Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

This is a short Halloween story I had written as part of a two story chapbook I was going to give away digitally, but just haven't had the time to work on. Sadly, its not edited so its in a very raw and primal state as you read it here. But hey, its FREE and it was the best I had to offer because I'm a terrible planner. It, and the other story, were written in a style that I normally don't use, trying to capture that almost 1950's vibe. I don't know if I pulled it off or not. Enjoy!


Gumdrop Eyes
by Guy Medley  cute artwork by Jim Boring


 
Sarah answered the soft rapping at the door, the giggles beyond bringing forth a smile to her face. Three small children stood upon the porch under the yellow light, one dressed as a bed sheet ghost, one as a crude Frankenstein and the third as a vampire or some other such ghoul.
                A mousy voice just above a whisper squeaked from beneath the sheet of the ghost, “trick or treat,” the sheet trembling not in the slightest as it might have any other time a warm breath brushed against it.
                She could smell their sweetness; licorice and lemon drops and fresh pulled taffy. And she could swear it was blue and pink cotton candy tufts that escaped wildly from beneath caps and hoods and frightful plastic masks, sugary and wispy in the gentle night breeze.
                Sarah filled their outstretched sacks with handfuls of candy, smiling down at the bizarre little children. The ghost looked up and beyond its ragged cut eyeholes she could see purple eyes staring back at her, unblinking like two sugared sapphires. Like twin gumdrops she thought delightfully.
                The three children ran off toward the next waiting house, their little bodies making a sticky, syrupy sound as they retreated across the lawn, and Sarah watched on in fascination and bewilderment and in a little bit of terror as they went.
                “Come away from there, Sarah,” George called from the living room. “Quit gawking at those little beggars and come sit down, now. Our program’s about to begin any second.”
                Sarah relaxed in her chair, looking at but not really seeing the television in front of her. “Who was it anyway, the Jackson kids?” he asked.
                “No. No, I don’t believe so. I’m not entirely sure who they were. Not at all.”
                George mumbled back, happy enough with the answer and returned his attention once again to the television.
                When all of the candy had been handed out, Sarah switched off the porch light and headed up to bed.
                A chaos brought her to the bedroom window where she looked out onto the street below. The three odd children were being pursued down the street by a pack of children still adorned in mask and costume. They advanced upon the trio slowly, as if they were leading a funeral procession through the deserted street. In a macabre way she supposed that was indeed what they were doing after all. Whooping and hollering and screaming savagely, they at last caught their quarry, and what soon followed was a scene more gruesome than any Sarah had seen in a lifetime.
                She watched as the strange little children were thrown to the pavement, their candy bags bursting open as the other children ripped and pulled and kicked them mercilessly like so many vultures squabbling over a bloated carcass. Their screams were like tortured metal, nails on blackboards in the still night as the little savages rendered them to bits. In their multi-colored nakedness the three appeared almost clownish, she thought.
                Chunks of candy scattered across lawns and into the street as they were dismembered, torn limb from limb like a troop of burst piƱatas. Their sugary guts, pink and blue and raspberry red, glistened in the light of the waning moon. Yards of black and red licorice rope were ceremoniously unspooled from split torsos, gumdrop and lollipop eyes plucked and sucked from sugar skulls and popped between sweet stained teeth.
                It was a sickeningly sweet slaughter right outside her house. And yet, she couldn’t bring herself to remove her eyes from the spectacle below. The confectionary cannibalism brought on by masked terrors gripped her attention fully.
                The mouths of the attackers stained nearly black by the colored sugars they chewed, greens and reds and yellows so bright, frothed into a vicious spittle that slipped from their mask hidden mouths and dribbled over chins. A small girl, hands and gown a hopeless, hideous mess of tacky sugar juice, looked up, up into the high window where Sarah watched aghast, and smiled. Sarah couldn’t see the smile under the mask of a green witch, but she knew the wicked thing was there all the same.
                Sarah curled into a frozen ball under the blankets to await morning as a host of terrible images danced through her head. She couldn’t even be sure that what she had witnessed was real. How could it be? Children made from candy was a preposterous idea. Pure fantasy. She must be more exhausted than she realized.
                She slogged out the front door for the paper the following morning, the previous night’s terrors still reeling in her head. Upon the sidewalk and street the only remaining evidence to last night’s slaughter were small syrupy puddles that dogs and ants licked happily at. A few colorful clumps of cotton candy drifted lazily across the lawn waiting to dissolve peacefully in the fresh dew.
                A sudden splash of water broke her away from morbid memories of the night past, washing away a spot of sugary death from the driveway. “Can you believe the mess those damned cretins left behind?” George said, aiming the garden hose at yet another spot and dissolving it to the heavens. “Every Halloween. It gets bothersome, really.” The dissolved sugar sluiced from the driveway in a torrent of cold water and ran into the gutter drain, ants and all, as she watched.
                “Probably those pesky Collins kids, always running about like they own the neighborhood,” he continued. “No, I just don’t understand these kids nowadays. Not one bit, Sarah.”
                No, she thought, he probably didn’t understand them. But she did. Oh, she understood them perfectly. And right now she needed some sweet, sweet candy.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Robbed of Sleep Volume 3

