The Ladies of Horror Picture Prompt Challenge August 2020 {[All Authors]}

This amazing Picture Prompt challenge has been hosted for the last 3 years by our lovely, Nina D’Arcangela. She selects four pictures and distributes them out to all the women authors who sign up to play along. Check out everyone’s work here:

Aug2020_Image01

August 20th – Snapshots by A.F. Stewart

August 22nd – Tourist Trappers by Marge Simon

August 24th – Locus Obscurus by Scarlett R. Algee

August 26th – Paper Cuts by Angelo Yuriko Smith

August 28th – Beyond the Lens by Linda Lee Rice

August 30th – Pictures or it Didn’t Happen by Bailey Hunter

September 1st – His Terrible Anatomy by Tiffany Michelle Brown

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August 20th – Denial by Ela Lourenco

August 22nd – Revelation by Nina D’Arcangela

August 24th – Revenge of the Vampire Mollusc by Alex Grey

August 26th – Widow’s Verse by Tawny Kipphorn

August 28th – Merfolk by Holli Walker

August 30th – Recommendation by Kendra Hale

September 1st – green-eyed crows by Sheikha A.

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August 21st – Scratch by Naching T. Kassa

August 23rd – American Girl by Elaine Pascale

August 25th – A Mile in My Shoes by Suzanne Madron

August 27th – Memory by Kathleen McCluskey

August 29th – Laces Out by Sonora Taylor

August 31st – Road Kill by Kim Richards

September 3rd – Fading Days by Asena Lourenco

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August 21st – Rebirth by Michelle Joy Gallagher

August 23rd – We all Know What We’ve Done in the End by Melissa R. Mendelson

August 25th – Final Sunset by Rie Sheridan Rose

August 27th – Sunrise by Christina Sng

August 29th – Rendezvous by D.M. Slate

August 31st – The Truth of Sunset Island by Terrie Leigh Relf

September 2nd – Forever by Chelle Storey-Daniel

Pop, Pop, Pop!

Pop, pop, pop!
I love to get inside your head
And spin my silver spider webs
Until your brain cells cease to fire
And your mind goes –
Pop, pop, pop!

All those bright red painful hives
Clawing through your skin with knives
Leading to your itchy eyes
As blood trickles from the skies
So you can: pop, pop, pop!

Tumble down and fall away
You won’t see another day
Wasted time almost up
Garish bitter cover-up
It’s now or never –
Pop, pop, pop!

All the bones crack like aged rolling stones
Innards sizzle from dying fires of your own
The ones you tried to snuff out long ago
Those embers that you barely know
Slowly going: pop, pop, pop!

Say goodbye
Don’t even try
Raspberry gashes overflow
With crawler insects that glow
Scratching you from deep within
Because you are wrought with sin –
Pop, pop, pop!

Monstrous face in deep decay
As the wormies wriggle away
And the gases expanding your eyes
Release you from your mortal ties
That is when they: pop, pop, pop!

∼ Lydia Prime

*Originally posted on Pen of the Damned.
© Copyright Lydia Prime. All Rights Reserved.

The Ladies of Horror Picture Prompt Challenge July 2020 {[All Authors]}

This amazing Picture Prompt challenge has been hosted for the last 3 years by our lovely, Nina D’Arcangela. She selects four pictures and distributes them out to all the women authors who sign up to play along. Check out everyone’s work here:

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July 20th – Ellie by Kendra Hale

July 22nd – John by Kathleen McCluskey

July 24th – Head’s Swimming by Sonora Taylor

July 26th – Odokuro by Tawny Kipphorn

July 28th – Last Meal by Angela Yuriko Smith

July 30th – Death’s Head Fall by Naching T. Kassa

August 1st – Phasing by Sheikha A.

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July 20th – Journey Out of Time by Rie Sheridan Rose

July 22nd – NPC by Michelle Joy Gallagher

July 24th – Incantation by Christina Sng

July 26th – Deeper Shade of Dark by Terrie Leigh Relf

July 28th – The Sea Nymphs of Furthest Reach by K.R. Morrison

July 30th – Miscreation by Tiffany Michelle Brown

August 1st – The Temple by Holli Walker

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July 21st – The Bet by Elaine Pascale

July 23rd – The Road Taken by Marge Simon

July 25th – Perpetual Peace by Ela Lourenco

July 27th – Beyond the Fog by Linda Lee Rice

July 29th – Sparks Like Stars by Scarlett R. Algee

July 31st – Absent of Me by Melissa R. Mendelson

August 2nd – The Buried by Asena Lourenco

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July 21st – Where the Ghosts Lie by A.F. Stewart

July 23rd – The Outside by Bailey Hunter

July 25th – The Fear by Alex Grey

July 27th – Grave Discussion by Kim Richards

July 29th – Niran by Lydia Prime

Damned Words 43

 

skeleton_grin_resized

Fate
Nina D’Arcangela

Jabba-jaw, raking claw, with haste to the frenzy you did make.
The fray engaged, you are quick to slay any beast brought to slaughter.
Fierce clashing, teeth snapping, bones split beneath hammering rage.
Yet fleet of feet, it has you beat, as it fells your carcass to ground.
The battle fought, fury spent naught; your grin the jester’s call.
With placid lips and eager sips, it sups where you did fall.


