Faulty Advice Friday | JR


Welcome back to Faulty Advice Friday!

The place to F I N A L L Y get your toughest questions a n s w e r e d.


Do children make good packing material? Just asking because I’m shipping some glassware.


Let’s kick this faulty advice Friday right in the teeth: what’s cold and blue and doesn’t move? (Shh shh. Let them guess!) Alright, ready? The baby in my freezer!

JR, I can’t possibly fathom why you’d want to use children to make your packing materials. (Kathy Lee Gifford would probably approve of your style though)

Seems like a fruitless effort in my opinion; most of ’em would probably just squish a bunch of play dough and do a wee bit of paper machè. Neither of which am I inclined to believe would protect your precious glassware. But, if you’ve got some hangin’ around, might as well take a moment to mention a new eco-friendly form of packaging for the masses.

Infant stuffed crates, toddler lined totes, teenage coach ba—… I mean, I could go on. But what’s the number one foolproof way to ship such delicate and fra-gee-lay items?


It helps to pick an outfit. The reason entrepreneur types are better than everyone else is clearly because of their signature looks. Might I suggest grabbing some inspiration from what Christian Bale rocked while discussing Huey Lewis and the News with dear Paul Allen. Pro tip: this will save on clean-up later!

Depending on what sort of glassware you’re shipping determines how one might want to utilize the children. There’s no such thing as ‘Wasteful Wendy’s here.

Use intestines for wrapping vases, or to mimic the protection of bubble wrap. If you remember those weird little tube toy things that made everyone mildly uncomfy in the 90s, handling intestines (large or small) is a lot like that. Be careful with those slippery bastards!

Fingers, toes, and finely chopped limbs can be used in place of packing peanuts in a pinch!

The proper procedure for this does become a bit lengthy, but you end up with a two for one. Who wouldn’t be into that? You’ll want to dry the bits and bobs, and it will be a lengthy process. Begin checking the “Cherky” after about 3 hours to avoid over-drying. An extra reason to apply this method? If you have a furry friend that likes to eat all things they shouldn’t – feasting on child jerky is totally cool, and occasionally kosher.

Of course, you can always flay them and simply wrap your glasses in freshly peeled skin wraps. If they’re particularly fresh, as in just off the rack [*ba dum tiss… don’t @me*] the sinewy tissues still coated with a tasteful splash of blood can help to get in there and stick the packing material to your glassware for that super extra security.


So, do children make good packing materials? Yeah, I’d say so. From their flesh to their bones, and even some of their teeth – you can definitely count on them to get your items…. well… at least to the post office. I’m not sure how much further they’ll get from there, probably find yourself a new fancy pair of chain-linked steel bracelets though. Free jewelry, am I right?

Happy hunting JR! I hope your glassware is safe on all its travels.

Stay spooky!👻🥰

Advice given in this post should not be followed and is purely for comedic value.
Lydia Prime is not responsible for any person(s) who choose to do so and/or any damages incurred.
© Copyright Lydia Prime. All Rights Reserved.


Faulty Advice Friday | BkDeCay666


Welcome back to Faulty Advice Friday!

The place to F I N A L L Y get your toughest questions a n s w e r e d.


I’m having trouble sleeping through the night without waking up a hundred times, any suggestions?


Greetings from the land of the well rested, BkDeCay666! Must suck to be stuck in the waking world so often… I joke, I joke, I kid, I kid. I’ve never been among the fortunate sleepers out there, but let’s get started. Maybe you’ll even be able to make it through the night.

That waking restlessness you’ve got going on is definitely from ghosts. If you can’t sleep, there’s about a 99.9999999999% chance there’s summin’ dead staring at your face. Now, I’m not one to judge, but if you’ve got some kinda freaky deaky goin’ on with this paranormal paramour, you can always hang out with Ke$ha, Demi Moore, and Snedeker dude. #YouAreNotAlone Not feelin’ that GhostBuster’s mojo? Call in the very best in Ghost Bully Specialists and they’ll probably yell a buncha weird shit and try to fight the ghost for you. -Shrug- if you can’t sleep, might as well have some fun, huh?

If it’s not ghosts (it definitely is, but just in case) you could always try that modern medical marvel, the sleeping pill. All experiences may vary but, I believe this might just be a job for the likes of the Ambien Walrus*.