I was fortunate enough to once again be included in this great series of anthologies edited by Troy Blackford. 'Robbed of Sleep, Volume 3' is, in my opinion, the best so far, and I'm not just saying that because I have a story within its pages. This volume is packed with outstanding tales of horror and sci-fi and speculative fiction that will make it impossible for you to put this book down. My contribution, entitled 'Dollface', is perhaps the most disturbing, messed-up thing I have ever written for publication. I hope you all pick up this outstanding volume. You won't be disappointed. The Kindle edition can be found here. Paperback edition can be found here.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Writers

I suppose I could vaguely consider myself a writer. I write. People read what I write. I've even sold stories to publications and earned enough to super-size my McDonalds order with that pay. I have no illusions of writing full-time for a living. Or of even signing a book deal with a big publisher. I'm happy writing short stories about disturbing and sad and terrible things. It's not easy. If it were I doubt I would enjoy it.

I don't often ponder these things, though it does interest me. Writers interest me. It's not the glamorous lives they lead, locked for months on end behind closed doors tapping away at keys, gas station burrito and Oreo stains on their shirt their only constant companion. No social life until the never-ending deadlines are met. Spouses with the white jacket men on ready speed dial. No, for me it's more an interest in their processes. How they took an idea and made it blossom into a world.

Okay, enough with that. What even brought it up was a post by another writer, Paolo Bacigalupi, who if you haven't read you need to. Right now! Start with 'The Windup Girl'. Here's the wonderful thing he had to say that inspired me to say my own thing:

One thing stands out to me: I like writers. I like those people who struggle to say something with fiction. Those people who struggle to shape an idea, or a character or a scene, struggle to get a voice and hold on to it through the whole of a long project. I like those people who do not gaggle about with theoretical abstractions of what a book should be, or could be, or might be, but instead dare to face the thing that they actually can create, and that will never come close to the platonic ideal of whatever some outsider will say is good. I like the people who dare the messy complexity of hundreds of thousands of words, tangled, all connected, all influenced by one another, lace webworks, painstakingly and messily constructed. Those webs of story might shake in the wind, and might come apart when people prod them, might barely manage to cling to a shape, but I love them for their bravery.     -Paolo Bacigalupi
             

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Bed of Ice

Once again, I've neglected my blog. So, I thought, why not throw up a not very well written short horror story from the old slush pile. That pile, by the way is massive, consisting of several reams in print. But, this particular one, 'A Bed of Ice', I have a fondness for, even though it needs far more editing work. I wrote this as a kind of joke between a friend and I (Names changed to protect the severely demented, twisted souls), as ourselves as the characters as teenagers and bored one winter break. Ironically, seeing as it's the two of us, I'm not certain as to how these events didn't actually come to unfold in reality, minus the snow, of course. Anyhow, Maybe you'll enjoy this and maybe you won't.


A Bed of Ice
by Guy Medley
Artwork borrowed illegaly




Rob sat slumped in an overstuffed chair in Eric’s dad’s den, a bag of stale cheese puff crumbs teetering on the edge of the end table between them, as they both sat staring lifeless at the television half watching some played-out sitcom drone on in the background. Winter break from the sixth grade meant little more than long days of boredom and wishes for warmer weather. Both Rob’s and Eric’s parents worked during the week, leaving the two at the mercy of their imaginations and their limited kitchen skills.
               
 “This town sucks, man,” Eric said, his gaze somewhere between the ceiling and Neptune. “There’s never anything to do around here.”
               
 “Yeah,” Rob replied, the laugh track of the corny eighties sitcom almost lulling him into a hypnotic state.
               
 “Four more years,” Eric said. “Then I’ll be getting my driver’s license and I’ll be so outta here. Screw this place.”
               
