Spiritual Malady

Desperate for the pinch that would bring her escape, she sought refuge in a dilapidated house slightly hidden by an overgrown yard. Squeezing through a paint-chipped opening, she entered a once loved home; now a desolate shell. She tiptoed through the crumbling building; fitting, however ironic it may have been, to have found a location almost as decayed as her. A few rodents scurried past and a disillusioned smirk crossed her chapped lips. A wave of cold sweat coated her from head to toe and the cramps in her muscles became too strong to ignore. Illness coursed through her brittle body; the remedy within her grasp.

Empty glassines scatter amongst the debris; almost instantly her vacant eyes glazed over. Collapsing into her surroundings, her back slid against exposed drywall. She stared through the broken window before her. The skewed view of an unkempt backyard swirled with gray matter. A memory washed through sullen eyes as salty tears trickled down battle-scarred cheeks. The enormous oak tree cast shade upon the little ones as they giggled in the grass; a time almost entirely forgotten. In that second she could feel the sun’s gentle warming on her skin. Pigtails and lemonade seemed so far away, droplets of melted mascara and misery spilled onto her tattered shirt faster than they could be caught. A swift jolt of pain deep beneath the flesh followed by a surge of pure bliss wrenched her into the present.

Despondent and motionless, she slumped over, barely propped up against the wall. Truths that could never have been told, let alone forgiven, silenced without warning. If she called out, would anyone even care? The gruesome truth beneath the surface of burned bridges and voluntary exile were all around her. The only company to be expected now were the rats to clean up her mess.

That haunting memory grew stronger; a skinned knee and the scent of antibiotic ointment permeated the air. Her pain was gone, then and now. Ghosts of her past pranced through her brain and banged against her skull. The sun beamed upon her face a final time as she welcomed its familiar burn. Her deep inhales grew shorter and more shallow until a stillness resonated through not just the decrepit shelter, but her ever wasting body. The withered land she’d hidden in would swallow her whole before she could be found. Iced coffee and nicotine lingered in her mouth — the last flavor of a life willingly let go. An accepting smile rested on the corpse who had no other home. Her once beautiful pale face now a brilliant blue.

Tranquility filled the darkness as hours passed, followed by weeks, until the months began to pile on. A skeleton picked clean by vermin, intertwined for eternity with an abandoned home. The idea of redemption dissolved; though her tomb was secret more would surely come. They’d follow in her footsteps and dwell on their misguided past; lives just as lonely and hearts concealed by frost.

∼ Lydia Prime

© Copyright Lydia Prime. All Rights Reserved.

Awakening by Ela Lourenco | Dragon Born: Book Three #Fantasy #YA

Awakening

Book Three of the Dragon Born series

The Royal tournament, the Karnac, is fully underway. But there is deception and betrayal at every turn. Unseen dark forces are at play, both within the school grounds and out with. Even the Gods are unable to help when a new threat looms over them all.The very existence of Azmantium depends on Lara fully becoming the Child of Fire and casting aside the Shadows lurking in every corner of her beloved planet.Can she overcome the challenges that await? Will the Shadows cover the world in darkness? Only Lara and her friends can change the fate of Azmantium.

Available on:

Amazon:

US | UK | Canada | Australia | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | Japan | Mexico | Brazil|India | The Netherlands

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BioPictureElaLourencoAbout the Author — Ela Lourenco lives in Scotland with her two daughters and husband. She has been an avid reader since childhood and has long enjoyed mysteries, mythology and anything related to the paranormal/supernatural/mystical/science fiction. She loves nothing more than making up stories about faraway people and places (helped somewhat by a mind that just won’t grow up!). When she isn’t nose deep in a book or writing herself she can be found dancing around the kitchen whilst baking. Her biggest wish in life is to infect others with a passion for reading.

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If you haven’t read Dragon Born, the first book in the series, please check out this post for more information!

Dragon Born Release Announcement

‘Hell’s Empire: Tales of the Incursion’

Hell’s Empire: Tales of the Incursion

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Hell would have its Empire….

A unique anthology of two thrones at war as the forces of Hell assault an unsuspecting
Victorian Britain.

The cry went out to theologians and engineers, to artificers and antiquarians, to every name which could be named. By telegraph where lines were still intact, and by volunteer riders where they were not; smuggled along the coast in fishing smacks, semaphored from hill-tops. It came without royal sanction, issued jointly by the Lords of the Admiralty and Marquess Lansdowne, the new Secretary of State for War: “In God’s name, help us. We are losing.”

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Prologue Excerpt:

 It began as “certain curious events”. A mention in a local newspaper; a wry comment in one of the national organs; a letter to the editor of a hobbyist magazine. Shadows and lights, inexplicable scratchings at the door – neither certain nor concrete. And it might have continued as such for months, remarked on by country vicars in their sermons, perhaps investigated with enthusiasm by the type of amateur sleuth who loves a good mystery. Nothing to bother the engines of Empire.