Promising to help you sleep, you won’t be waking up a million times a night anymore. You’ll have one of two things happen, a super restful sleep that sometimes makes you feel a bit groggy, or an adventure you’ll never remember.

Creatures like the aforementioned walrus are customary in the land of no return. I recall a friend of mine once demanding that her husband explain himself. We both looked at her confused, but she was solidly certain that he’d come home with three green people and wanted to know why these green people were in her home. Additionally, I once caught her playing with an empty trash bag on her bed… she said she was playing with the dog. But I digress, you’ll have your own sort of guide to get you through. Also, oodles of inanimate objects will begin to dance and breathe, don’t panic. Just start taking videos and sending them to all your friends so they can see how beautiful and horrifying the dancing snow is. They’ll love it. Trust me.

Not diggin’ adding a medication to your routine but still want to sleep? No biggie, I understand, some people aren’t for that kind of wild ride. You’ll have to preform a sacred ritual in order to confront the Sandman. Grab traditional sleeping robes: a ripped up band-T and some plaid pajama pants. If you don’t have the traditional garb, you’ll have to make due with whatever is available (may the Sandman have mercy on your soul). Lay in your bed, as still as possible, breathing as shallow as you can. Chant ‘Hooma, Booma, Chrimba, Zoomba!!” over and over until the Sandman arrives. If the sun comes up before he shows, you don’t have one, and will sadly have no choice but to crack yourself on the head each night with an item of your choosing. Sorry, but it’s the only way to guarantee not waking, sucks to suck, yano? BUTTTTTTT, if he does come through, ask him politely to add a few more drizzlings of sand to your batch. He should be cool about it, or maybe chop off your head. Who knows? If you find out, definitely let me know.


Waking a gazillion times can drive you crazy. No, really, I’m not kidding. So if you’re going to do something, why not do it right? Give up on trying to sleep, if you don’t sleep – you can’t wake up over and over right? Right.

God speed BkDeCay666, may the Sandmen and sleep aids forever guide you to your dream world.

Stay spooky!👻🥰

*Experiences may vary, Ambien Walrus is not a guaranteed new friend, but often lurks about.

Advice given in this post should not be followed and is purely for comedic value.
Lydia Prime is not responsible for any person(s) who choose to do so and/or any damages incurred.
© Copyright Lydia Prime. All Rights Reserved.


Faulty Advice Friday | NormalBatesBnB

Welcome back to Faulty Advice Friday!

The place to F I N A L L Y get your toughest questions a n s w e r e d.


What 4 actions would you say are the keys to success?


NormalBatesBnB, hey, hi, thank you for coming. I’m not sure if I should put the lotion in the basket or consider bathing by bubble bath from now on… Either way… Do… Uh.. do you have long pig at your B&B? Kinda dying to know tbh. (Why am I stuck on cannibalism two posts in a row? Someone needs to check on us I guess haha.) Anywho…

I would like to start by mentioning that associating one’s self with a rather prolific horror icon miiiiiiiiight or might not be the way to do anything successful. Truthfully, it could go either way. I used to have a friend who made chain store club cards to put in for those who’d forget theirs in the names of different serial killers. She got caught by a customer once and needless to say, it was incredibly hilarious to watch her stumble through explaining who this ‘Albert Fish’ was and why he bought their {[REDACTED_ITEM_BRAND]}. So, do with that what you will.


First and foremost, in order to become one of the successful beautiful people (achieving this level unlocks warranties for plastic cheeks: tops and bottoms) you’re going to have to SEND ANONYMOUS PACKAGES. Secretly enlist a friend to unsuspectingly obtain the address of your target. Search the intrawebz for anonymous packages to suit your specific needs.
Speaking from experience, sometimes sending something out of the ordinary is better than something gross. (I.E. Anonymously mailing your colleague a package instructing them to eat a bag of dicks, with dick glitter/confetti, magnets, and gummies inside. Signing a client’s name as the sender…*chef’s kiss*.. or… you know. mailing your boss a mini piñata with a note exclaiming “Merry Christmas!” in an alternate language, just in time for a completely different holiday….) Sorry, tangent. Do it.