 Both boys sat in the darkness of the den and imagined their lives away from small town living, where big dreams would come true every day. Where they could be free to do anything they wanted and be anyone they chose to be.
               
 Rob’s meditative trance was broken as the television clicked off. He looked over at Eric who held the remote in his hand.
                
 “I know where there’s a dead body,” Eric said, looking at Rob. “Wanna see it?”
               
 “Where?” Rob asked, sitting up straight as his attention came back to focus.
               
 “It’s out in the woods behind our houses. I found it the other day. It was all blue and frozen solid. Its eyes were open, staring straight up, the color of frozen mud.”
               
 Rob couldn’t believe what he was hearing. It was like the plot to a horror movie. “And you didn’t tell anyone?” he asked.
               
 “No,” Eric said. “I wanted to show you first. Before the cops and CSI and everyone came and took it away.”
                
 “Why didn’t you tell me about this sooner?”
               
 “I was afraid you might not be ready to see a dead guy yet. Besides, I was scared whoever killed him might be watching the area or might come back for the body.”
               
 “He was killed?” Rob almost yelled, jumping to his feet. “Awesome! I’ve never seen a real-life dead body before. Except for my grandpa, but he was just lying asleep-like in bed, not murdered or anything. Is it all chopped-up and gross? Does it smell real bad?”
               
 “No,” Eric said. “He’s just dead. That’s all.”
                
 Rob walked circles in the dark room. “Man, I wonder who killed him, and why?”
               
 “It doesn’t matter,” Eric said. “Some people are just born to be killed while others are born to do the killing. That’s just the way it is.”
                
 Eric threw on his favorite yellow jacket; its sleeves frayed with use, and motioned for Rob to follow. The boys walked through the rusty gate in the fence that separated the back yard from the woods beyond. A chorus of neighborhood dogs barked in their wake as they crunched over the brittle snow toward the skeletal trees.
               
 Eric admired the dazzling glitter of the sunlight playing off of the snow crystals. They were as brilliant and flashy as any Las Vegas hotel marquee lighting up the strip, but clean; pure. A suitable place to rest eternally, unlike any place Vegas could offer.
               
 He stopped under a large old oak, Rob almost running into him. “This is it. This is where he’s at,” he said, pointing to the snow covered ground. “It snowed yesterday, so he’s buried now. We’ll have to dig him up.”
               
 The boys got down on their hands and knees and began digging through the snow, scooping up handfuls at a furious rate, excited about the prospects of digging up a real-life murder victim. The hole grew deeper and deeper, but with no sign of the body.
                 
“Shouldn’t we have seen something by now? We’ve dug down pretty deep already,” Rob said, wiping sweat from his brow with a slush covered glove.
               
 “We’re close,” Eric said. “Just a bit more is all.”
               
 Before long the pit was too deep to work from the top, so both boys crawled inside and worked from the bottom, digging even deeper. Finally Rob stood and stretched, looking at their work thus far.
                
 “I need a break for a second.”
                
 “That’s fine,” Eric said. “We’re there.”
                
 As Rob took a second look into the pit they stood chest deep within to see what he had missed, Eric grabbed ahold of his hair from behind and pulled Rob’s head back as the flash of a blade appeared in his other hand and swept smoothly across his exposed throat in a graceful clean motion.
                 
Eric had gone out to the garage and used his dad’s good stone sharpener on the blade until it was so sharp it had repeatedly threatened to cut through its own leather sheath. Now he took that precision blade and cut until he felt the edge of the steel grind musically against bone. Rob made a series of sickly gurgling noises as his thickening essence filled his throat and lungs, as it flowed from his gaping neck like a steaming geyser. Thick drops of blood fanned out fantastically upon the snow like a million rubies glittering atop sugar. So delightful. So delicious looking, he thought with wonder.
                 
Eric lowered Rob gently into the hole they had dug and watched as his remaining life ate crimson wormholes into the snow. When the flow at last came to a halt, he tucked his friend in and under the snow; into his bed of ice, gently folding the covering over his cold body like jeweled sheets of diamond. A fitting shroud of ice for him to rest beneath.
               
 He happily walked back home, the setting sun coloring the snow pink and lavender, and whatever wonderful colors Rob was seeing from beneath.     


