comforting. He was lucky in that respect. Some of the others left theirs with looks of stark terror, or sadness. Lem never wanted to think about it.
He leaned back against the dumpster as blood steamed on his chin. His latest was in a heap at his feet. Some teenager, probably a runaway, selling himself on the street. He looked like hell even before Lem got hold of him.
Morning EditionAt six-forty-three, coffee was ready. The machine was new; BLACK & DECKER embossed across the black facade. The machine beeped.
In the next room, the bedside radio clicked to life as the clock struck quarter-to-seven. The dial was set to the local NPR affiliate, but only static erupted from the speakers, punctuated here and there with bits from a pre-recorded message.
No cause for alarm...
Just a precaution...
Shelter in place...
State and local officials...
Food and water...
No cause for alarm...
The only light in the room came from the radio dial, the clock on the coffee maker, the flourescent light in the fish tank, and a single window.
The coffee remained undisturbed in the carafe, and started to burn.
The fish were floating.
Curtains blew inward with the morning breeze.
LegendTurn off your headlights, they spook easy.
Go up the road a bit.
Go up the road, til you see the gate.
Stop when you see the skulls
tied to the posts.
Kill the engine, but keep the keys in.
Shut off the radio.
Roll down your windows.
It'll be dark, but you don't need to see nothing.
Might be you hear crickets.
Might be you hear coyotes.
Might be you don't hear shit.
Might be you hear squeals.
Squeals are what you're listening for.
From up there in the barn.
The one without no lights or lanterns.
Squeals like pigs.
Except there ain't been pigs at that farm
since I was a boy.
22. Lem's DealHe bent down to enter the room between two strands of police tape pulled across the doorway. On the floor were chalk drawings where five bodies had been. Those were the Sweeps, the hunters that Pryor had killed. One was a cop.
The denim blanket that Lem and Pryor had slept under was gone, probably in the same evidence locker as the hunters' crossbows and raincoats.
Something else was missing. There wasn't a sixth chalk outline, but Lem knew where it should be. He stood in the spot where Pryor left his victim, several dark stains where drops of blood had fallen on the dust-strewn floor. There were no evidence markers. Either the crime-scene people had missed the blood, or were told to ignore it. Lem had long suspected some kind of connection between the Sweeps and the cops, and this little episode had erased his doubt.
Lem dropped to all fours, and touched his tongue to the dried blood. Even a week later, he could still pull the methamphetamine taste from it, the vigor of youth, the alc
3. Lem's First LessonIt was a tiny room lit by a buzzing flourescent light, painted eggshell white and interrupted with posters delivering passages from Scripture, social services information, and the Mission's rules. There was a folding table in the middle of the room, folding chairs on either side. Against a wall sat a smaller table with a coffeemaker cradling a dented, stainless-steel carafe.
Melody sat at the table, staring at her hands as they absently picked each other's fingernails. Lem poured a cup from the carafe, walked to the table and set the cup down in front of her. He dropped a legal pad and a mechanical pencil in front of an empty chair, and sat down.
The cup steamed. Melody looked at it, then back at her hands.
Lem clicked some lead into the pencil, scribbled on the pad and showed it to her.
I know you're hungry. It's pig blood. Warm. Will do the trick for now.
She read the message, looked at the posters, then looked at the cup again, for longer this time before looking away.
growing up GothamYou give yourself a name. You don't, this city gives you one.
Mister Cellophane. That's what they call me.
Yeah. Like the musical. Reporters, they can't think for themselves. Frankly, I'm amazed when those jackasses can even spell the word. Cellophane. With a PH. Not an F.
I never got an F.
I was a smart fucking kid. Jumped ahead four grades. I was doing algebra when those other shits were still playing GI Joe in the dirt.
Nine years old, my folks were talking Harvard.
Meanwhile, I was getting my head shoved into toilets. Fights after school. That's what they wrote into my record, "fights." Really, it was five or six other guys laying into me with bats. Sometimes knives.
Once, a broomstick. They didn't hit me with it.
Think about that for a minute.
I'll be thinking about it for the rest of my life.
Yeah, I got to Harvard. I took the classes. For a while.
I went to the parties.
I took a few things. Made me feel good.
Met a few girls.
Touched a few girls.
4. Lem's DebtsAfter the girl had put away a cup or two of warmed-over pig blood, and Lem felt comfortable that she wouldn't run off, he left Melody at the table and went in search of Sister Constance.
She was in the day room, handing out clean blankets as they trickled in. Lem nodded at the ones he knew. There was Pryor, always first in line. He looked at Lem with his good eye on the non-burned half of his face. Next was Sketch. He traded a drawing to the Sister for the blanket. She held it up to the light. A perfect rendering of St. Mark's Cathedral lit up at night, right down to the rivets on the door and the security camera above it.
"It's beautiful, dear."