The only logical next step from converting to snail-mailer-daemonism is to hop on board with the Illuminati. Don’t reach for the tinfoil yet, hear me out: IF you join the group that everyone knows exists, but denies existence of, who’s to say you AREN’T already in the Illuminati? Head hurt? Confused? Good, everyone else will be too. Proudly promote your status as a tippy-top officer with oodles and boodles of juicy insider knowledge. Build up intense mystery/buzz/rumors around your life, make sure you get this stuff all across the globe. Eventually, some new friends will show up and, well, they’ll have eternity to know your flesh. *shivers*

Now that you’ve rearranged the pecking order in the office and secured your place in the NWO, you’ll need to get some money to match your obviously lavish and crazy life style. Who works anymore? Pffft. Get into the Praying Mantis Breeding* game. Lucrative, unique, something to tell the family about! Added bonus, turning up your nose at those eeee-diotz who recoil in fearful disgust from seeing your diorama of Mantis Brothels.


Finally, when’s the last time you ate something? It’s important to stay fully hydrated and fueled or you won’t have any energy to go out and concur the world. Or… be spiteful and mean, dealer’s choice I suppose.

No, no, that’s it. Go getchurself a snack and some water. (: You deserve it you Mantis Breeding Free Mason who terrorizes people with strange and unexpected mail. Your success will be unmatched.

Parting with this final thought: keys to success are not for the faint of heart; each step must be completed in this order for best results.

I wish you luck on your road to the top NormalBatesBnB, but, you know, please don’t creep on anyone in the shower…

Stay spooky!👻🥰

Advice given in this post should not be followed and is purely for comedic value.
Lydia Prime is not responsible for any person(s) who choose to do so and/or any damages incurred.
© Copyright Lydia Prime. All Rights Reserved.


Faulty Advice Friday | AwkzCable

Welcome back to Faulty Advice Friday!

The place to F I N A L L Y get your toughest questions a n s w e r e d.


i can’t cook. i have no interest in learning but i’m bored of pizza rolls. what should i do?


Merry Fri-muss AwkzCable, what a mess you’ve been. I’m sure ol’ Saint Lydia Claus has something for you 🙄😞

I can’t cook either, and while that may seem to some like an unlikely inability, it’s true! I’ve been known to turn poptarts into magma in toaster ovens. What I would have to advise is to couple up with a super cool cook type, and let them take care of the dirty work. ……. I mean….. 😉😆

If you’re not interested in abandoning your freedom/individuality/independence/whatever else the kids say these days… I’d say you have only a modicum of proper, plausible choices.


Choice 1: Peanut Butter and Jelly. There’s nothing more appealing than some of that salty sticky nuttiness between two slices of toasty bread, slathered in a whole mess o’ jelly. This should be a staple in the pizza roll maniac’s cookbook. — Just sayin’. If you have a peanut allergy, (i feel bad for you son. I got a lotta allergies, but a nut ain’t one) then I suppose that sucks and you will unfortunately have to starve about it. Come at me bro.

Choice 2: Hunger Strike. Who doesn’t love a good hunger strike? With the world we’re in, you could essentially live off spite and never ever have to eat again. I mean… shit, they say twiggy is the new piggy right? #GetEm You can fight the man, throw an adult sized temper tantrum because no one’s cooking food for you, AND potentially end up getting your way while pushing some potentially unbelievable agenda? Sign me up bro. (No, actually, don’t, this sounds kinda awful, I for one love pasta… and the FSP, so.. more nothing for you I suppose?)

Choice 3: The ol’ switcharoo. Pop over to a friend’s house, or even a relative. See if they’ve got anything edible, and feel free to switch out some of their food for your inedible frozen friends. This may require some level of tactful skill, be willing to start small. Make sure you take things no one will miss at first (brussel sprouts, some ay-pples and ba-nonos) and graduate to the bigger stuff once you’ve sufficiently convinced this friend/family member that it’s simply their failing mental faculties misplacing all these items.

Choice 4: Cannibalism. I mean, if I have to explain this one, I don’t think you’re ready for it. As my long lost great uncle once said, “If you’re going to eat meat, might as well be long pig.’

Additional points to choosing cannibalism? Might become a Wendigo (won’t know until you try right?). You can corner the market on food trucks for those who also share such predilections. You’re going to end up on Investigation Discovery at some point, and if that’s not #GOALS, I don’t know what is.