The Bones of Her Earth
Charles Gramlich

Her name at ten was Melody. She lived amid the avocado green woods on Millstone Mountain in Arkansas, near a town called Liberty. Melody had hair like a thicket of weeds and eyes no one ever looked into. She had thoughts no one offered a copper penny for, and all her words she kept in her mouth so they couldn’t be slapped away by Mama.

Her name at twelve was Holly, after the necklace and wristlets of red berries she always wore. Most days, she spent in the woods, eating hickory nuts and wild cherries in season, eating other things no one ever thought to name. She caught tadpoles and carried them in her pockets until they dried hard and dark as rabbit turds. Then she buried them and made wishes over their graves. The wishes never came true.

At fourteen, her name was Harmony. She’d learned to sing the pain of her bruises through the heat of the summer like the cicadas. She would lie in the creek and place flat stones on her belly. The smooth weight comforted her scars. Sometimes she slept out under a roof of cedars and stars and dreamt of flying through the trees like dragonflies. She always awoke before she grew wings.

At sixteen, she threw away her names. That was the year she found the jawbones, white on the ground amid frost-killed leaves. She prayed to them as Gods. They answered. Carrying them in her fists, she returned to the house she’d never called home. The bones were no longer white when she was finished with Mama.


Wednesday
Marge Simon

Today is Wednesday, the day the Beast people come for the dying. The grown-up’s call them ghouls. Once, the Beast people lived deep in the earth and ate dead bodies. But now they came up to stay here. They wear long, hooded cloaks and their breaths rattle as they move. It’s like the sound his father made when he was so sick. Papa coughed all night, even in his sleep. On a Wednesday, the Beast people came and took his father away. Now Mama is very sick too.

When the sun passes to afternoon, he is worried about her. If he stays in the house, they’ll come in. They’ll hide in the shadows and wait for Mama to die. That’s what they did when his father got so sick. He’s sure they want her too. Two miles up the road is the cemetery. He decides he will lure them away from Mama.

When he sees them coming, he goes outside and runs as fast as he can all the way to the cemetery. He is out of breath, but first he walks around, searching the gravestones. One of them has to be his Papa’s, but he can’t remember where it is. He’d come with Mama to put flowers on it last week, but there are no graves with flowers and he can’t read. Exhausted, he sinks to the ground, bumping into a peculiar shape. The headstone creaks, the ground gives way and he falls in. When his eyes adjust to the dim light, he sees the cavern is filled with long skulls and old bones. The skulls have the Beast people’s faces.

Above, he hears the rattle of their breathing coming closer. This must be their secret burial place. There’s nowhere to hide. He starts to cry.


In the Forest
A.F. Stewart

Shall I tell you a story, little one?

No, no, wait, don’t back away. Stay here, with me, and listen. I’m sure you will find it fascinating. My tale is about this forest, you see.

They say this woodland is haunted, don’t they? Well, they’re correct. Spirits move past the trees, within the wind, and worse, the ravenous dead walk here, among the bones.

Can’t you hear their murmuring voices growing closer?

They’re hungry. Always hungry.

I think you understand now, why the villagers told you not to come, not to hunt here. This forest kills everything that enters, and nothing ever leaves.

They’re here now. Can you see them, those pitiful skeletons, gnashing their jaws? You can run if you like, but you’ll be dead soon whatever you do. The forest takes us all.

We all remain.

Until we are nothing but bones.

And cursed souls.


New Friend
Lydia Prime

As little Melanie burst through the back door, curtains flew and the screen-door slammed shut. Mommy yelled for her to stop, but she was going so fast in her slippery shoes that she skidded halfway across the room. She could see her mother eyeing the mud on her new lace dress. With hands on hips, and a scowl on her face, Mommy’s pinched lips said everything her mouth didn’t need to.

Melanie started to protest before Mommy could speak, but one quick snap of the towel she always wore over her shoulder was enough to silence the child. As mother’s hand reached out for what Melanie was hiding behind her back, a pot lid rattled on the stove. Mommy turned thinking it was boiling over, but it wasn’t. Melanie took a step backwards.

Focused on her daughter once again, mother reached out and gestured, but Melanie didn’t want to hand over her prize, it had told her not to.

As Mommy took a step forward, she heard something rattle in the ‘fridge. Melanie was slowly sliding backwards into the hallway as she watched her mother open the icebox. The eggs were tipped and fell to the floor with a smash! Mommy bent down to clean the mess, and when she did, the large, glass milk bottle began to jiggle.

