Sunday, October 31, 2010

Famous Monsters Remake

by Joe L. Murr

The Celebrity Bimbo sneaked through the dark forest. Right on cue, the Wolfman popped out from behind a tree, a machete held high in his hairy paw. The Celebrity Bimbo assumed a fighting stance and let out a battle cry.

“Cut! You call that a scream?” the director bawled.

The crew cracked up. The Celebrity Bimbo gave them the stink-eye. “What’s so funny?” she said. The crew laughed twice as hard.

The director was the only one who was not amused. Eight crappy takes of the same shot. The actress wasn’t even trying. At this rate they’d be stuck in the forest until dawn. “Honestly, was that the best you can do?” he said.

“Alan, I feel that she wouldn’t scream.” She put her hands on her waist. “She’d fight him. Punch him right in the face.”

He leaned back in his canvas chair and rubbed the bridge of his nose. “It’s not in the script.”

“But maybe it should be.”

Here we go again. Time to massage the ego. He went over to her. “Everyone, take a break.”

Alan watched enviously as the Wolfman plopped a cigarette into his maw and flicked a Zippo, careful not to set his fur on fire. It had been two years since Alan quit, but now a coffin nail would be just what the doctor ordered.

The Celebrity Bimbo hissed, “second-hand cancer.” The Wolfman flipped her the bird.

Alan inhaled the drifting smoke and put his arm around her. “First of all, let Wolfie say his line. And then ... look, all I’m asking you to do is scream. Just a little scream. Like this: Eeee!”

“But, Alan, didn’t we discuss my back story?”

Oh God had they ever. Or, rather, she had rambled on forever about how she saw the character while he nodded patiently.

“Her father was a Marine,” she said. “He taught her how to survive.”

“Be that as it may, in this shot she screams. Just give me one good scream. Or I’ll have to cut your big dramatic scene.”

She stared at him, shocked. “You wouldn’t.”

“Try me.”

She nodded timorously.

“And remember to let Wolfie say his line, okay?”

He went back to his chair. Action--take nine. She approached the tree. The Wolfman popped into view and growled, “I’m gonna make you my bitch,” a line that made Alan die a little inside, but the studio loved it, so ...

She gave a lackluster squeak.

“Better,” he coaxed her. “Maybe with a bit of fear this time?”

They took it from the top. She approached the tree, peered around and unleashed the scream of the decade. Alan grinned. Until he saw what she was seeing. A rangy beast held the Wolfman’s decapitated head in its claws. The Celebrity Bimbo fainted. And at that moment the lights went out.

People ran screaming into the woods. Alan scrambled out of his chair, slipped and fell on the wet grass. Hairy hands clamped around his neck and hauled him up. He stared straight into the creature’s fetid maw.

A voice as old as mountains whispered, “You know what you’ve gone and done? You’ve turned me into a joke.”

Alan struggled and squealed in animal panic.

“Once, we had power,” the werewolf said, eyes gleaming yellow in the inky blue darkness. “We were iconic.”

Things shuffled from the trees, wreathed in a charnel fog.

“Then you people started re-imagining us,” one of them hissed through a mouthful of razor fangs.

A chorus of voices joined in:

“Taking from us our poetry and tragedy.”

“No more sequels. No more remakes.”

“We’ve had enough.”

Alan saw his line producer, or rather what was left of him, in the hands of a brute swaddled in ancient bandages. Another monster wore the makeup artist’s face as a mask.

“It’s not my fault,” the director gibbered. “My hands are tied. Blame the studio, the writer ...”

“We’re going for them next,” the werewolf growled.

Red lights started blinking. Lenses came in for a closer angle. Camcorders.

The werewolf said, “Action!”

The monsters fell on Alan and tore him to pieces.

And then they set out to teach film executives the real meaning of fear. The Mummy insisted on taking the Celebrity Bimbo along, believing that he had finally found the reincarnation of his lover. She screamed all the way to Los Angeles.