Hopefully you’re able to enjoy some of these very useful options. I know sometimes it can be difficult to think outside the box about our diets, but you know, it’s something we’ve got to pull together and figure out.

Stay mopey AwkzCable, keep yourself nourished. If you can’t think clearly, how in the hell you guna get away with it? Lemme get some shovels up in here.

Stay spooky!👻🥰

Advice given in this post should not be followed and is purely for comedic value.
Lydia Prime is not responsible for any person(s) who choose to do so and/or any damages incurred.
© Copyright Lydia Prime. All Rights Reserved.


Faulty Advice Friday | Pack0fl0new0lves

Welcome back to Faulty Advice Friday!

The place to F I N A L L Y get your toughest questions a n s w e r e d.


You’ve got to help me. I keep making plans with people but can’t seem to stick to em. I’m just not in the mood anymore. What should I do? How can I fix it?


Pack0fl0new0lves, welcome to the club… 🙄😞

Normally I find myself stuck on someone’s name for a moment, but when I saw this question, I could feel the need to help deep down in ma plums. *insert weird deep voice here*

More often than not, when one experiences the phenomena you’ve expressed here today, it can be chalked up to what we experts call, ‘Uh-oh spaghetti O’s!’


While you find yourself longing for the companionship of loved ones, you’re simply easily seduced by the comfort of some rather voluptuous bed sheets. So what is one to do upon receiving the UOSO (phonetically: oOOo-so) diagnosis? Well I guess there’s out one way out: t h r o u g h.

Instead of continuing to be a disappointment to your parents, you’ll need to act quickly or the damage could be irreversible…

Step One: Stop trying to contact the outside world. Honestly, whats out there that you can’t get from 70 different streaming services, gaming consoles, news outlets and even porn? Plus man, they made pretty much everything deliverable. Commitment is key.

Step Two: Stop speaking. If you aren’t seeing anyone, you don’t generally need to speak aloud, do you? Step Two.oh: develop a series of click like echo location noises to help navigating around the homestead. While you’re not necessarily blind, those super rad florescent lights and lack of sunlight are top tier catalysts for taking that major leap.

Step Three: Wardrobe change! You’re going to need those hater blockers. Yeah, you heard me right. Even though you’re well on your way to becoming the ideal recluse, you should always have a pair of hater blockers on hand. Never know when you might have to improvise not seeing someone.

Step Four: Leave a Cryptic Message. You don’t want to lose those amazingly important humans that somehow don’t seem to measure up enough for you to see, SO you should get a little creative. Send messages like, ‘Ive joined a cult,’ or ‘you’ll never see lammoo again.’ This allows you a tiny out reach while maintaining your distance. #boundaries

Wellp, that’s that! This should be without a doubt an easy way to finally fix your peat problem. 👀❤️

Stay safe Pack0fl0new0lves, keep yourself locked up tight. Remember, if you can’t hide yourself, how in the hell you guna hide some body else? Lemme get some shovels up in here.

Stay spooky!👻🥰

Advice given in this post should not be followed and is purely for comedic value.
Lydia Prime is not responsible for any person(s) who choose to do so and/or any damages incurred.
© Copyright Lydia Prime. All Rights Reserved.


Faulty Advice Friday | TuhTewzz

Welcome to Faulty Advice Friday!

The place to F I N A L L Y get your toughest questions answered.


I’ve always wanted to get a tattoo, but I’m not thrilled by pain. Or blood. How do I make sure I follow thru?


TuhTewzz, your name immediately causes me to wonder what knowledge you possess of The Equestranauts… but we’ll let it slide…. For now…. 👀🤔

You’re not good with pain or blood? I assume that means only your blood… If that’s the case, it would make sense to see if you and your artist could complete some sort of blood sacrifice (pro tip: in a pinch, just grab some random off the street. Usually an offer of puppies and candy helps!) before starting. Sanitation issues might be cause for pause here bud, but at least if it was just your blood that you had trouble with, well, it would be hard to know what’s what after all that, eh? Modern Solutions. This feels sort of like I just told you to Pimp Your FearTMSide thought: wouldn’t that be a pretty sick idea to revamp another throw back, can someone call Xzibit? MTV? *Insert me laughing at my screen thinking about him saying ‘Yo dawg, we heard you hate blood, so we put blood in your blood!’* (Please don’t sue me.)


