Sunday, August 29, 2010

Milk of the Goddess

by Brendan P. Myers

I was six weeks into a yearlong contract for American Oil, working a desert outpost south of the border. At night, I went to Pablocito's and drank pulque, the milky liquor favored by the locals.

The girl was seventeen and slinging drinks, with only the barest hint of Indian in her milky complexion. She smiled shyly while fending off the drunken advances of my boorish colleagues.

When Larsen reached out to grope her, she flashed a look my way. Filled with liquid courage, I walked over and popped him one. After that, drinks were on the house.

Later, we walked the dusty streets of town. In the shadow of the lecheria, I took her in my arms and then took her to my hotel. It was her first time.

Her name was Mayauel, named after the milk tree Goddess, the Goddess of pulque and childbirth, the foundation of all life. In bed, she whispered reverently of the Goddess's four hundred breasts that suckled her human offspring. I grabbed her playfully and said two were enough.

We met furtively, exchanging glances in the bar, later sneaking off to my hotel. I knew she was falling in love. I didn't know what love was. And then it happened.

She said she was with child. I got angry and said it wasn't mine. I called her a whore and stormed off.

I moved to a rooming house close to the worksite. But every night, after closing my eyes, I saw her face. Her stare grew harsher with each passing day. I kept my eyes open most nights.

They sent me into town one day for a delivery. Avoiding once familiar streets, I snuck in the back way and heard music playing. Sad music. At the end of a darkened alley, I saw a procession. Hysterical women dressed in black. Pablocito crying. An open casket on the back of a wagon. I caught a glimpse of her face and ran.

I hitched as far away as I could, but there was no escaping her. In one sleepy town, I saw a mural of a many-breasted woman in peach garment, with white fringe and flame colored hair. She was seated on a throne of a turtle and a snake, holding out a bowl filled with a milky substance.

The Goddess. Mayauel.

I staggered toward the center of town and saw a church. I knew then I needed forgiveness.

Inside, blinding sunlight streamed through stained glass, turning the holy chamber orange and red and yellow. Halfway to the altar, I collapsed and prostrated myself before God.
Begging forgiveness, I crawled down the aisle, finally raising my head toward the marble pulpit and whitewashed stone of delicately carved archways and saw then I wasn't alone.

It was Mayauel. My Mayauel.

Twenty-feet tall and growing taller by the second.

Sunlight set her hair aflame. Sitting astride the pulpit, she wore a peach dress with white fringe. But this Mayauel did not offer sustenance. Instead, I watched as she poured a bowl filled with the milk of human kindness onto the floor, where it pooled like a sea of bitter tears. For me, there would be no forgiveness.


Brendan P. Myers stories have appeared in such publications as the Northern Haunts anthology from Shroud Publishing and Malpractice: An Anthology of Bedside Terror from Stygian Publications. He can be found online at

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jeff Newman's Headaches

by Alan Baxter

The only interesting thing about Jeff Newman was his headaches. Never a particularly social animal, Jeff lived alone in a small apartment in a grubby city. He worked for a nondescript company doing largely irrelevant administrative roles and took his pay home every month to spend on DVDs, video games and take away food. He was boring. But he did get such headaches.

He could tell when a headache was coming on. He would start to feel nauseous, the back of his neck would tighten up and get hot. He would feel as though his right shoulder was hitched up a couple of inches and he couldn’t relax it, almost as if the base of his skull was trying to suck the rest of him up into his brain pan. Then the eye thing would start. Initially a kind of dull pinch behind his right eyebrow, it would grow until it felt like a sickening bruise all around his eye and he’d get a grabbing, stabbing compression, as if his brain had grown a hand, taken hold of his eyeball and started to squeeze. That was when he had to shut everything off. He would go into his bedroom, draw the curtains, turn off the light and lie in swimming, excruciating darkness, unable to rest, simply enduring. Eventually the vomiting would start, great deep heaves from the depths of his gut. Gasping, eye-watering retches until he brought up nothing but gobs of yellow bile and finally collapsed, exhausted, into blank, black sleep, not dreaming or stirring.

When he woke the headache would be gone, his brain releasing its hold on his eye, and he would feel purged. Weak, wobbly, trembling with the slightest effort. He would give anything to be rid of the headaches.


‘It’s stress, Jeff. The tension builds up and causes the headache. We’ve discussed this before.’

Jeff shook his head, looking at his doctor with disdain. ‘It’s not stress. I’m not a stressed person.’

The doctor smiled. ‘Everyone has stress. How often is it happening?’

‘It used to be only once or twice a year at most. Now it seems like it’s happening every few weeks. I can’t handle it.’