But it did not stay that way. We were not allowed months. From the first mention of a sickly light upon the heath to the first clawed-open corpse was a matter of weeks. Faces which could not be faces were seen in the alleyways, and mediums broke from reporting Great Aunt Mary’s comfort in Heaven to stare and scream.

Something was very wrong.

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Stories included in this anthology:
‘The Battle of Alma’, Matthew Willis
‘Hell at the Empire’, Marion Pitman
‘The Mighty Mastiff’, Rose Baxter
‘The Sea Wall’, Ian Steadman
‘The Singing Stones’, Charlotte Bond
‘The Nowl of Tubal-Qayin’, Phil Breach
‘Forge’, Shell Bromley
‘Ad Majorem Satanae Gloriam’, Damascus Mincemeyer
‘Infernal Patrol’, A.F. Stewart
‘Yan Tan Tethera’, J.A. Ironside
‘Reinforcements’, Frank Coffman
‘The Charge of the Wight Brigade’, Phil Breach
‘Profaned by Feelings Dark’, Jack Deel
‘We’ve Always Lived in a Colony’, S.L. Edwards
‘The Ones That Were Left Behind’, Martin J. Gilbert
‘A Swig in Hell’, Charles R. Rutledge
Edited by John Linwood Grant

 

Available Now – click here!

Damned Words 39

 

Inner Matters
Lee Andrew Forman

The sounds of the world bring peace: crunching gravel, leaves dancing with nature, songs sung by the creations of life. Reality has other sides, some which only a vagabond can see along their journey. The pleasant are never left unappreciated. The darkest sit atop your shoulders, ever apparent in your sight.

A band of three delinquents emerge from the brush to intercept my path, smoke-filled ugliness trailing from their mouths. Their eyes immediately find me: the derelict, the tattered wanderer, the lonely victim. But their eyes only see what their minds can imagine. I sigh in response to their vile introductions.

Before they can hassle me further my front-side expands and splits down the middle. My innards expel themselves and splatter the deviants in carnage. Fluids dissolve their flesh; they scream a futile cry of agony no one will ever hear. Only when my would-be predators are mere remnants of ooze do my organs crawl back and nestle themselves where they belong, happy and well-fed.


Tracks
Charles Gramlich

“Shhhh, I’m here.”

The man shuddered, not quite sure yet what had happened to him. I rested his head in my lap, then pushed sweat-matted hair back from his face to see his terrified eyes.

“Help…me,” he begged.

I shook my head. “Sorry. This could have been avoided, but…” I gestured for him to look at himself.

He turned his head to gaze down his body. I let him scream at what the passing train had done. He tried to struggle, to thrash his arms and legs. He had no arms or legs. Shredded remnants of his severed limbs looked like piles of cooked raspberries strewn along the tracks. And, as I’d read would happen, the train’s weight had cinched the torn veins shut. He wasn’t bleeding out; he’d live a while yet. No one would find him here, though, where I’d tied him to the tracks.

“Please,” he begged again.

I shrugged and rose. “I warned you about those spam calls from your site.” Taking out my cell, I punched a number. The phone in the man’s pocket buzzed obnoxiously. “Press 2 to be placed on my do not call list,” I told him.


Family Honor
Mark Steinwachs

When I pulled the trigger years ago, I knew my turn would come. There is only one of us in the family at any time. My death is their first hit.

Blindfolded and with hands tied behind my back I shuffle along rocky ground. Whoever is behind me helps guide me. He nudges the back of my knee with his foot and I awkwardly let myself fall to my knees. He lays me flat, my face touching cold metal, then pulls the blindfold back enough for me to look down the long track. Not the same track I used of course, but the scene floods my memory. There is only one person who knows the story of my first hit. I never thought he would be the one.

“Thank you,” a male voice says, one I’ve known since he was born. “Your place of honor awaits.”

Those words, the exact ones I spoke when it was my turn, linger in my brain as I hear the click of the safety releasing.


Now You Stand and Wait
Scarlett R. Algee

They’d picked up her clothes along the track, almost too shredded to bother, and the whole time Shep had been grumbling you’re a damn fool, it ain’t the same no more; so when Shep squats by the rail and picks up a tuft of fluffy black fur, Ben hates him a little.

He clutches the ruined clothes, swats away Shep’s offered rifle, stares down the slope to the ground beneath the trestle bridge. Squints. Wonders. “She’s still my girl.”

Shep toes the claw marks along a rusted edge of rail. “You think that now.”

“She’s still Ellie. You just wait here.”

Alone, Ben treks down to the darkness under the bridge, stands at the bottom to a warning growl. He glimpses eyeshine in the black yards away. “Ellie, it’s Daddy.”