Pain isn’tas complicated to get through though. There’s a surprising variety of concoctions available to keep those intensity levels at bay, although they typically come along with years of substance abuse trouble and sometimes a new twitchy movement you don’t know you’re doing… I guess, you also want to make sure you’re prepared for that. Of course, you can always decide to take a look at a body chart for the least painful places and just have some advil on hand eh? It’s using teeny tiny baby shark teeth to color in your body, not a firing squad. Suck it up buttercup.

If you still find yourself desperate for a tattoo but couldn’t possibly see success in conquering the above mentioned problemos, there’s always your local street fair and/or jail.

Hang on, hang on. Just hear me out wouldja? Start out by planning what crime you’ll commit. You’re just trying to get picked up, locked up, and inked up—that means, no 25 to life kinda bids. How’s about you just, I don’t know, take a few hostages at a bank or something low key like that? Seems like a solid way to land yourself in the slammer. (See previous FAF on how to do that amazingly, here)

Once you’ve done whatever deed you choose, you should have landed a snazzy pair of metal bracelets. If not, repeat until you’ve made it so.

Commissary is a wonderful thing in the joint. Hoard some chili, shebangs, and a whole buncha tuna so you can get ready to trade. I mean shiiiiiiit, maybe you’ll actually get lucky and have some kinda psycho Picasso to share a cell with.

I absolutely understand that jail’s not always for everyone, so don’t worry. Not everyone can be the mitochondria. Most people can almost always commit when they’ve decided the street fair is where their people are. There will be a line of children waiting to befuddle a very exhausted and over worked adult. Once youve waited your turn and you’re sitting in the chair, you’re going to need to brace yourself… You see, those stick on/water/temporary ones don’t hurt but sometimes the waters like suuuuper cold. Brrrr! 🥶

No matter what you decide, make sure you pick something you like. Doesn’t matter what Bubba in Unit N6 thinks!😘

Stay safe TuhTewzz, and maybe this weekend should be one for discoveries! I vote for blood sacrifice Sundays! Wait… Is it too late for me to keep that? 😅🤣

All the luck in the world, and please send pics if you do get one ❤️😀

Stay spooky!😍

Advice given in this post should not be followed and is purely for comedic value.
Lydia Prime is not responsible for any person(s) who choose to do so and/or any damages incurred.
© Copyright Lydia Prime. All Rights Reserved.

The One That Got Away Anthology V3 | Janine Pipe @Disneynine @KandishaPress

A magical time of year is upon us: #WomeninHorrorMonth!

I wanted to use each day to celebrate the amazing lady authors in the latest Kandisha Press Women of Horror Anthology. The One That Got Away is the third in the series, and it’s filled to the brim with horrific nightmares that’ll keep you guessing. Let’s take a look eh?

Should Have Gone to Vegas by Janine Pipe is the first up!

“That’s it?” Adam looked over at Jack, thinking if it wasn’t for the fact his buddy was carrying most of the beers, he would have shot him with the rifle instead of some coyote.
Janine Pipe

Janine Pipe sets the scene with a bit of a boys’ trip. Two best friends set out for their regularly planned outing of relaxation, but this time, it’s in the great out doors. Unfortunately, one of the guys simply isn’t interested in camping without the glam. Through the complaining they still seem to manage to have a nice time, that is, until tragedy strikes.

Something horrifying (and I’m not even sure that word does it justice!) is out there with them.

Check out Janine’s story in The One That Got Away: Women in Horror Anthology Volume 3 and find out what’s in store for the bro’s, and if there’s any chance for a reprieve!


RELEASE: The One That Got Away: Women of Horror Anthology Volume 3

I’m super pleased to announce that my story, “The Letter,” is included in this tremendously horrific anthology!



What doesn’t kill me, might make me kill you!

30 women authors from around the world were challenged to write about The One That Got Away. Here you’ll find tales of unrequited love, blind dates gone wrong, stalkers and their prey, cursed guitars, alien symbiotes, sinister letters, and bitter acts of revenge. Dive into murky depths and discover what hides inside the minds of women scorned..

