Horror by POC for All Hallows Read

All Hallows Read is upon us and ’tis the season to give (or acquire for yourself) a scary book to read. If you’re not up on AHR, here’s the FAQ to catch up so you can start posting your recommendations on Twitter at #AllHallowsRead.

So you don’t have to run off to check that hashtag, here are a few of my recommendations for horror written by and about people of color.  Some are older, some newer, and there are even a few links to POC horror you can read immediately.

How’s that for a gift?

Happy Halloween!


Goth by Otsuichi

Japan has made a name for itself in the horror film scene, but I come across few people who delve into the written (and translated) words of Nippon horror. Details are painted with elegant brutality, all encased in the mores of Japanese society.

Morino is the strangest girl in school – we’ve all been there, haven’t we? – obsessed with murder. The more brutal, the better. Good thing she lives in a town that’s a magnet for serial killers, making it easy to investigate the slayings. But she and doesn’t want to stop the killer, she simply wants to understand…

Mou ichido, onegai shimasu (One more time, please.)


Almanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko

Leslie Marmon Silko is a Native American writer of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, and one of the key figures in the First Wave of what literary critic Kenneth Lincoln has called the Native American Renaissance. In Almanac, Silko puts Western, Euro-centric culture on trial and the evidence she cites is pretty damning.

This isn’t a feel-good read, or one to approach if you’re tender in any way, but if you can stand the brutality, it is a fierce, eye-opening novel.

Triggers: racism, homophobia, sexism, pedophila.



One Blood by Qwantu Amaru

Voodoo, family curses, political ambitions and a quest for power are dominant in this roller coaster ride set in Louisiana. I don’t recommend books on conjure magic lightly, as many authors aggrandize the practice, and make it something isn’t. But Amaru has done his research, pulling from his experiences living in small town America and in magic-loving countries like Brazil.

Governor Randy Lafitte is popular and beloved after battling back from brain cancer, but his political success has come at a price. When his daughter is kidnapped, Lafitte is confronted with a past he thought died a long time ago. However, what hasn’t caught you, hasn’t passed you. And what comes for Lafitte may be way more than he or the forces behind him can handle as he fights the literal demons from his past.


Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones

Stephen Graham Jones is a Blackfeet Native American author of experimental fiction, horror fiction, crime fiction, and science fiction.  Mongrels is dark humorous horror about a boy and his family who struggle to survive in a world that shuns and fears them.

They are mongrels, mixed blood, living a life of narrow escapes and midnight runnings to stay ahead of the law. As they free across the South, the boy comes of age and the family has to decide if he is one of their unusual breed or not. Bloody, grisly, and strangely moving.

Prefer to sample some of Graham Jones’ short stories first? Try The Ones that Got Away.




Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma

Do you love horror that is gut-wrenching? That will leave you staring blankly at the screen with its beauty, but send you scurrying for a blanket to combat the lingering chill it leaves? Then you want to read Sharma’s short story at the link above.

Triggers: child abuse, incest, rape.


Glen Grant’s Chicken Skin Tales: 49 Ghost Stories from Hawaii

The late Glen Grant was a historian of Hawaii and all of her melting rainbow of cultures. If you can’t get to Honolulu to experience on of the ghost tours still occurring today, pick up a copy of this volume. It’s the first in Grant’s series to give the reader “chicken skin” or goosebumps, while celebrating the diversity of fear that is Hawaii.



Crota by Owl Goingback

Crota won the 1996 Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel, and was one of four finalists in the Best Novel category. Bodies are found torn apart in the woods. Some think it’s a bear, but others know the truth: the beast whispered about around campfires for generations, is real. Goingback draws on Choctaw lore to create a monster—ursine, serpentine, ancient.



Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I was lucky enough to get an advanced reading copy of Moreno-Garcia’s upcoming release. Yes, it’s about vampires, but not as Hollywood—or even other bloodsucker literature— has portrayed them: with Aztec heritage.