‘I’m going to prescribe you something to help you relax.’ The doctor held up a placatory hand at Jeff’s expression. ‘Process of elimination.’

Jeff shook his head but sat quietly while the doctor wrote the prescription. He passed the pharmacy on his way home and took a pill as soon as he got in. By seven pm his brain had a hold on his eyeball and he squirmed and thrashed on his sweat soaked sheets, cursing the doctor with every heartbeat that pulsed lightning through his head.


‘I’m sorry, you can’t see Doctor Steed.’ The receptionist’s eyes were puffy and red. ‘He... he’s not available.’

Jeff frowned. ‘When will he be available?’

‘I’m afraid he won’t be. He...’ The receptionist trailed off into sobs.

A female doctor appeared. She patted the receptionist’s shoulder. ‘Go home, Jennifer. It’s too much to ask you to work today.’

Jennifer hurried from her desk, grabbing bag and coat as she scurried, snivelling, for the door. The female doctor turned to Jeff. ‘I’m sorry. Dr Steed was killed last night. Home invasion. I’d be happy to see you if it’s urgent.’

‘No. No, nothing urgent.’ Jeff stared at the doctor for a moment then turned to leave. ‘I’m sorry,’ he added over his shoulder as he reached the door. The female doctor nodded once, lips pursed.


Jeff sat on the bus staring at trees whipping past. How many people did he know that had died? It seemed uncanny that so many people he was acquainted with had met strange, grim ends. His doctor killed in a home invasion, his last boss murdered while jogging at night, that stuck up bitch at the video store killed in a botched robbery... Jeff’s heart began to hammer as a hot fist pushed its way up his throat. His mouth popped open as he gasped for air. But he’d had so many more headaches than that...

‘Strangers are just as sweet.’

Jeff whimpered, stiffening on the rough fabric seat of the bus. ‘What the fuck...?’

‘Took you long enough to realise. But there’s nothing you can do.’ The voice was high and sharp, laced with malice, echoing through his mind. Each word was punctuated by the sensation of a tiny hand flexing its grip on Jeff’s right eyeball.


Alan Baxter is an author living on the south coast of NSW, Australia. He writes dark fantasy, sci fi and horror, rides a motorcycle and loves his dog. He also teaches Kung Fu. Read his short stories, novella and novel extracts at his website - - and feel free to tell him what you think. About anything.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Wind Whispers My Name

by Jameson T. Caine

At night the wind calls to me, whispering my name. I lie in bed, eyes closed, desperate for the solace of sleep, but it eludes me. As I drift away into fitful slumber, the soft sound of the breeze brushing against my window stirs me from my repose, my name carried to me through the surrounding darkness.

It speaks with her voice.

I do not look, afraid of what I might see...or what I might not see. It couldn’t be her, not after all this time. Not after that last, horrible night. To find her standing there now beyond the frail glass would surely drive me insane, yet the thought of throwing aside the curtains and seeing nothing frightens me even more.

I recall her final words, spoken in anger, defiance and finally, hatred. The way her pleas and denials became an antagonistic admission of truth, her fury boiling over, transforming once beautiful features into the menacing snarl of a stranger. The elegant face I knew so well now a terrifying visage of rage and malevolence. Forever will I remember the look those icy eyes had cast my way seconds before the light within them was extinguished forever.

Or not.

Had she somehow survived? I took such care in disposing of the gun and locating a suitably remote place to bury her horrid remains. She was dead, I’d made sure of it. In all the intervening years, I have had no cause to doubt the outcome of that night. Still, after three sleepless nights haunted by the sound of her voice upon the wind, I had to be sure.

I came to the ancestral cabin in which we spent that fateful evening, high atop a bluff overlooking the restless sea. By day I searched the nearby woods, looking for her final resting place. But time wasn’t kind to the land or to my memories. I could not find her.

Can the vow made before her death be coming true? Could she even now be drawing upon dark, arcane forces to enact the promised revenge from somewhere beyond the realm of the living? I push aside such thoughts as fanciful imaginings, but when darkness engulfs the land and the wind rises, I think differently. I recall the unholy things she did and the lives ended through her deeds; all performed under the watchful eyes of the one whom she called Teacher. How could I not put an end to such evil when I finally learned of it?

Night has come again. I huddle inside, a fading fire my only source of warmth and illumination. The wind rises and falls outside, her voice a whisper and then a shattering scream. I dare not look through the window, for I know the only thing I will find is my end.

I cover my ears but the shrieking gale cannot be denied. I scream, desperate to drown out her mournful cry with the ragged sound of my own voice, but my tortured howls cannot overcome the intensity of that ghastly lamentation. The wind has become her voice, throwing my own name back at me in accusation and anger.