Book 3 in the Kandisha Press Women of Horror Anthology Series

#FRIGHTGIRLWINTER recommended reading!

With Foreword by Gwendolyn Kiste (Bram Stoker Award Winning Author of The Rust Maidens)

Edited by Jill Girardi

Featuring stories from: Carmen Baca, Ushasi Sen Basu, Demi-Louise Blackburn, Ashley Burns, R.A. Busby, Amira Krista Calvo, Dawn DeBraal, Shawnna Deresch, Ellie Douglas, Amy Grech, KC Grifant, Meg Hafdahl, Rowan Hill, Stevie Kopas, Michelle Renee Lane, Catherine McCarthy, Villimey Mist, Mocha Pennington, Faith Pierce, Janine Pipe, Lydia Prime, Paula R.C. Readman, Marsheila Rockwell, Lucy Rose, Rebecca Rowland, Hadassah Shiradski, Yolanda Sfetsos, Barrington Smith-Seetachitt, J Snow and Sonora Taylor.

Click the image above to be directed to Amazon or check out the link below to get yours from your favorite book retailer:

Books2Read: The One That Got Away

RELEASE: Itty Bitty Horror Bites by Lydia Prime | @Lydiaprime #Horror #Collections #DarkFiction

I’m super pleased to announce the release of Itty Bitty Horror Bites, a collection of my short stories and poems!


Itty Bitty Horror Bites

By Lydia Prime

Unknown worlds, monstrous beings from nightmarish visions, and even a look at the darker side of life. Brace yourself as you dive into this chilling forty-six piece collection of bite sized horror—you might just end up leaving with more than you bargained for…

Are you sure you want to turn off that light?

Click the image above to be directed to Amazon or check out the links below:

Available on Amazon in Kindle and Paper Back

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

Damned Words 44

Five-fingered Footprints
Lee Andrew Forman

Blood draws my story on the agate floor. Fresh ink covers dried layers with the repetition of time. My five-fingered footprints scatter across my canvas, for within the cold box there is no room to stand. My freedom, nothing more than an arm’s length in any direction. Slight rumbles shiver the enclosure; new paint will be added soon. I’ve never seen the thing that keeps me here. Only felt its scathing, intimate touch on my naked flesh. The floor tells me it will soon be time. My body trembles as I await the inevitable approach of the stippler.

Nina D’Arcangela

As he adjusted the range, the minute clicks were barely distinguishable from the constant drone. I could see the look of shock and something akin to terror on his face as he stepped back and stared at me as if to question his own understanding. He picked up another tool; resumed his examination. A rush of air whirled through the cavity and sent them into a maddened frenzy. The pounding became relentless, nearly unbearable as the thrum increased to a deafening level. Overwhelmed by what he’d witnessed, he nearly fell to the floor missing the stool that stood just inches away.

He began to speak, paused to clear his throat and opened his mouth again; no words issued from his dry, swollen tongue. I understood. They’d been there for as long as I could remember. I rose from my seat, asked if what he saw were faces. He blanched even further and replied that no, they were not faces, they were hands–hands that pushed against the tympanic membrane. I nodded, gathered my belongings to leave. A gentle pressure on my arm caused a momentary pause. His face reflected the pain he knew would accompany the tear when the tissue gave way. He looked into my eyes as if he couldn’t comprehend my calm acceptance. My reply to his unasked question was a bare mumble.

“I’ve lived with voices in my head my entire life, Doc. I just didn’t realize that one day, they would demand to be let out.”

A Handy Tale
Marge Simon

“Dammit, Martha! We just got our new cement wall up and smoothed. Now look at the mess some neighbors’ kids have made of it! Hand-prints all over everywhere –up and down and sideways. Disreputable, malicious destruction!”

“Something is going to have to be done,” Martha said. “Every time we move, sooner or later, some malicious little devils show up to make our lives miserable. I’m tired of moving, Herbert. We checked out the area really well before buying this house. There’s just one little brat in the neighborhood this time.”

“Yes, I know. Name’s Billy Harlow” said Herbert. He pinned her with a frown. “You know the cure, Martha.

“I do,” said Martha reluctantly.  Off she went to her kitchen to dig out Mamancita’s commodious book of Haitian spells & recipes. The punishment must fit the deed.