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Why We Need Women In Horror Month

As a new writer (so far as publishing is concerned), the one thing I've learned is that the profession is filled with friendly, helpful, supportive people. Most of the time. But, like any group of people, there are a few bad seeds that sprout up from time to time and spread their vile spores. Nobody knows why. Maybe my friend Mercedes has them pegged and it's simply because they're 'whakadouches'.

As a writer of mainly horror, I can't help but be thankful to women writers of horror. They were key in bringing forth the modern era of horror with authors such as Ann Radcliffe in the 1700's, to Mary Shelley in the 1800's and on into more modern times with Shirley Jackson. If not for these women, authors such as Stephen King and Dean Koontz, and many others probably would not have had a horror platform to stand upon.

Now, the blog post that inspired me to write this, by the awesome author and lovely woman of darkness, Mercedes M. Yardley (hopefully with permission):



This is Exactly Why We Need “Women In Horror Month,” You Jerk.


Well. I’m mad.
I’m not trying to be inciting or hysterical. But I am angry.
A “fellow” horror writer lambasted a dear friend and amazing woman for doing book signings while in costume and…I’m not quite sure what else. Being a woman? He said women were especially bad at trying to grab attention (“claiming” we’re horror writers when we aren’t) and most of us are hags anyway.
That’s right. Most of us are hags.
hag
I’m sorry, but how did appearance even manage to worm its way into this conversation? This author has one book out and a second releasing soon. Yet he has the authority to decide who is really a horror writer and who isn’t? And bringing physical appearance into it is exceptionally personal. He doesn’t like the way most of us look? Next time I’ll be careful to wear a helmet while signing so I don’t offend readers. I thought writing was about the *writing* but apparently I was wrong! Silly woman, “claiming” to write horror! Thank goodness this random dude was there to set the #LadyHags in our place.

WIN_20150216_155129
The Helmet of Haggishness will hide my face nicely at signings. Oh, and look! An Anti-Hag Cooties visor, as well!
Hags? All right. I’ll hop on that broomstick and ride it.
I’m not naming names for a few reasons. The first reason is grace. Perhaps the ranting author had a really bad day. Perhaps he wrote something without thinking and didn’t realize how hurtful and misogynistic he was being. Perhaps these aren’t really his true thoughts. I wouldn’t want to cause this individual pain, even though he so clearly caused it in others.
The other reason that I don’t want to share his name is because he doesn’t deserve the attention.
The third is because the woman he attacked (before his vitriol spilled over to the rest of womankind) has the right to share his identity, not me. If you’d like to talk to her about it, feel free. Besides being a fun, compassionate writer and person, she is also a mother dealing with a sick child. Her son has cancer. That’s right: cancer. And some random whackadouche decided that she wasn’t up to his standards.
You see why I’m so furious right now. My hands are shaking.
Meme Created by Sister Hag Tonia Brown
This isn’t a one-time thing. It’s a constant thing. February is Women in Horror month precisely because of things like this. Women are often shunted to the back or otherwise demeaned in this genre. Definitely not by everybody. If we’re hags, then we have a strong troop of hag supporters. Team #LadyHags. There are men inside this genre and out who link arms and stand with us. Which is how it’s supposed to be, by the way. Who has time for pettiness and division, really? Don’t you have lives you’re trying to lead? Children you’re trying to feed and keep alive? Don’t you have loved ones worth fighting for? Why spend your time attacking women that are of no concern to you?
You don’t have the right.
We are here. We are beautiful. We are strong. We’re going to write what we want and how we want. If we want to do readings in libraries, good. If we want to do booksignings on a lawn, more power to us. Our path to success doesn’t concern you. It doesn’t impede yours. You don’t like what we write, where we hold signings, or what we’re wearing?
Nobody asked you. And more importantly?
You don’t get to tell us what to do.
If you’re going to judge us as writers, then judge us on merit. Like us for who we are or what we bring to the table. But don’t turn us away because of something stupid like, oh, having female anatomy. Besides, women are wired for horror. Believe it.
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As for the rest of us, Happy Women in Horror Month. Support your favorite lady hags and pick up a book. If you already have a copy, gift it to somebody. Let our haggishness shine! ‪#‎LoveYourHag‬ ‪#‎ladyhags‬

 Please stop by and visit Mercedes' blog, A Broken Laptop

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Free Puppies

It's been a while since I posted something here, so, I thought to satisfy your disturbing need for something vile and evil, I'd post a super short story that doesn't seem to want to find a home anywhere else. This piece came about, as so many of my stories do, through a real-life event. Well, not so much an event, at least for myself, so much as a simple discovery. I was driving home from the post office one afternoon when up ahead in the middle of the street sat a cardboard box lying on its side. As I drove past I saw it had written across a side in kids handwriting (or a very sloppy adult. One never can be sure around here) "Free Puppies" in bright pink Sharpie. It was open on the side I passed and I could see no puppies, free or otherwise. The story just popped into my twisted mind almost immediately. It's just a weird, kind of funny, twisted story.