Atl is a Tlāhuihpochtlin, the last of a clan of matriarchal vamps from the pre-Spanish colonization of Mexico able to take on an avian aspect. Her family slaughtered by a rival clan, Atl’s mission is to escape capture and finally make her way out of Mexico. Weak from lack of food when the young, vampire-obsessed Domingo happens by, he’s a distraction she doesn’t need. Grab a copy when it’s released on October 25th.



Haunting Bombay by Shilpa Agarwal

 The Mittals desperately try to contain the secrets that have been locked behind a mysterious bolted door, but to their shame, the supernatural always finds a way in. Forbidden love and the absolute sacrifice enhance the painful horrors brought about by the oppressive weight of family and of expectation.

Mumbai-born Agarwal’s early writings explored how colonialism and the chaos of dislocation shaped human interaction, but Haunting Bombay delves into the world of the slum-dwellers, prostitutes and hermaphrodites who survive on the peripheries of Indian society.


Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers by Alyssa Wong

 Wong is a self-proclaimed writer of tiny horrors. She’s also been a finalist the Bram Stoker & Shirley Jackson Awards. Her short story, which you can read at the link above, won the 2015 Nebula Award for Best Short Story. Bringing a new aspect to shapeshifters, a favorite of the horror genre, Wong threads queer identity and Chinese-American culture into a gruesome, chewy read. As you’ll see, I use the word “chewy” for a reason.



Splash & Flash: Swan Children Alchemy

Recently, I won a contest from These Unquiet Things, an elegant blog for kindred glooms. I was the lucky recipient of two bottles of scented oils from Swan Children Alchemy. Proprietress and scenteur Aubrey Rachel Violet Bramble offers “Oil blends, crystal magic, and herbal wisdom for personal empowerment and maximum luminosity.”

Yes. I’m here for all of this. I received Morrigan and Red Room. More on them in a moment.

Since I am such a lover of scent, I thought I’d post a piece of flash fiction I wrote based on my impression of the fragrance. Splash it on, live in it for a bit, then write a story. Hence the name, Splash & Flash.

The lovely Sarah Elizabeth from TUT also included a few other fragrance samples I’ll splash and flash at a later date. On the day I received the gift, I took a photo of the contents.


As Above So Below temporary tattoos

A Becky Munich heart-shaped sticker and Goddess Witch bookmark

Concrete Minerals vegan mineral eyeshadow in Kinky

Raven’s foot grosgrain ribbon

Vampire queen mirror (The irony of that is not lost on me.)

6 perfume samples:

-Black Forest from Black Phoenix Alchemy Laboratory

-Starry Night from Montale

-Poudre de Riz from Huitieme Art

-Black Gemstone from Stephane Humbert Lucas 777

-Malefic Tattoo Extrait from LM Parfums

-Floriental from Comme de Garcons

I’m focusing on Swan Children’s magnificent oil fragrances. First up: Morrigan.

Last week, I had some struggles, both personal and professional. When I opened the box, I was drawn immediately to the Morrigan scent, part of their Goddess collection.


A dark and mysterious forest calls to your inner crow through a deathly blend of dragon’s blood, juniper berry, black pepper, fir needle, patchouli, and sweet almond oil with an inky black onyx obelisk holding queenly court in the center of the vial.

Onyx is sacred to The Morrigan. It is an iron-clad protector against black magic and negative energies while also facilitating energetic invisibility, and it is a strong fortifier of deep personal power and magical wisdom.


I felt inspired wearing this fragrance. Powerful and capable. The scent lingered, draping me in its protective embrace. I was beyond those struggles of earlier in the week and I sat at my laptop and powered through my workload.

At the end of the day, I still felt a latent energy pulsing through me, instead of the creeping fatigue that sometimes assaults me at mid-afternoon and lingers, unwelcome. As such, here is the flash piece I wrote while wearing Morrigan:

Goddess Rising

The chains binding her snapped, releasing a metallic ozone into the incense-laden air. Lightning struck, drawn to her damp tongue, igniting her and burning away the sludge that had encased her more firmly than the irons had.

She was free once again.

Broken open.

She slipped from the damaged husk, her feet bare and new and strong. Kissing her cage, her prison—her old self—she thanked it for shrouding her. Then crushed it underfoot, leaving it to char in the fires of before.