Melanie quickly turned and brought her new friend up to her face, panic flashed in her eyes. The chuckle that ran through her sent a shiver down her spine.

Watch, the voice slithered through her mind.

Melanie turned as the heavy jug crashed into Mommy’s skull and split it in two. Now put me in the puddle to feed, the bones intoned. With little choice, Melanie did as she was told. She was, after all, a good girl.


Mask
RJ Meldrum

Cody heard the truck. Pop was back from hunting. He parked in front of the house. Pop had been successful. A buck. Pop climbed down.

“I want this dressed. Skull needs to be bleached, I want it in my trophy room.”

That was where he kept his skulls and stuffed heads.

“I was gonna go swimming.”

His father’s face went dark. He grabbed the scruff of Cody’s shirt.

“I didn’t raise no pansy, I raised a man, one who can see to his own meat.”

“Yes, pa.”

“Now, get working, while I grab a beer.”

Cody went to the back of the truck to see a bloodstained deer on the truck bed. He got to work.

It took hours. His hatred for his father grew. Every day he was forced to ‘man up’. Forced to play sports he hated, crushed by boys twice his size. Forced to shoot helpless animals. Forced to cut them open, cleave their flesh, rip out their bones for display. He hated it all and he hated his father.

He stared down at the skull, boiling in the huge pot on the outside gas burner. After a couple of hours, he removed it from the water and scraped all the meat off. Cody stared down at the eye sockets. What had this creature felt, just before it died?

He knew what he had to do. He had to avenge the deaths of all the slaughtered creatures. He had to avenge himself.

Later, after sunset, he stood on the threshold of his father’s bedroom. Cody had split the skull in half and reattached the two parts with leather straps. He was wearing it, his face obscured. He was no longer Cody, he was nature. He held Pop’s favorite hunting knife.

The moon emerged. It was time.


What Remains
Mercedes M. Yardley

“Hey. Hey. Marissa.”

She ignored it, ignored the way that it chattered and teased and always called her by the wrong name. She walked past it resolutely, a discarded piece of bone nipping at her heels as she strode by.

“Hey. Melanie. Just pick me up. Take me home. Let’s play together. There are so many different ways to play together.” The animal skull grinned at her. Funny how skulls are always forced to grin. She didn’t believe being dead was as much fun as the living were led to believe.

She pulled her laundry from the line and spun around quickly, avoiding the snapping of the skull’s jaws as it lurched at her feet. She hopped over it and headed home.

“Wait. Wait,” it called after her, and she closed her eyes as she heard it whimper and snarl. It buried itself under the leaves and debris, crafting a safe little home for itself until she passed by again in the morning.


Offering
Mark Steinwachs

The streak of sunlight across the bone makes the situation seem worse. The gods illuminating what I could plainly see. Not a scrap left. I crouch down and take the lower jaw, turning it over, hoping there would be some bit of flesh. Clean. My fingers trace the scratches left in the bone. I shudder and set it down. I lift the upper jaw, not wanting to turn it over. Like the piece before, its clean. The teeth marks in this one etched deeper in bone, its hunger not satiated. I stop myself before throwing the bone across the forest. What good would that do? I did the best I could, and my offering wasn’t good enough. I stand up, remove my shirt, and draw my knife. I slowly run the sharpened blade across my chest, blood oozing.

No animal makes a sound. The wind rustling dried leaves stills. I join nature in stillness, my last moments. Silence. A sharp, hissing breath from behind me followed by searing pain. My last vision is its unholy darkness and razor, white teeth.


Apotheosis
Scarlett R. Algee

Find me, the bones had whispered. Find me. Feed me. Let me protect you.

I’d discovered them by accident last night as I’d crunched through the snow blanketing my backyard: the two damaged halves of a jaw, lying in a cocoon of dead leaves atop the powder. What they were, I didn’t know, except that they were too white and too gleaming: scraped clean.

And that they were exactly what I needed.

Now I lay them, still reverently cradled in my gloves, on my laboratory table, apart from all the other pieces I’ve gathered in the past year. Ribs. Vertebrae. Limbs. Teeth. All of them had whispered to me, little indistinct murmurs, little urges of wanting to be again. None had spoken clear words until I’d found the jaws last night.

Find me. Feed me.

Some sort of intelligence resting in the bones. I shake out the rest of my tools: hammer and chisel and screws, lengths of wire and leather thongs. Enough to bind these shards into something whole, because the urge to be is strong.

Listen, the bleached jaws whisper, and I bend my ear to their words and begin to work. First the bones, then skin, then blood.

Listen, I hear again, and I know that whatever I’m creating this night, it will be enough.


