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Sunday, October 28

Road to Transylvania

"Road to Transylvania"
Halloween Story
by Rod Drake

“A vampire!” Chester “Turkey” Hopewell screeched as he slammed the door of the pair’s antique bedroom suite in a 14th century castle in gloomy Transylvania. (In fact, that was their current advertising slogan for 1940: “Transylvania – Always Gloomy, All the Time. Take a Break from the Sun!”)

“Turkey, my boy, you’re overreacting again,” Duke Bingle crooned out in his reassuring manner, “You’ve got the willies, and you’re scaring yourself out of your wits. Or at least half-wits.”

“Oh yeah, funny to you, but I’m fighting for my life over here. I have garlic aftershave on,” Turkey yelled at the door as he pressed all of his weight against it.

Calmly tapping his pipe, Duke replied, “I believe that’s room service with our supper. Compliments of the management since we offered to do our song-and-dance act in his otherwise empty nightclub downstairs.”

“You mean that tomb in the basement! Yipes! I scared myself just saying that.” The door swung open easily despite Turkey’s desperate pushing against it.

“Your meal,” the hunchback waiter mumbled as he wheeled the rickety cart in.

“Meal?” Turkey exclaimed, lifting a container lid from which heavy fog tumbled out obscuring the tray. “Man, that looks like a B-picture on the Universal lot. Somebody call Claude Rains; tell him his set is missing.”

“Don’t mind him,” Duke mock-whispered to the waiter, “he’s been jumpy since Dottie made a picture with Errol Flynn.”

“Errol Flynn! What does that good-looking, classy, heroic, romantic guy have that I don’t?” Turkey huffed.

“I think you just answered your own question,” Duke offered, tipping the waiter. The waiter looked with his good eye at the measly coin in his hand, then up at Duke who added, “Don’t spend it all in one place.”

“Let’s eat out on the veranda and enjoy the night air,” Duke suggested, pushing the cart out onto the stone balcony.

“Yeah, night air does wonders for my appetite, and I’m still a growing boy,” Turkey replied, tying a napkin around his neck.

“Not so much growing as expanding,” Duke tossed in, poking Turkey in the stomach.

“That’s just my muscles at rest.”

As the pair settled down to eat, a delicate bat flew onto the balcony, hovering in the air for a moment, while Turkey and Duke stared at it transfixed.

Then the bat transformed itself into a very beautiful woman in a black, form-fitting, satin ball gown with elbow-length gloves and a huge ruby necklace on the whitest skin imaginable. She was exotic-looking, with come-hither eyes and full lips.

Turkey leaped up, exclaiming, “Now, this is the kind of delivery service I’ve been looking for.” He took the breathtaking girl in his arms and put his ski-nose profile softly against her cheek, purring, “You put the va-va in va-va-voom. Let’s find a nice crypt where we can be alone.”

As Turkey closed his eyes in rapturous love, the girl opened her mouth, revealing razor-sharp fangs intended for his neck, but Duke suddenly plunged a wooden stake through her heart from behind. She went limp in Turkey’s arms.

“Hey, this babe’s gone gaga over me; I knew I was a lady-killer.”

“Junior, I think I’m the lady-killer this time. You were just the blood bank, and she wanted to make a withdrawal.”

The girl dissolved into a centuries-old corpse in Turkey’s arms. “Oh no, this chick’s older than those musty songs you warble. But she looked so gorgeous a minute ago; it must have been a trick of the light.”

“Yes, you being light in the head. That’s your vampire. You were right, Turkey; this castle is filled with vampires, and we’re on the menu.”

“Then let’s scram before some other undead pinup girl wants some of this All-American red-blooded boy,” Turkey yelled as he grabbed their luggage. “Next train to anywhere sounds good to me.”

“Let’s slip out the back before anyone misses us at the club.”

As they rushed down a winding stairway, Turkey asked, “Hey, Duke, where did you get that wooden stake from?”

“Props Department. If we hurry, we can make Berlin by dawn.”

Turkey addressed an imaginary audience. “That place is scarier than here!”

Rod Drake loves Halloween, and old Hope & Crosby Road movies, so he combined the two. Check out Rod's other stories published in Flashes of Speculation, Flash Forward, MicroHorror, Six Sentences and AcmeShorts.

Monday, October 22

The Orca

"The Orca"
Flash Fiction
By Linda Courtland

The orca was part white, part black; he had no idea which box to choose under Ethnic Group. Perhaps there was a learning curve; the vet had only recently begun collecting demographic information. Surely this world-class caregiver was not intentionally insensitive to the plight of patients whose genetic makeup wouldn't fit neatly into one category. The orca had quietly endured numerous challenges since coming to this place – being called a killer in public, being forced to perform for food, being placed in amorous situations while others watched. Still, as he surveyed the doctor's monochromatic clientele – smelly sea lions with dental issues, know-it-all Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, a particularly fidgety ADHD sea otter –the orca realized with a familiar sense of ennui that he would always be different, no matter what he did or which box he checked. So, despite clear instructions to the contrary, he marked both boxes – black and white – and embraced his inherent identity, a perfect fusion of opposites that few could understand or appreciate; unless of course, he was finally willing to open up and let them.