Sketch shuffled off. Buttercup followed. She'd been another one of Old Hitchcock's ducklings, just like Lem had been. The old man had found her gnawing on an usher behind the Galaxy Bijou during a midnight showing of The Princess Bride. He took her in, calmed her down, and almost convinced her that all it took was blood. Sometimes she s
Working Outside the Law Sheriff Walgrove stared up at the cabin and grinned. He could see the shadow of the criminal he had been tracking as it moved back and forth in front of the windows. Must've thought he was safe, that he'd outsmarted the sheriff. Perfect. Soon it would be over. The chase had come to an end.
He approached the cabin slowly so he wouldn't break any twigs or startle any animals. Everything depended on the element of surprise tonight.
The door was old and broke easily under a swift kick on the sheriff's end. At last he was face to face with the son of a bitch who had murdered his niece.
"What in the hell are you doing? This is a private residence!"
Walgrove stepped in over the remains of the door and kicked off his boots. "Your running's done, Cade. It's time to settle up for your crime."
"What crime? What are you talking about?"
He tossed his hat aside and began to unbutton his shirt. "The murd
Being Scary with MemnalarSome of you may recognize Memnalar from his hatted days, others might know him as that guy who's moderately old but still not as old as ndifference (hi guys!), but at this point in time his annual Halloween contest is a fixture. For those of you who've missed out on the glorious yearly improvements this brings to the horror gallery, you can view submissions for all the years he's hosted it—and other horror-themed contests—here:
2012 ‡ 2011 ‡ Vampires for Kids ‡ 2009 ‡ Easterween
What is horror? Is it the same thing as scary?
Let's say that the sum of human experience is represented in metaphor b
Memory TrainThey parked at a Circle-K and hiked up the canyon trail behind the store, making it to the top of the ridge by sundown. The day had been blazing, katydids buzzing past them in lethargic arcs the whole way. Tall grass bit at them and stuck to their sweat-soaked clothing but presented little challenge otherwise... but now the sun was down and warm desert winds gave way to cool breezes.
The railroad tracks were as they remembered, twin gleaming beams carrying moonlight off to the horizon in both directions. Track so straight they appeared photoshopped, movie magic as done by lazy CGI animators who couldn't be bothered with realism.
She bent down to touch one cool rail. It sang in her hand.
"Soon," she looked up at him, expression unreadable. "We haven't much time."
He nodded, unslung his pack. Started removing items: tent, camping gear, food for breakfast. From the bottom he fished out a tiny digital camera and t
InterventionHe let himself in through an unlocked window, following a cool breeze and far-away barking dogs. The window squeaked a bit as he eased it open, fractured moonlight scattering across a dark tableau of shadows.
The floor creaked beneath his boots as he stood, surveying the scene. There she was: the girl he'd come to see. Seated at her desk, head down, backlit by the gentle blue cast of an open laptop. It was so peaceful, but he'd been summoned because of recent violence done here. He sniffed experimentally: blood, cordite, something else ah, honeysuckle. He liked that smell. Despite himself he smiled a little as he eased closer for a look.
Her name was April. He'd known that before he'd come. Some of her personal details were tickling his memory even now, but he preferred a more hands-on approach like, the laptop. He eased it from its place on the desk, disconnecting
OzymandiasJuly 3, 1928
The excavation commenced this morning. Max claims we'll have this temple untucked before next October, but I know he's being excessively optimistic for Arthur's sake. Still, who'd suppose we could even manage this far without bumbling ourselves into a cataract? I rode on a camel for the first time only a month ago, and the beast didn't even bite me. I'd say that's success already.
Bloody hot. Why'd we go in summer again?
We've got some sort of corner showing through. Can't determine yet whether it's from the point of a pyramid-like object, or the corner of a more rectangular sort. Odd angle. I suppose centuries of sand will do that to you.
It'll be an awful lot more interesting when we get to the proper haul, though I imagine most of that's inside. Until then it's picks and more picks and sweating little snail trails on the sand. Makes it very clear how much of man is liquid.
Arthur's had that twitchy look about him all day
EasterRemember what you love,
you with sand in your teeth
and the feral burn of hunger
in your eyes.
God sends his regrets.
He made you grasping and slow,
in a late hour
when the wine washed low.
Remember what you love.
Fall to your knees in the toss
and the swell, quell
the appetite of the cold black sea.
Beg blessings for your home
and the salt-sick trees.
Reach what lies near:
the fat-faced child, the sweet-soft lamb;
tether the tantrum, trickle the blood.
Offer psalms to what is holy,
whisper the name of what you love
as it bobs in the bleak mad sea.
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Bluefley has a gallery filled with artwork that whisks you off in to a Sci-fi daydream, and keeps you captivated for hours. Marc has been a member of our community for over a decade and has achieved nothing but success with his astounding commitment to interacting with the community, sharing a prolific amount of video tutorials and generally being an all round rockstar deviant. It is no joke that we are absolutely delighted to award the Deviousness Award for April 2014 to ... Read More