Joe L. Murr has lived on every continent except Antarctica. He currently divides his time between Finland and the Netherlands. His fiction has been published or is forthcoming in Dark Recesses, Necrotic Tissue, Read by Dawn I & II, and other publications. Visit him online at

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Hungry Ocean

by Ken Muise

Walking along the break water, fighting the wind that tried to force her ocean-side, she counted her steps to the ladder as she had always done. When she was a girl, when she had started the counting, she could recall reaching the ladder somewhere between two hundred and fifty steps. Now, as her body had grown wearier and her steps choppier she often didn’t reach the ladder until after three-hundred steps.

The Atlantic exploded against the large granite stones, throwing icy water shrapnel against her. She tasted the salt from the cold water on her lips. It traced its way down her shirt.

When Steve died last year during a tuna trip she had stopped coming here, unable to bear the thought of walking this expanse without him. She always appreciated the way he would come with her on this walk. The ocean was a mundane part of his everyday life but to her it was a wondrous adventure.

Having had no children her decision was acceptable. Being a young widow it was understandable. Having lived two excruciating years without the only thing she had ever loved made it inevitable.

She would curse the ocean as it happened. Curse it for the suffering it had caused her husband and for the misery it had left her in.

She made it to the ladder on step two hundred and fifteen. She was in a hurry to die.

She climbed down, cove side, onto a piece of beach the tide was quickly consuming. Flakes of rust encrusted themselves into her palms and fingers.

It was calm. The ocean rippled like a pond and the pleasant sound of the wet sand crackling pleased her.

She entered the small cave where the dingy was stored hoping after all this time it was still there. She remembered the count. Six steps in and the dingy would be there in the diminishing light.

There was no dingy.

She walked further into the opening hoping that her age had altered her count as it usually would do on the breakwater. At ten steps in she knew she couldn’t that be far off but still no dingy.

There was a stirring from a few feet farther in.

She heard a thump to her left and slightly in front of her.

She backed up slowly.

Another thump into wet sand closer this time to her right.

In the faint light she saw a single webbed claw of grey-green scales with talons long and yellow. She heard a low throaty growl like a lion with a mouthful of water and a single yellow eye with no pupil opened suddenly reflecting the sunlight behind her.

The beast lunged and bit into her mid-rift, thrashing it’s head wildly, ripping her in two and throwing pieces of her out of the opening in its ferocity.

The beast dragged the large pieces back into the cave methodically.

The tide would wash away the blood.


Ken Muise has been an active-duty Soldier for 15 years. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Flashes in the Dark, The Nautilus Engine, Hypersonic Tales, Full of Crow and the Horror House. He blogs at When he isn't reading, writing or working he enjoys terrorizing his three daughters via Facebook.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


by AJ Brown

Dim light shone through air holes in the dungeon's ceiling. Vlad sat in one corner, the darkness concealing him from his prey. Shallow breaths billowed upward, and he shivered in the cold, clenching his teeth to keep them from clattering.

The roach appeared in the dusty light. Tentative steps from the shadows led to a quick dart across the room and back into darkness.

Vlad shifted his weight, lowering his body into a crouch. With eyes long adapted to the black of the tunnel, he followed the roach's movements toward the crumbs of molded bread lying near him.

Again, the roach crawled from the shadows, stopping in the center of a patch of light. It was large--a couple of inches long--its brown shell dirty; long antennae twitched, feeling its surroundings.

"Come," Vlad whispered, cupped and lowered his hands to mere inches above the ground.

The roach scurried toward him, tickled Vlad's big toe. Vlad's breath caught, skin tingled as the bug crawled beneath his hand. With a quick swipe, he scooped up the insect. It squirmed, legs tickling Vlad's palm.

"Little bug, I name you Matthias."

The roach poked its head from between Vlad's thumb and index finger. The once proud ruler laughed. "You can't escape me, Matthias. You have sinned against your king. For the crime of betrayal I sentence you to death by impalement."