Linda Courtland is an LA-based travel and entertainment writer. She loves whales, and travels the world to watch them.

Friday, October 19

Hidden Gem

"Hidden Gem"
Halloween Story
By Patricia J. Hale

It was Halloween at dusk and Ann was living the nightmare.

The key stuck in the lock. She had the feeling she was being watched while fiddling with it and when it snapped open at long last, the key broke off in the door. “Damn it. I’d better leave the door open,” she said aloud. “If it shuts, I’ll be locked in.”

She pushed the door slowly forward and it creaked. “Is anyone there?”

She needn’t have bothered. Judging by the dusty stale air, no one had been there for at least 10 years. As she walked in, she coughed, breathing in cobwebs. She flailed her arms around to clear her way and then felt a spider crawling up her arm. “Give me a break!” She said as she flung the spider off to the floor where it crawled away before she could kill it. “Whatever.” She heaved a sigh.

Looking around the room, she could just make out the faded Victorian style furniture, a table with a broken leg, boxes. The heavy blood red velvet shades were all drawn. Not what she expected.

Just then a large black bird flew into the living room and Ann jumped back, accidentally closing the door with a thump. “Damn!” Hope that door is unlocked from the inside, she thought. “Was that a—a BAT? I must be losing it.

Then she heard voices beyond a short dingy hallway. “Hello? Hello?”

She walked down the hallway, smelling foul mysterious odors. “This is absurd,” she said under her breath. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

“Anyone there?” She called out, reaching the kitchen. It felt cold, clammy. She looked up at the skylight and saw the glass was broken leaving a gapping hole. She felt something under her feet, looked down and saw that bird droppings covered the kitchen floor, making almost a black and white pattern with the occasional feather. “Disgusting,” she said, continuing to look around.

The walls had faded and flowered wallpaper punctuated with horrible clown pictures in cheap cardboard frames. A small table had a large Tupperware bowl full to the brim with candy corn. Apparently, even the birds and bats had rejected it.

The voices she heard must have come from outside, because there was nothing human in this kitchen. As far as she could see. But where was the odor coming from? She gingerly stepped to the refrigerator and opened it, causing a glow of light, temporarily blinding her. She glanced in, and then jerked her head back to avoid the overpowering rancid smell. Dear God, what WAS that in the plastic bag? For the life of her, she could swear it was a human head. She slammed the door closed.

Unable to escape the smell, she bent over double, holding back from retching. She closed her eyes. “I don’t get paid enough for this!” She said and rushed back toward the living room. On the way, she couldn’t stop herself from peering into the bedroom, where she was shocked by a skeleton, hanging from a noose.

She ran to the front door and grasped the door handle to escape, but it wouldn’t turn, covered in some sort of slime. Yanking her hand back, Ann screamed in frustration, “This is it! No more! Never! I’m absolutely, positively NEVER EVER going to visit a house again without the seller! NEVER!”

Patricia J. Hale has had stories published in Powder Burn Flash, Flashshot, Flash Pan Alley, and MicroHorror. And a couple of limericks in The Rap Sheet. She writes because she can’t stop herself. Her husband can’t stop her either. For her latest work see patriciahale.blogspot.com or reach her at patriciajhale@aol.com. Especially with paying gigs.

Thursday, October 11

The God of Hellfire

"The God of Hellfire"
Short Fiction - Crime
By r2

I am one of the world’s best-kept secrets.

I have to be. If word were to ever get out, there would be panic. I can’t have
that. People would no longer trust the institutions designed to protect them.
People would no longer feel safe, because there is no safety. There is no
escape. There is only hell.

So every night you double and triple lock the front door. You check the back
door. You make sure all the windows are locked. If you live in a house, maybe
you check the garage door to make sure it is down. You turn out the lights.

Maybe you’re with someone. Maybe you make love. Maybe you kiss your loved
one goodnight and then turn on your side. Maybe you’re alone. Maybe you
read. Or, watch Dave or Jay. Then you pull the covers up to your chin and fidget
a little until you’re comfortable. Maybe you whack the pillows a couple of times
to get them just right. Then you close your eyes. Eventually you sleep.

When you fall asleep, you’re dead.

There once was a song, “Fire” by a group called The Crazy World of Arthur
Brown. Anyone who heard it remembers it. It was a single during a time in the
60s when there were other songs about fire; “Light My Fire” by the Doors, and
“Fire” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Arthur Brown began his live concerts by insulting the audience. Yelling at them.
Cursing them. Then, he would light his head on fire and scream the beginning
of his song: “I am the god of hellfire and I bring you…Fire!”

That was entertainment. I am real. I AM the god of hellfire.