He steps closer. Another growl, deeper, but Ben can see the shape of her now, huge and magnificent, tail held out stiff. He clears his throat. “It’s gettin’ late. Your mama’s got supper waitin’.”

Ellie’s snarl is softer this time. Ben decides to take the chance. Sure, maybe he’s a fool, but she is still his girl.

Step by step, he walks into the darkness, toward the waiting wolf.


The Flattened Penny
A.F. Stewart

I can still smell the copper stench.

And hear the way the train’s wheels screeched as it rolled over the penny on the track, squashing it razor thin. I watched Denny pick up the flat coin, after it cooled down, and wave it around laughing.

I didn’t laugh.

Denny never heard the whistle of the other train, the death train. The one I had seen before, that should have been my ride. One penny to the conductor as payment, but that foul creature didn’t care much about who held the coin. Easy enough to cheat him.

Poor Denny.

That’s the smell of copper I remember. His blood.

But better him than me.


Taking the Ride
Nina D’Arcangela

The rumble loosens my gut; thrums through my body. My eyes quake in their jelly as teeth shiver saliva from plump, rouged lips. Searing heat washes over me as the screech assaults my core. I feel the shatter of my sinus cavities as the revolution of iron pressed upon iron crushes my head. Body thrashing in the wash, I Pollock the scree, feed the weeds; slick the rail for the next eager rider.


Definitely Not a God
Lydia Prime

Beneath the rocks and rails there lies a secret that our tiny town holds. We keep quiet and everything stays peaceful, that’s how it’s always been. Mama says it’s God under those tracks, says he protects us even in his sleep. I don’t think Mama knows what God is.

Late at night I sneak down to the tracks and kick the rocks as I walk past the iron ties. I can hear it, sometimes it sounds like snoring, but other times… If Mama could hear the noises I know she’d change her mind.

Just a ways ahead, the rocks shift and I sprint to see who’s there. The air smells of earth and death, my eyes settle on a gnarled looking creature hunching over in the moonlight. All six of its eyes blink then lock on me. I’ve never seen anything more gruesome, it grins and licks its crooked lips.

I turn to run but my foot snags the rusted rail. As I scramble to my feet, four more creatures step into sight. I was right Mama, definitely not a God.


Each piece of fiction is the copyright of its respective author and may not be reproduced without prior consent. © Copyright

Rising Moon

As it wears off, I’m worn down
walls are spinning all around,
my skin is crawling, or was that bone?
Belief is still that I’m far from home.
Chest compressions,
breath in sessions.
“What comes next?” I try to ask.
Voice so calm, “put on your mask.”
Bile; spewing out my soul.
Shallow breaths take their toll.
Crack here, crack there – something new,
skeletal fragments puncture through.
Bloody tears spill down my cheeks –
soak in sweat; my body wreaks.
My mirror’s near but I’m scared to look,
decaying since the last one I took.
Claws displayed, now covered in fur.
The moon is full; scented blood my lure.
Into the night I seek my prey,
I must feed before break of day.
Stalking, running,
thrashing, chomping.
Unsuspecting meat so tender –
hides from me, though I am clever.
I sneak up upon terrified face,
devour the heart, leave no trace.
Racing adrenaline;
was it me or was it them?
Hunger cured, I take my leave.
Moon’s glow fading – end of eve.
Before long the sun will rise,
my body twists back to size.

∼ Lydia Prime

© Copyright Lydia Prime. All Rights Reserved.

May 2019 Ladies of Horror Picture Prompt Challenge: Fill in for Fate @LydiaPrime

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

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Fill in for Fate
by Lydia Prime

Fragile as rose petals, the tomes must be rewritten, rebound; the lifeblood of those who’ve gone before, wasted. Their scent causes my eyes to water, the text itself brings on a feeling of burning within my soul. Who began these works? I wonder while I glance at the shelves surrounding me. My tears stain the sheet as they drop from my face. Another page I must rewrite, Why does this ache so much?

As the night wears on and the candles fade, I do too; my chest heaves deeply. Who else would willingly take on such a task? My mind wanders to all those who’d ventured this chamber before. “Work quickly,” words slither through my ears as venom does my veins; the only advice received from the other.

I carefully ink the final page and feel my soul slowly fading from my body. I chose this, I know, but to parade as one of the fates seemed much more glamorous than how this wretched task feels.

Shallow breaths, my pulse in my ears; one word left, I don’t wish to do this. A language that has flown so freely through my mind to my hand, one I will never speak, yet I have written so clearly. Shedding tears for myself, I scribble the last of it, breathing has become a chore; the warmth grows deep from within.

Wailing, my fingers twitch and I can feel my body shutting down. My skin feels as through it’s slipping off my bones; my spirit ready to escape. As I lay down the scribe, through shimmering vision I see another tome claiming its form.

Fiction © Copyright Lydia Prime
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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