The second fragrance I tried was Red Room, Number 10 from the Twin Peaks Collection.


Terror. Shadows. Doppelgängers. And a strange little dancing man. The scent of danger, unfiltered.

Top notes: hallucinogenic incense smoke
Middle notes: motor oil, scorched wood
Base notes: tobacco ash, ambrette, murky forests


Terror and shadows. My wheelhouse. But sitting at my computer, draped in the scents of fear, I trembled a little. My other perfumes, those of light and sea and citrus, seemed far away. As the scent bloomed on my skin, I inhaled darkness. The temptation of indulging deeper, baser desires. And I wrote.

That Type of Girl

What’s that? On your face?

Lipstick, surely. Rouge, maybe. Smeared, ground, rubbed into your bare nails to tint them a rusty red. But you don’t wear rouge.

The mist of memory swirls, runs.

Under your nails…dirt. A line of it. You bring your hands to your head to contain the throbbing, the pounding.

Gardening. You’d been in the garden. Planting.

You yawn, then wince. Flex your cheek to ease the dull pain.

Cool. Cold. Tiles. You’re in the bathroom. Your reflection the mirror tells you that.

Then she tells you: You don’t garden.

And you remember.

You argued.

He hit you.

Then red.


But… you wouldn’t. You’d never…hurt anyone, would you? You’re not like that.

Your reflection smiles. Rouged cheeks and red lips. Rusty red.

She tells you: You would.

But she’ll keep your secret.

You smile.

Rusty red.


I’ve never posted flash on my blog before, so let me know what you think of it. Thanks for reading and if you love scent, be sure to check out Swan Children’s selections!

Film Face-off: Ganga and Hess v. Da Sweet Blood of Jesus

I rarely publish film reviews on this blog. I don’t know why, but I started here with books and part of me feels I should–for the most part–keep it that way.

But, I came across a film comparison I did a little while ago and I realized I never shared it on this blog. How I missed doing that, I have no idea.

I wrote this film face-off for The Horror Honeys and I recommend you check out their site.

It’s my comparison of cult classic Ganga and Hess with its remake (A Spike Lee Joint) Da Sweet Blood of Jesus. And it’s here.

Give it a read. And if you haven’t seen either film, well… you know what to do.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments.


Rebellious Reading: Banned Books Week

September 25 – October 1 2016 is Banned Books Week.

Books are challenged and banned in countries around the world every year. According to the American Library Association (ALA),  a challenge is defined as “as a formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness.”

Who is making these challenges and why do the books get banned? Have a look at the ALA’s graphic on 2014 challenges. What books are being banned for inappropriateness? Hold on, it’s a shocker.

Diverse books are most often banned.

Books by people of color and books that deal with issues on race and sexuality, specifically homosexuality, top the list.


In their press release, the ALA stated that their Office of Intellectual Freedom analyzed complaints about books from 2001 to 2013 and found that “attempts to remove books by authors of color and books with themes about issues concerning communities of color are disproportionately challenged and banned.”

Some of my favorite books have been or are on the Banned Books List. Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou frequently have their books challenged. Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Beloved, and Song of Solomon. Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Even Alice Walker’s The Color Purple has been removed from bookstores and even libraries, preventing people who may not have the resources to purchase books from experiencing these powerful novels.

The Office for Intellectual Freedom puts together a list of Top Ten most challenged books each year. 2016’s list is here.  I celebrate Banned Books Week every year by picking up something that was at one time considered not appropriate for my consumption.

Have a look at this YouTube video from April of this year on book censorship and get yourself one of these inappropriate books. You’ll thank me.

Stand UP-badge 2_0.jpg

Featured Author: Lance Keeble

I’d like to introduce you to a new author of speculative fiction I met recently: Lance Keeble.

His latest release, Globes Disease, is a horror novel set in the quiet town of La Mort Douce. A vampire threatens the small group of werewolves, who treat them like wild game. The government promises a cure, but will it come in time?

GD Hard Cover Image for ER

Tell us about yourself, Lance. 