Take Betty. Tonight she dies. She’s in her little bed all snuggly warm. Let’s see,
there’s a cat by her bed. He’s already dead. And Betty can’t even smell the
gasoline I’ve poured all around her. It’s on her chest of drawers. In her mattress.
On all of her pretty little clothes. The fumes have knocked her out. She’ll never
even wake up.

The cops have never caught me. I’m too tricky for that. I never leave clues.

No fingerprints. No DNA. No dirt samples or fiber samples. No tire tracks. No
witnesses. Only gasoline. And one charred match.

I’m very careful in my work. I am a secret because I am clever

How do I choose my victims? Easy. If you piss me off, you’re gonna burn. There
are too many people that are bothersome, nettlesome, just plain annoying. A
good, cleansing fire is the best way to remove their stain on humanity.


You just never know whom I’ll pick. If you’re rude, it might be you.

Betty Linder never thought she would perish. But she’s an awful person. I was in
a cafeteria line and I asked for more tater tots. She said they were out. Out of
tots? I love tots.

Now I’m standing over her bed. All I have to do is strike the match. Do you
know people’s skin actually melts if it gets hot enough?

I love the wompf gasoline makes. I love the crackle of fire.

“Somethng smells funny”

“It’s nothing.”

“I heard that awful song playing. Are you burning your sister’s dolls in the
utility sink again?”

“Go away mother.”

This is so much more rewarding than frying ants with a magnifying glass. I AM
the god of hellfire.

Monday, October 1

Weird Scenes Outside the Gold Mine

"Weird Scenes Outside the Gold Mine"
Short Fiction - Humor
by Rod Drake

So, we're Americans in Paris, in this really weird old hotel that looks like it was designed by Tim Burton on blotter, and Amanda was pouting as usual, acting more difficult than normal because she knows she can get away with it, when walking down the funky little hallway came, I kid you not, Jim Morrison. Bearded and gray, but behind low-slung sunglasses, the mad Morrison eyes were a dead giveaway, dead being the operative word.

Jim Morrison had died here in 1973, over 30 years ago, or so the story the media had bought and printed without much proof, including a view of the corpse, or any credible eyewitnesses, and days, if not weeks, after the fact. Plus who trusts the French to give Americans the straight scoop or even the time of day?

Morrison eyeballed Amanda, which I couldn’t blame him for, and paused about a foot after passing by us, then turned around and followed us to our room. Leaning casually on our door jam as I fumbled with the foreign lock, he asked, “Hey kids, want to Break on Through to the Other Side?”

Amanda looked at him curiously, appreciating the visual attention he had and was still paying her, but most likely nothing else about him. But there was his indefinable strangeness, which was compelling in an odd way.

Actually, that strangeness, the unspoken dangerous edge, the unpredictability of Morrison, had survived and was still strong, hovering around him like pheromones on a Chinese fire drill. It must have drawn Amanda like a moth to a flame, or maybe more accurately, like a hippie chick to the original bad boy rock star. The Lizard King himself, now somewhere in his 60s, I imagine.

We went inside, sat down on the floor of the quaint little living room, each of us taking a swig from a green bottle with an antique label that read “Absinthe” on it that Morrison pulled out of his weathered pea coat. We laughed, listened to a story or two from Morrison and his lost glory days with Joplin and the Jefferson Airplane, took another drink of the funky-tasting, psychoactive liqueur favored by poets, madmen and the suicidal, and that was the last thing that I remember until waking up the next morning.

I guess it was the next morning. I was lying up on the roof of the American Embassy, in my underwear, French pigeons waddling around me with disapproving French pigeon looks, a slight drizzle just starting to fall from the gloomy French sky. I was alone. Images of last night flashed through my mind like brilliant and brief lightning strikes. One of them was of Morrison and Amanda walking, dancing actually, on the handrail at the top of the Eiffel Tower at midnight. Another image was of Amanda running through the closed Louvre Museum in her underwear, guards chasing her with flashlights. She was a diversion to give Morrison the opportunity to remove a Gauguin from the wall, then climb out a window with me handing him the painting before making my own escape. I hoped that they, and other bizarre visions of activities from last night, were just hallucinations, or I’m in all kinds of trouble.

I was decorated with a long red velvet scarf that probably belonged to you-know-who from his Whisky A Go Go days, and a note was pinned to it on a piece of the old sheet music. The note said, in Amanda’s crisp penmanship, “M and I went for baguettes. To Le Mans. See you again some day.” Morrison had apparently added a whole, curvy string of “Ha Has” in blood-red ink all around the edges of the note.

I never saw either one of them again. And no one ever believed my story.

Rod Drake denies this story actually happened to him. Check out Rod's other stories published in Flashes of Speculation, Flash Forward, MicroHorror, Six Sentences and AcmeShorts.

FM Bulletin: Halloween Stories

Just a reminder that in the month of October, FM loves flash and short fiction Halloween Stories!

Muhahahahahaha. ;)

We had some great ones last year. Check them out. :)