Lunchtime the next day, Billy Harlow sat at their kitchen table. Before him was a plate of Mamancita’s special Bon Bon Amidon cookies, still warm from the oven, and a foaming glass of fresh milk. He made annoying sounds when he drank, and chewed with his mouth open.

“Disgusting wastrel!”

“Shhh, he’ll hear you, Herbert. it’s almost over,” Martha reminded him.

The next morning, Billy Harlow’s screams alarmed the neighborhood. His mother rushed to his bedroom to find him crouched on the floor sobbing, arms around his chest in an odd way. “Mama! In my bed!!” She reached over to shake out a loose sheet. There was no blood, but two fat little hands with dirty fingernails fell out of the covers.

Storm Surge
Charles Gramlich

In pitch black, I awoke—on the couch with a hurricane pummeling my house. The TV was off. It had been on when I fell asleep, but the electricity must have failed. Feeling around for my phone, I activated the flashlight app. The room brightened around me but everywhere else the shadows congealed and clung.

I loved my little shack in the woods but at night it could be scary. Needing more light, I went into the kitchen for candles. The rain had stopped. I couldn’t hear it on the roof. But the wind hadn’t faded. It pressed and rubbed at the house like an unwanted caress.

After firing up my biggest candle, I turned off my cell to preserve the battery and walked over to the glass doors opening onto my deck. No wind moved the trees in the backyard. The hurricane had passed. Then what made the sounds I heard?

Sliding the back door open, I stepped outside. I lived near the Gulf of Mexico, with my house elevated against storm surge. That’s the water pushed inland by hurricane winds. Wooden steps led up to the deck from the ground below. On that ground, in the mud, stood hundreds of dead children. All were rotted, with seaweed in their hair as if carried onto my lawn by the surge. Their hands scratched and scritched at the wooden stilts supporting my home.

Screaming, I leapt back inside, slamming and locking the door. But the children heard. They came single file up onto my deck to press their faces and little hands against the glass. They pressed harder, harder, harder. The glass spiderwebbed with cracks.

I blew out the candle. Better not to see. Better to let them find me in the dark.

Burned Out
Lydia Prime

Flesh sizzles upon touching the hematic shale. Dainty hands ignite dancing flames across the arms of the conditionally pre-deceased. Prophesied terms embossed in stone detail the arrival of a beast who won’t feel heat. General consensus is unanimous: they await its birth. No one ever thinks it might have always lived among them. Its existence couldn’t be copacetic—couldn’t manage to stay undetected… Could it?

Shared ignorance protects the man who discovered the slab and lead the charge to find the predicted creature. Blanket delusions curtail questions as he watches over every trial, every tearful family parting. He glows while their skin chars to nothing but ashy outlines. His head bobbing minutely to the screams as they warble to unintelligible echoes. He bites his cheeks—an act required to conceal delight—then calls to the town’s unwittingly damned participants to bring about the next.

RJ Meldrum

He’d hated her for years, had carefully planned the perfect murder so many times, but never had the courage to go through with it. In the end, he simply lost his temper. He slashed out at her with a kitchen knife; the first cuts landed on her hands and arms. She escaped and staggered down the hallway, leaving bloody handprints on the pristine white walls. She collapsed by the door where he finished her off.

He spent a whole day carefully cleaning and repainting the wall, removing the last traces of her. Once the walls were restored to their original white, he was content. She was gone and no-one would ever suspect she was dead.

But of course, he was wrong. Her family and friends suspected foul play; they knew the history between the two. The police were called. An officer interviewed him in the front hallway. He was smug, confident; he brushed off the questions.

Just over the detective shoulder, a bloody handprint appeared on the white wall. Then a second and a third. He suddenly stuttered, his cockiness gone. A fourth and fifth handprint appeared; they followed the stumbling route his wife had taken.

The cop noticed he wasn’t making eye contact and instead stared past him. The officer turned. A row of bloody handprints ended at the front door mat, where a pool of blood had formed.

The Wall
A.F. Stewart

The imprints remain on the wall; years of rain and sun could not remove them. The red chalk outlines burned into stone, reflecting the colours of bone and blood. The echo of a human civilization gone mad.