Well let’s see, I was born and raised in LA. My mother was my primary parent; she worked for social services for 20 years. She earned her Masters Degree when I was 13. She was my first influence when it came to reading. In fact I would get in trouble because I would read books under the covers with a flashlight and be too exhausted to get up for school the next day.

I was a “B” average student with a fantastical imagination and though I read fiction and non-fiction, I found Science Fiction, Horror, Fantasy and even Comic Books quite intriguing. Around 7 years old I wrote, illustrated and bound my first book about an Ant that becomes an Astronaut.

I was always writing poems or songs. I devoured Godzilla movies and black and white horror movies like Dracula, The Wolf-man, The Fly, I Was a Teen-age Werewolf,  along with Speed Racer, James Bond movies, Batman and American football.

I did some brief college, became a fireman when my first son was born, been married a few times, had a gaggle of kids and provided for them. I stopped writing in the early 80’s for way too many reason to write in this article. In 2003/2004, I picked up a pen and dedicated myself to writing again.

Currently I am working on retiring in 3 years and I hope to establish myself into my new career so I can stay home, write and help raise my 3-year-old daughter. I love geek stuff, technology and new takes on the Science Fiction, Dark Fantasy, Superhero and Horror genres. I have a sick sense of humor and I am general immature (when I am not being responsible) and harmless. I am one big bifurcated contradiction of sorts.

What inspired you to write dark fiction?

Science fiction and horror monsters have always been a fascination of mine. I like the classic protagonist, and love when someone is successful at giving the genre a new twist. It’s funny whenever I sit down to write the only thing that comes out is dark fantasy, fiction and super hero stuff.

And the impetus for Globes Disease was…

I wrote a short story about a man who contracts Lycanthropy and is walking down the street trying to figure out if people are looking at him because he is Black or a Werewolf. That story grew. Eventually the characters increased and evolved. Eventually I began to include people I was familiar with and had not yet seen before in those types of stories.

I think True Blood was onto something but the show jumped the rails. That happens, it’s hard to talk about the same people over and over and over.

I liked Underworld’s initial introduction, but now it’s Romeo and Juliet with fangs to me.

No diss on any of these ideas and stories, they have to evolve to keep people interested, I am certain I will gain and lose readers the same way. Though personally I would prefer Game of Thrones’ success, but how often does that happen– where someone takes your work and attempts to keep it as close to the original as possible? I believe everyone would love that type of success.

Impetus? Basically I was tired of seeing the same thing with the same people in the same roles and scenarios. I thought it was about time to explore the Who? What? Why? And When? Using different perspectives when it comes to the Werewolf.

As authors of color, how can we gain a larger share of the dark fiction fan base? Is it all about visibility?

It’s the numbers, the more creators, writers and authors of color, the more the world will get used to us and just naturally buy our work with out thinking about it.

It also is gonna take the gatekeepers, the powers that be, allowing or funding, artists of color to be expansive and groundbreaking. Making sure not to pigeon hold authors in the Urban Section of the book stores or only highlighting Street tales, Ghetto Soap Operas and Afro Pulp Fiction. Again I am not dissing anyone, I just want to see the same variety and exposure that we see in mainstream publishing. I want to be allowed to and to be celebrated for, being different and strange like Waters, Palahniuk, Burton, etc.…

I want to find my audience.

Globes Disease blends horror and fantasy, making lycanthropy a disease—similar to how some have tackled vampires and zombies—with a heavy dose of action thrown in. Why mix these genres, and why werewolves?
I always felt Werewolves were an afterthought over all in the genre. Almost like they don’t know exactly what to do with them. Which is sad cause I loved movies like The Howling and American Werewolf in London, Ginger Snaps yet somehow the sequels jumped the shark. Underworld is phenomenal. But most portrayals are normally sympathetic to the Vampires. Vampires we know by name, Dracula, etc. Can you name any Werewolves? Vampires are portrayed as classy, well-dressed, romantic and societal, Werewolves are portrayed as dirty, uncontrollable, wild, always alone or in warring packs.