Free Puppies
by Guy Medley
artwork: stolen from Google

Sarah pulled the corner onto Meadow Lane, steering her car toward home. She was exhausted from a week of the same weekly bullshit at the office and was more than ready to get some relaxation in during the weekend. But, she knew that wasn’t likely to happen. The kids would be demanding of her every second, while their father would demand they remain out of his way as he wrote. He was home every day, writing, or so he claimed. But she knew his routine: get up and write for two or three hours, then spend the rest of the day eating Cheetos and watching Sports Center, or as he called it, partaking in a “creative interlude.” The bastard, she thought angrily. He writes one best seller and now he thinks he’s Stephen fucking King.

                
 As she neared her driveway she saw something lying in the middle of the street. As she got closer she saw it was the cardboard box the neighbor kids had been using to house the litter of puppies that their dog had delivered a few weeks earlier. The hand scrawled “Free Puppies” in neon pink marker, was plainly visible, written across one side, which now faced upward, as the empty box was now lying on its side. That’s odd, she thought as she swerved into her driveway.

                
 Then she saw the florid streak of blood that trailed from the dark maw of the upended box. It seemed to stretch from the box in the street up and over the curb and onto the sidewalk. She followed it with her eyes as she parked. It continued across the sidewalk and up the walkway to the front porch, and beyond. “What the hell?” she stammered. Had something happened to the puppies, or to the neighbor kids? As the horrid thought of kids being mowed down in the street with puppies blossomed in her mind, she rushed from the car toward her house, following the dark grisly trail to the door.

                
 She burst in through her front door, fear and worry growing steadily with each step, as the trail leading her way now contained bits of fur and chunks of god knew what. She threw her briefcase down on the foyer floor and rounded the corner into the living room. Both of her children were sitting on the floor in the middle of the room, a mound of bloodied fur surrounding them both. They were covered head to toe in blood and vile guts; fur sticking to them at odd angles and in clumps as if they themselves were sprouting an animal’s coat.

                
 Neither child looked toward their mother as they continued, what to her horror, she realized was play. They swung the ragged remains of puppies around by their legs and tails, flipping them into the air as they giggled and laughed. Blood covered the floor in a thickening pool. It congealed on the sofa and curtains and lamps in a splatter pattern Pollock would have been proud of. “What the hell is going on here?” she asked, her eyes wide with disgust. “Where is your father?”

                 
The children paid her no attention, continuing their macabre game, wringing the last of the blood from their once living toys. Sarah marched over to her youngest child and spun her around to face her. “Why are you doing this, Becky?” The girl looked up into her mother’s eyes with eyes that were as black and soulless as a skull’s, and smiled wide. Even her teeth were colored pink with blood. “Jesus, what are you doing?!” she shouted at them both. Donny now looked at his mother and smiled as well. Sarah’s blood chilled at the sight of them both.

                
 “Where the hell is your father?” she asked again, backing away from them, tremors of fear now gripping her.

                
 In unison they answered in voices as foreign to her children’s lips as that of the devil’s himself. “Zirnek demands the blood.” They then went about their play.

                
 “Zirnek? What’s Zir…?”

                
 “Zirnek demands the blood,” they both interrupted, once again in perfect, chilling unison.

                 
“Goddammit, what is…?”

                
“Zirnek demands the blood,” they uttered again, still playing with the bloody corpses.

                
 “Who the fuck is Zirnek?!” she yelled, tears beginning to stream from her eyes. She stumbled and caught herself as she staggered backwards toward the hall, away from the things that were her children when she had left for work this morning. She had reached the archway to the hallway and foyer when she bumped into something solid and soft. She spun around on shaky legs to see her husband standing behind her. His bloodied face lit up with a wide pink smile as he looked down at his wife.

                 
“Zirnek demands the blood” he said in a dark raspy voice that was nothing like his own.

                 
Sarah’s eyes grew to saucers as she saw the large kitchen knives he held in each bloody fist.

                
“Zirnek demands MORE blood,” he said as he lunged.