I watch them, the new citizens, as they pass the wall. Some ignore it; others touch it for luck. No one understands. No one knows the truth. They will soon. They will know the fate of those razed into the wall.

We are back. Ready to purge the filth from our city, to take back what they stole. We come to cleanse, to sweep clean with our machines. We will rain fire from the skies and burn away the contamination.

We will add more outlines to the wall.

Until every brick is burned with the death of those who oppose us.

Mark Steinwachs

Colored sunlight from stained glass windows bathes the room around me. I stand in the grand foyer, designed to hold the multitude of people that make their weekly pilgrimage to this house of worship. Its on display, lit perfectly from the lights above. Almost as if it was hiding from and trying to stand above the natural world all at once. Even if it wasn’t here, this place would still make my skin crawl. But it sits on its custom frame, stretched taught, a giant piece at six feet by four feet. I can feel the hands that made it pressing against the thin canvas, as if it were skin. A modern masterpiece of horror held up in honor.

Choiceless. Pastor Jonathan Neils.

I scoff. They have the ability to choose. They were given that. And yet they constantly try to take it away from one another.

“Beautiful isn’t it,” a man says as he steps alongside me. “While I’m honored you’re enjoying my work, this building is closed to visitors right now.”

Closed to visitors? I cringe. “I will always champion those who bring honor to my name. This,” I motion to the painting, “do you truly believe you trying to force your choices on others is what I want?”

“You want? I don’t know what you want, or who you are,” he replies. “It’s what God wants, protect his unborn flock.”

“I want people to praise my name not weaponize it. You’ve made your choices and they were wrong. Nahum 1:2, The Lord is vengeful against his foes; he rages against his enemies.”

I snap my fingers and the pastor’s eyes go wide as in his death he sees me for who I am and realizes where he is going.

Scarlett R. Algee

I can’t help but think you’re fascinated by that wall, the way you keep staring. No, no need to struggle; you won’t be spitting that gag out. Scream? There’s no one out here to hear you if you did.

I do admit it’s a little bit strange, all those hand-shaped negative spaces outlined in red and black and brown, but I think it looks good against the plaster. I tell the kinfolks it’s a mural, ‘cause I was always a little creative. Amazing what you can do with just some paint and a sponge stick.

Hands are unique, you know. Hands are intimate. Recognizable. So this is what I do with ‘em before they have to go. A little press against the wall, a little dab of color around, and then it’s bonemeal for the roses and flesh for the tomatoes. My roses are the envy of the county garden club, and my tomatoes have won blue ribbons at the fair for five straight years.

It’s the only part I take, too. The part that’s special, that identifies you. The rest I leave here and there; the local wildlife has to eat, after all. But think of it this way—at least I’ll remember you.

Twenty-nine pairs on this wall. I like how they’re starting to overlap. How the colors blend into each other. But my mural needs to grow, and thirty’s a good round number.

Now. Let me see those hands.

Held to Account
Ian Sputnik – Guest Author

The moaning and giggling from the next room made him laugh. It amused Carl that his landlady seemed to entertain ‘guests’ on a regular basis; especially as she appeared to be such a prim and proper lady of a certain age.

He waited for her to leave for her weekly game of bridge before breaking into her apartment. The lock on the old safe clicked and its hinges creaked as the door opened. He routed around inside and removed anything of value. He stuffed jewellery and cash into his pockets. Suddenly, he was pulled backwards with incredible force. He spun around, fists clenched, but no one was there. His legs were then grabbed in a vice-like grip and his arms stretched out so that he resembled a church painting of the crucifixion. Out of the darkness, ghostly hands appeared. They tore at his clothes pulling them from his body as they clawed at his skin, ripped through it and tore the flesh from his bones. Cold fingers forced themselves into his mouth and down the back of his throat muffling his screams. When the ghostly apparitions had finished their work, all that was left of Carl was a pile of gore.

The landlady returned. She gasped at the scene which lay before her; then the phantoms returned. They swarmed around her like bats in a cave before they gently caressed her face and worked down the rest of her body as they stripped her bare. She giggled and groaned in delight as they gently massaged blood into her skin. As they did so the slight traces of wrinkles on her face began to fade away. “My, you have been busy tonight,” she cooed as they lifted her over to the bed and continued their work.

*Originally posted on Penofthedamned.com

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