I don’t see Vampires that way; look at Salem’s Lot there is a reason it stands out. I think Anne Rice’s vampires are romantic but, the Vampires in her books have tipping points, human failings, I like that. I think someone who lives forever has to be alone on occasion, don’t ya’ think? Would you, could you really be with your significant other or best friend for 100 years plus? You’d want to kill one another; you need 50-60 years of alone time every now and then.

I think Wolves are natural pack animals and seek support and love; they are passionate, and unselfish, yet they can be loners as well.

I think in the past, writers and moviemakers didn’t care if Werewolves loved or had feelings. I think they were fetishized, kinda like some people who date different types to prove something or to check off the “I did that!” list.

I do like that books and movies in recent years have attempted to explore Werewolves but when I started this idea, there wasn’t much material that I found interesting.

And honestly, I love Werewolves. I like that rawness.

In short I think it’s been said that Vampires are a metaphor for romantic sex. I think Werewolves are a metaphor for passionate fucking. (Can I say that?)

(Yes. Yes, you can.) 

What research do you perform or is your work mostly spawned from personal experience?

I do what I call a brain dump. My mind has a wealth of trivial info and general knowledge that I can mostly refer to (snicker), but I want to tell a story first. Flush the plot out, see if I can give it something different or interesting as well as exploring the characters I’m curious about, after which I do deep research to answer questions I have or beta readers may have about certain details.

What I love about fiction is, you can make something up and then combine facts that make it seem plausible. I created a superhero character that was spawned from the technology of the Kuwaiti wars and when I tell people the origin, they think its real. I find that reaction to be very kool.

As far as research, folklore makes the best place to draw from, in my the third Globes Disease novel I found a perfect Native American tale about where the Werewolf comes from that I was able to incorporate into my story perfectly.

What’s your next project?

The Prequel to Globes Disease (second novel) is finished and I need an editor…

I am writing a superhero prose using public domain characters. I did another one already for Black Power: The Superhero Anthology! organized by Balogun Ojetade, titled: “Nikia the Pandora. I completed a children’s book I need an artist for that. I am currently working on the 3rd book in the GD series as well.

What truly scares you? How do these fears inspire your writing?

Rape. Children getting hurt or dying (I walked out of Pet Semetery).

I was told once to write what scares you or makes you uncomfortable (Helen Gerth)…I tend to turn off movies and put down books that cover the above subjects. So I thought I would address it a little and see where I am at with it in the third book. Honestly, I actually still don’t like it, but the book is too good to rewrite it.

What do you like to read and/or watch?

Read- I like to read a variety of things, but not all the subjects I am interested in hold my attention. I am currently reading Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor. I just finished George Clintons bio titled Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard On You?: A Memoir, I read the Fight Club 2 comic and a few other comic books and I’m trudging through Joseph Campbell’s Heroes Journey…So for me, I pick up books and then if it grabs me I read them, if not I put it down or come back to it and see if it was my frame of mind…

Books that stood out to me, and made an impact on my writing are The Tell-Tale Heart by Poe, On a Pale Horse by Pierce Anthony, Enders Game by Orson Scott Card, the Thomas Covenant Series by Donaldson, and the first 3 books of Anne Rice’s Vampire series…(I’m sure there are more but I don’t want to bore everyone)

Watch- That varies too, the Thing, Empire Strikes Back, the Force Awakens, almost any Superhero movie (even the bad ones), Star Trek (Wrath of Kahn, Under Discovered Country, the 2 J.J. Abrams reboots), NFL and Two and Half Men, and a plethora of Animated films (Especially the ones my 3 year old likes), I like Vampire Hunter D. 1 & 2, the Killing Joke, Mask of the Phantasm, Under the Redhood, Zootopia, etc. 007 (Connery, Brosnan and Craig) again I could go on and on but…

What’s missing in fiction? What shape would you like to see the future of horror take?

It’s as if Grey, Twilight, Hunger Games and Divergent, have shaped the mainstream industry…I would like more quality, more variety and less cooperate machine stuff. Which is kinda hypocritical cause I am happy about all the superhero stuff, even though they could have better diversity as well.