I hurl the door open, determined to heave myself from the cliff to the cold waters below. I stagger towards the edge, my fear of death at war with my desire for this madness to end. It’s then that I see her, standing a few feet from the ledge, waiting.

The one whom she’d called Teacher.

Teacher looks at me, eyes dark and penetrating. “You will replace the servant you took from me,” she says.

And I know that I will. Her voice is commanding, insidious. I must not disobey. I eye the nearby ledge, but the wind keeps me from jumping, blowing in off the sea and forcing me back, preventing my demise at my own hand. It pushes me forward into the embrace of the soulless thing before me and I scream with unbridled terror when I peer into those dark eyes, seeing the fate awaiting me.

Taunting and cruel, the wind laughs at me in her voice, the one I killed that night so many years ago. The one whose face I still see when I look in the mirror.

The one whom I called twin sister.


Jameson T. Caine has at one time or another worked as a carpenter, meat cutter, shipping clerk, forklift operator, assembly line worker, long haul truck driver and minister. Currently he drives a tanker truck by day and calls himself a writer by night, the latter fueled by a steady diet of soda and salty snacks. He has numerous stories appearing online and in print. He lives in Northern California with his wife and two dogs. Visit him online at

Sunday, August 8, 2010


by Karen Schindler

She was exquisite.

Her naked body seemed to pulse and thrum as he circled her, snapping image after image, the afterglow of her pale form burning into his retinas. His mind reeled as he captured her likeness. He’d never worked with someone who looked so luminous through the lens.

He kept snapping and circling and circling and snapping convinced that he could see heat rolling off her in waves. He could feel her energy feeding his as he revolved closer and closer. When they came face to face for the last time she widened her eyes and made a sound that was as close to a groan as he could bear and remain upright.

He felt a jolt of something run top to bottom through his nerve endings. He wanted to reach for her but he couldn’t stop snapping images. He couldn’t tear his face away from the camera.

Mesmerized, he watched as her left hand reached out to caress the long shaft of the telephoto lens. Her right beckoned with a delicate finger.

He leaned toward her, her face getting larger in the viewer until it filled every corner of his vision and his mind. She tipped her head, licked her lips and parted her mouth into an inviting O.

He felt himself drawn into and through the prisms of the camera, out the lens and into her mouth.

As his body crumbled away she gently placed the camera onto the floor. She licked a finger and delicately sampled the pile of dust that had been a man moments before.

She smiled, languidly stretched and savored the memory card melting on her tongue just as a devout Catholic savors a holy communion wafer.

She could feel his juices mingling with hers, feel his hot blood soaring in her veins. He had been a good one. Young, vital, full of sexual power. He should last her for at least a month.

The happy accident of a wave depositing her into a time plane that sported photographers on every corner and the internet to help her find them made it so easy. She hardly even had to hunt.

The only downside was the memory cards.

She just couldn’t get used to the digital aftertaste.


Karen Schindler writes even when she's not writing. A lover of words her whole life, she is amazed and awed when she can string them together in a way that touches another soul. You can visit her at Miscellaneous Yammering where you'll find fact, fiction, sillyness and lots of descripitons of weird things that happen in Ohio.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Wrong Thing to Say

by Jonathan Pinnock

Father Skerritt was enjoying his first solo exorcism. The young girl was writhing about on the bed with considerable energy, and it took both her parents to hold her down. She was blaspheming away like a Clydeside stevedore and producing some spectacular projectile vomit. And it might have been a trick of the light, but he was convinced that her head had rotated a full 360° at one point. This was the full Monty.

And yet, in the middle of it all, he was calm. He felt serene. He had a hotline to the Boss, and he was ready to make the connection.

“In the name of the God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, release this poor girl from her travails—”

“Fuck you bastard!” said the ten-year-old girl.

“—go now and leave her in peace—”

“Fuck you!”

“—depart from this world into the shadows—”

And then it happened. The girl gave one final contortion and began to hemorrhage. As she shrieked in agony, her belly was torn open and a revolting reptile poked its head out. With a malevolent squawk, the beast forced the rest of its body through and hurtled out of the room.

When reflecting on it later, it struck Father Skerritt that “Whoa, mash-up!” was probably an inappropriate thing to say at this point. But he still couldn’t help thinking that it was massively cool.


Jonathan Pinnock was born in Bedfordshire, England, and - despite having so far visited over forty other countries - has failed to relocate any further away than the next-door county of Hertfordshire. He is married with two children, several cats and a 1961 Ami Continental jukebox. His work has won several prizes, and he has been published in such diverse publications as Litro, Every Day Fiction and Necrotic Tissue. His unimaginatively-titled yet moderately interesting website is at, and you can follow him on Twitter as @jonpinnock.