Vlad stood and hobbled to the corner closest to one of the air holes. He lifted one of the many slivers of wood he had pulled from the giant door that kept him from escape. The roach squirmed.

A crooked grin split Vlad's face, and he drove the splinter into the roach's abdomen. Its legs moved fast, trying to run; antennae twitched and its cerci vibrated wildly. Vlad pushed the small stake in further. He imagined the bug screaming, begging for mercy. He chuckled in delight, his chest heaving, tingling in excitement.

Vlad lowered the roach he named after the ruler who imprisoned him, made a hole in the dirt and set the stake's edge into the ground. In the dim light of the dying sun, he sat, watching the bug--watching Matthias--twitch and writhe in agony. His eyes glazed over as he scanned the many insects and rats he had impaled, each one given a name of an enemy, each one having died slowly.

He leaned his head against the wall, eyes fixed on the dying roach, his body quaking in ecstasy.

Hours later sleep found him. Cradled him in her arms, he dreamt… dreamt of thousands of crying, screaming boyers and princes, women and little children, all of them on stakes, all of them sliding, sliding…


AJ Brown is a writer that sits in a small box with holes poked in it for air. He pens stories that have appeared in SNM Horror Magazine, Sinister Tales, Allegory, and Liquid Imagination among others. Be wary of his fiction--you've been warned.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


by Brad Nelson

Most of us will eat anything; we see food, we go for it—most of us. I’m picky. I prefer certain dishes. What? You may ask. How can you be picky? I’ve seen your kind, you say. Well, so have I, and as I said, most of us will eat anything. And, frankly, I am offended, Madame. I don’t have time for your preconceived notions and prejudices. My kind? How could you be so insensitive to the feelings of others?

I have a theory about my preferences, my snobbishness as my brethren might think of it. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t know why I like what I like. It’s more a theory of how than of why.

You see, when The Outbreak first crossed our borders, it came from the south, crossing from Mexico into the United States in the blood of drunken state-college students, American tourists, and Mexican immigrants. Drug dealers and human smugglers also helped. The Outbreak spread to college campuses, trailer parks, ghettos, barrios, and every corner of lower- and middle-class society—and it spread like fire, cleansing the land.

The average human being is lead by simple desires, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Have you heard of it? Physiology, safety, love, esteem, self-actualization? Any of this ring a bell? No? Anyway, you are driven by certain instinctual motivators. Once the most basic of those needs are met, such as physiological needs—breathing, food, water, sleep, homeostasis, excretion, etc.—a person may move on to the next tier, but not until the basic needs are met. Example: If your physiological needs are not met, if you do not have food, shelter, etc., you do not care about morality and creativity, which are needs at the very highest and intellectual level. Sadly, most people never attain those higher levels or even care to, which brings me to my next point.

The majority of those initially infected were of little or no means, and of little or no intelligence. What? You wonder about the drunken college students who brought The Outbreak to college campuses? I did say they were students from state colleges. You think students of Ivy League schools are spending spring break in Mexico? Come now, Ivy League mummies and daddies can afford better than that for their little sweetums.

You’ve gone and distracted me. Where was I? Oh, yes—intelligence. The average IQ in the United States is 100, give or take. Average IQ drops exponentially based on social class, geography, race, etc; and I’d wager that the average IQ of students in state-run institutions adheres to the national average. Community college? Much, much lower. So, you see, pre-infection, the average person wasn’t very bright to begin with. And you’ve seen what The Outbreak does to the mental capacities of those it touches.

Given that the majority of those initially infected fell into a category with a below average IQ, is it any wonder that when fulfilling their basic need, food, they eat what they see, without discrimination. With the infected, Maslow’s Hierarchy is obsolete. Food is their only need. It is no different with me. Food is still my only need, but, as I said before, I have preferences. My theory? I am getting to that, my child. Be patient.