I think things are moving along because all the avenues to share content available, we are getting new voices but I would love to see more women and men of color. We seem to be rehashing shit and the voices aren’t diverse enough yet…It would be nice to find the next Shonda Rhimes, Matty Rich, Spike Lee, John Singleton, George Tillman Jr., Antoine Fuqua, M. Night Shyamalan, Adi Shanker of fantasy, sci-fi and horror…

I would like to see more color come to the top of that heap…and less formula…I know there is a Black Ridley Scott out there somewhere! (Laughing)

Who is your main inspiration?

My main inspirations are my Mother, Edgar Allen Poe, Chuck Palahniuk, Howard Chaykin, and a few people I may have mentioned earlier…

I like people who take the normal tropes and tweak them a little…

What’s the most difficult part of writing for you?

Time. I have a busy job. I now have a busy life. Prior to this I had relationship issues that hindered me. And children are always a challenge but can be managed. I get up early or take parts of my off days to write. I text, email and sync to myself often, especially in traffic or when I’m stuck waiting for everything: Dr. Office, restaurants, DMV, (laughing). Sorry I am thinking about Zootopia and the Sloths.


I finally sit down to type and then fall asleep. So needless to say, I would love to write full time. I think I will get better at it, when I can dedicate more time and efforts into it.

Is there a subject you refuse to touch?

There was but since I have passed that, I will say, I will not do child abuse/sexual abuse stuff like that… Even in my second book, when I pushed my comfort level, I didn’t necessarily describe the situations more than they needed to be described. Just enough to I indicated that they happened…

What do you do in your spare time? (If you have any, that is.)

I used to play video games but not any more. I am multitasking, watching and writing, working and parenting, I suffer from toddler fatigue, seriously (laughing). Writing has provided me more opportunities to write, so that is what I do in my spare time, write. I like it.

LOK by MDR for ER

Thanks so much for the interview. Is there anything else you like to mention?

Thank you for having me. It was a privilege and an honor to be able to share with you and your fans. Please read my book, fans. It’s a fast read and a character driven take on the genre that you might love. I think you will enjoy it overall.

Globes Disease is my debut novel, and as a fan of the genre it’s pretty good. I am excited cause I know I can only get better, so come grow with me…

Do You Have It? Grab yourself a copy of Globes Disease on Lance’s website or on Amazon

Please submit a review on my book that is how authors build a following. If you can, send me book-selfies. I will post them, unless they are dirty.  Like my YouTube vid, and follow me on FB, Twitter and Instagram. I love you all. Thank you.


Book Release: Nurse Blood

Rebecca Besser’s latest release, Nurse Blood–a medical horror/thriller–goes up on the Limitless website for pre-order Aug 13th and officially releases on Amazon Aug 23rd.

The work I’ve read from Besser is bloody and visceral, and this release promises nothing less with it’s subject matter: organ harvesting. She’s been kind enough to share with the blog a little about the novel, including an excerpt, so let’s get to it.

Nurse Blood Summary (Limitless Publishing):

Sonya Garret roams the bar scene hoping to steal the heart of an unsuspecting victim—literally…

Sonya, better known as Nurse Blood, is part of a team of lethal organ harvesters who seek out the weak to seduce, kill, and part out for profit on the black market. When Sonya meets Daniel McCoy, a young man recovering from a broken engagement, he’s just another kill to line her pockets with quick cash.

Agent David McCoy vows to find out how and why his twin brother Daniel disappeared…

Daniel’s body hasn’t been found, and the leads are slim to none, but it won’t stop David from dedicating his life to solving his brother’s case. When the evidence finally uncovers the shocking truth that Daniel’s disappearance is linked to organ harvesters, David knows his brother is most likely dead. But he’s determined to stop the villains’ killing spree before they strike again.

One last harvest is all Sonya and her team need to put their murderous past behind them…

A family with the rarest blood type in the world is the only thing standing between Sonya and retirement. David McCoy and the FBI are hot on their trail, though, and multiple targets make this the most complicated harvest yet. Will David unravel Sonya’s wicked plans in time to avenge his brother and save an innocent family? Or will Sonya cash in her final kill and escape for good?

Murder for profit stops for no man when you’re Nurse Blood.

Nurse Blood Front Cover


Read on for an excerpt from Nurse Blood:


The air inside the nightclub was hazy from smoke machines. Flashes of colored light cut through the swirls in beat with the pulsing music that shook the walls and the floor. The atmosphere was alive with movement―a mass of hot, swaying bodies bent on enjoying the moment. A monster waited in the depths of the darkness to bat her pretty eyes at someone and make them her prey.

The door of the establishment swung open to give way to three eager young men looking to have a good time and celebrate. The trio was instantly surrounded by dancing women. They made their way through the press of bodies to reach the bar.

Daniel forced himself not to scan the crowd for his ex-fiancée, April. But she was the least of his worries, as the real danger was a face he wouldn’t recognize.

Roy got their drinks while Hank and Daniel stood at a balcony that overlooked an even larger dance floor below. The smoke was thicker down there, and there were more lights. The dancers looked like they were paying sensual homage to their deity. The air was tainted with the aroma of perfume and alcohol; it burned the men’s nostrils and fueled their excitement for the revelry to come.

Daniel took a moment to text his twin brother, David, to let him know where they would be celebrating their shared birthday. He received a text back from David saying he was still an hour away.

Roy joined them with three shots and three cold bottles of beer, passing one of each to his friends. They downed the shots in one swallow before turning their attention to their beers.

“Dave will be here in an hour or so,” Daniel announced after downing his shot.

“Awesome—we’re gonna have a great time!” Hank yelled over the music.

As Roy took a drink of his beer, a petite, slim blonde grabbed his waist from behind. He jumped in surprise and turned, recognizing the young woman.

She tucked a finger into the front of his jeans, smiled at him, and tugged him away from his friends toward a table with another girl.

Roy looked back over his shoulder at his friends and shrugged.

“That’s Lynn,” Hank yelled to Daniel. “They’ve been seeing each other for a while. And that’s her cousin Trisha—you don’t want to go there.”

Daniel nodded and looked around. The warming effect of the shot was spreading through his body, relaxing him. He felt less paranoid about running into April.

While he was looking over the crowd, a woman caught his eye. She was a tall, slim brunette, and she was beautiful. She was standing alone at the end of the bar. He watched her for a few moments, and when she looked around, their eyes met.

He smiled and looked away.

Hank noticed Daniel’s mild interest. He knew what his friend had been through recently and why he was gun-shy with women.

“Go for it!” he yelled, nudging Daniel. “Have some fun!”

Daniel looked at his friend, took another swallow of beer, glanced at the woman—noticing she was still alone—and shrugged.

Hank laughed and gave Daniel a shove toward the bar, causing him to slam into two people who happened to be walking past. When he turned to them to apologize, he came face to face

with the very woman he was hoping not to run into: April. The man she was with was leaning on her with all his weight while she struggled to hold him up.

Daniel’s heart clenched in his chest and his lungs seized up for a moment. He felt his hand tighten around the neck of his beer bottle. He wanted to slam it over the other man’s head, but he managed to restrain himself. He didn’t want her to know how much the sight of her with another man hurt him, so he put on a brave front.

“Excuse the fuck out of me,” he said with a sadistic smile, raised the bottle in the air like he was toasting them, and then took a big swig of the brew. He was pleased with the shocked expression that spread across April’s face at his harsh greeting.

They didn’t say anything to Daniel, but focused back on each other and moved around him and deeper into the establishment.

Daniel glanced over to Hank, who was grinning from ear to ear.

He smiled at his friend, nodded, and forced himself to put one foot in front of the other until he made it over to the woman at the bar. While he walked he pretended not to notice that April had glanced back at him several times as she guided her drunken man to a table where he could sit down. He was determined to show April she wasn’t the only woman in the world. He was going to prove to himself and her that he was over the breakup.

“Hi, I’m Daniel!” he yelled when he reached the woman, leaning toward her a little so she could hear him as a new song started to play.

“Grace!” she yelled back.

They smiled at each other.