Pre-infection, I had an IQ of 138. That’s two points away from genius, you see. My theory is this: the effects of The Outbreak—aside from reanimation, impervious to pain, and the hunger—involve a reduction of one’s IQ by a specific percentage based on pre-infection intelligence. What? You still don’t understand? Then, here, let me show you, my dear.

Where others would come in moaning and carrying on, mobbing you, marring your beautiful flesh with gnashing teeth and clawing nails, I will take my time enjoying the juicy portions slowly. Don’t worry. I stay above the neck; I’m old fashion that way. I will take your soft cheek first, and then your lips, your tongue. Your eyes I will slurp with abandon. Blue eyes are truly delightful. Please stop screaming, child. It does not make the pain any less. Now I will peel back your scalp, because I don’t like getting hair caught in my teeth, and crack your skull. The real treat, the one those other idiots can never stop asking for, are inside.


Brad Nelson is a former backyard samurai and blue jeans Zen master who spends most of his time now on the back porch with his pipe and a cup of coffee. He retired his sword and took up the pen after serving five years as an interrogator in the U.S. Army. Brad is also a creative writing M.F.A. candidate at National University and Chief Editor of Eclectic Flash, a new online literary journal. You can find Eclectic Flash at Brad’s literary endeavors are forthcoming from a number of online and print publications—just as soon as he can decide where to send each piece.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


by Christopher Green

The loss of Marion’s vision was a gradual thing.

By degrees, the edges of her sight slipped away, the world to her left and right made into old friends she thought of occasionally but never missed. She saw her home, her husband, and, less and less, her children and their children, through a circle that grew ever tighter, like a noose.

When she began to trade paint with nearby cars in parking lots, she left the driving behind and taught herself to take the bus. She made arrangements for the grocer to deliver the week’s groceries on Thursdays.

This Thursday, when the doorbell rang, Marion made her way to the front of the house by touch. She brought her handbag, to pay Mr. Williams, but by the time she opened the door he’d already gone, leaving the groceries on the front step. She brought the bags inside one at a time.

In the bottom of one, next to the milk, was the darkling. It was a spot, a smear, no more than a tear in the light, and it slid around in the vast dark corners of her vision. It went with her into the family room, watched her soaps with her, and when Stan got home smelling like beer, the darkling slipped closer to Marion, where Stan’s vision had always been weakest.

Stan ignored them both.

When he went to bed, the darkling had already found a little to eat, scraps, old glances and smiles and even a kiss Marion or Stan or both had let fall behind the couch. The thing was bigger, now, and bolder, and when it strayed from the corners of her sight she didn’t notice. The room had never been well lit, and the television threw flickering shadows that let the darkling, if it was quick and cunning, as all dark things are, roam the floor and find other things to eat.

When Marion finally saw it, the darkling froze. By now, near to midnight, it knew Marion enough to call her mother, if it called her anything at all. When it crawled up beside her on the sofa, its thick hide slick with lost recollections, she lay her hand against its bulk.

“Hello, there,” she said aloud, and the darkling quivered with joy. “What have we here?”

The darkling had no voice.

“A friend,” she said to herself, and pat it once or twice. “A friend at last, again.”

The darkling fed her back a little of what it had found in the room, old Christmases and birthdays and nights she and Stan had stayed in together. She took what it offered and smiled to herself in the dance of the TV’s light. The corners of the room held nothing for her, and the darkling at her side swelled as she fed it more of her wisps and fragments.

As it grew, the couch springs creaked like they did when Stan sat there. Marion smiled and took it by its new hand. She led it in to where Stan was sleeping. She would give it his voice, and let it remind her of the things she had let remain forgotten for far too long.


Christopher Green was born in the United States. After moving to Australia at the age of 20, he attended Clarion South and has been published in Dreaming Again, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Abyss & Apex. His work has been nominated for an Australian Shadows Award and several Aurealis Awards. When he isn’t writing, he’s thinking about writing, unless he’s talking to his wife, at which point he is most certainly listening to what she has to say. Honest. He maintains a blog at