The couple chatted for a while about nothing important, since it was too loud to carry on a serious conversation, and ordered drink after drink as they stood at the bar. Daniel’s emotional tension eased little by little with every drink. He became more and more relaxed, and friendlier and friendlier with Grace. Before he knew what was happening, they were pressed up against each other while they conversed so they could hear each other better.

“Let’s get out of here,” Grace said. She kissed him and reached down between them to rub his crotch.

Normally Daniel would be shocked and uneasy by such a gesture so soon after meeting a woman, but he’d had enough drinks not to care about how respectable she was or wasn’t being.

He nodded in agreement and looked around for his friends, frowning.

“I have to tell my friends I’m leaving,” he said, taking a step away from Grace.

“Oh, don’t worry about it,” Grace said, rubbing his crotch again. “They’ll figure it out. Besides, you can call them later and they can pick you up from my place.”

That sounded reasonable so he followed her out to the parking lot. The night was clear and felt cool after the heat from the population of patrons inside the nightclub.

They stumbled together through the parking lot and paused to make out, pressed against the side of her car for a couple minutes before they finally separated their bodies to get in.

Daniel had the passenger’s side door open and was about to climb inside when his cell phone beeped, notifying him of a text. He stopped, stood up straight beside the car, and pulled his wallet out of his back pocket by mistake. He reached into his other back pocket and extracted his cell phone. He frowned and squinted to focus on the tiny, bright screen that said David was only a block away.

“What are you doing?” Grace asked.

“I can’t go with you,” he said with a sigh. “Sorry. I—”

He felt a sharp pain in the side of his neck. He reached up to figure out what had hurt him and spun around at the same time, dropping his cell phone and wallet to the asphalt parking lot.

Grace was standing behind him holding an empty syringe.

“I’m sorry,” she said, “but you have to come with me.”

He tried to shove her away, but his limbs wouldn’t do what he wanted them to. His legs gave out from beneath him as the world blurred into a black blob of nothing.


Grace shoved Daniel’s tall frame into the passenger seat when he started to fall, smacking his head on the door frame. She quickly picked his feet up from the ground and spun him so she could get him all the way into the car.

She heard laughing as a couple made their way through the parking lot a few rows over, so she didn’t take the time to pick up what Daniel had dropped.

Grace shut the passenger door and ran around to the driver’s side of her car. She scanned the parking lot as she pulled out, not seeing anyone close-by. She’d been careful, watching for people as they’d headed outside, but the distant couple had snuck up on them. Luckily they hadn’t come close enough to see what she was up to. She tensed slightly when she had to pass another vehicle as she pulled from the lot out onto the street, but the man was looking in the opposite direction and didn’t even glance their way.

Once she was out of the parking lot and a couple blocks away, she pulled out her cell phone and called Roger.

“Hey,” she said into the phone. “I have fresh meat…”

©Rebecca Besser & Limitless Publishing, 2016. All rights reserved.


Rebecca Besser 2016

Rebecca Besser resides in Ohio with her wonderful husband and amazing son. They’ve come to accept her quirks as normal while she writes anything and everything that makes her inner demons squeal with delight. She’s best known for her work in adult horror, but has been published in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for a variety of age groups and genres. She’s entirely too cute to be scary in person, so she turns to the page to instill fear into the hearts of the masses.

To learn more about Rebecca visit her Website, or find her on Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, and/or follow her Blog!


Is Perfectionism Killing Your Success?

Excellent article on how perfectionism can kill your work.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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Last time I wrote about stress and how it can kill creativity. Many “normal” people (code for “non writers”) see our job as play, as fun. They really don’t grasp what goes into creating the stories they all enjoy and that it is a lot of work. Also, because our field is so subjective, writers must endure an onslaught of “enemies” no one else can see because often they are in our head. Sometimes, in our effort to produce the best work we can, we invite in a very dangerous enemy.


All of us want to do a good job. We want to put our best foot forward. We all say that we want feedback and critique, but deep down, if we are real honest, we want people to love everything we say and do. Unfortunately, this isn’t the reality. We can’t please everyone, and it is easy…

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