Unburied
Lee Andrew Forman

Soaked in crimson, its feasts had been legendary. Limb from body, head from torso, sinew and organs consumed; yet its appetite never fully sated. Memories that live deep within the remains of a banished soul. Unwritten from scripture, cast from history, forgotten by time; these bare, arid bones wait for the caress of the unsuspecting. A taste of copper-tang that will bring about its awakening.


Each piece of fiction is the copyright of its respective author and may not be reproduced without prior consent. © Copyright 2020
Image © Copyright Lee Andrew Forman

RELEASE: Graveyard Smash: Women of Horror Anthology Volume 2

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

GRAVEYARD SMASH
WOMEN OF HORROR ANTHOLOGY
VOLUME TWO
KANDISHA PRESS

Step through the prettiest cemetery gates you’ve ever seen and experience tombstone raves and widow’s dances, Japanese snow-spirits, Aztec bruja and temple goddesses, vengeful ghosts, djinn and cannibals, vampire hunters, plague bearers, graverobbers, and terrors beyond reason. Read through the night as the dead rise from boneyards all around the world!

#FRIGHTGIRLSUMMER recommended reading!

Featuring chilling tales from:
Christy Aldridge
Carmen Baca
Demi-Louise Blackburn
R.A. Busby
V. Castro
Dawn DeBraal
Ellie Douglas
Tracy Fahey
Dona Fox
Cassidy Frost
Michelle Renee Lane
Beverley Lee
J.A.W. McCarthy
Catherine McCarthy
Susan McCauley
Ksenia Murray
Ally Peirse
Janine Pipe
Lydia Prime
Paula R.C. Readman
Yolanda Sfetsos
Sonora Taylor

Edited by Jill Girardi
With foreword by Doc Holocausto (Evilspeak Magazine, Harvest Ritual, Creepy Crawls)

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

GoodReads

Apple Books/iTunes | Kobo | Barnes and Noble |

The Ladies of Horror Picture Prompt Challenge June 2020 {[All Authors]}

This amazing Picture Prompt challenge has been hosted for the last 3 years by our lovely, Nina D’Arcangela. She selects four pictures and distributes them out to all the women authors who sign up to play along. Check out everyone’s work here:

Image_001_June_2020

June 20th – The Far Shore by Marge Simon

June 22nd – One, Two, Three by Mary Ann Peden – Coviello

June 24th – Demon Night by Christina Sng

June 26th – At the End of the Day by Kendra Hale

June 28th – Hiding from Monsters by Angela Yuriko Smith

June 30th – Sundown by Kim Richards

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June 20th – The Reverend by Kathleen McCluskey

June 22nd – Write Drunk, Edit Sober by Sonora Taylor

June 24th – Ink by Alex Grey

June 26th – Irises by Michelle Joy Gallagher

June 28th – Ink in the Glass by Rie Sheridan Rose

June 30th – Saturated by Melissa R. Mendelson

July 1st – Poison Prey by Asena Lourenco

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June 21st – I Hunt the Giant by Elaine Pascale

June 23rd – Gates to Hell by A.F. Stewart

June 25th – Black Autumn by Anna Davis

June 27th – Immortals by Sheikha A.

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June 21st – The Katana by Naching T. Kassa

June 23rd – What We Have Become by Linda Lee Rice

June 25th – Best Left Hidden by K.R. Morrison

June 27th – Maleficium by Josie Queen

June 29th – Rebirth by Ela Lourenco

Return from… Where?

Aside

clock-2535061_1920.jpgAh man, I’m pretty awful at keeping my own posts updated. I’m working on being better at that…

In the meanwhile, since the last update anyone seems to have seen from me was the #Release from #KandishaPress for: Under Her Black Wings: A 2020 Women of Horror Anthology (Volume 1), new and exciting things have been in the works. There is actually a Volume 2 on its way out to all your horror-hungry eyes! Stay tuned, it should make an appearance very, very soon. 👀!

Additionally, while you’re itching for that terror fueled fix – hop over to Pen of the Damned and check out what everyone’s putting out for #FREE!
If the somber, angst filled dark fiction of The Damned is a place you’re not yet ready to tread, perhaps one might consider,  Spreading the Writer’s Word, to check out the latest pieces from the Ladies of Horror Picture Prompt Challenge! A lot of new names in the last few cycles. If you’ve been waiting for something to read, something you can sink your teeth into, seek no further! 😉 Nina D’Arcangela has been graciously hosting this challenge on her blog for several years now. The prompts and pieces just keep on packing punches! (Also #FREE, who doesn’t love free?🤔😲!)

I’m hoping my, shall we say, “unplanned” break from Lapsed Reality will be the last. I intend to keep everyone updated on all these amazing projects and hopefully much more. 

Also, I just created an actual Facebook Author page! If you feel so inclined, come give it a like, eh? Author Lydia Prime

Thank you for sticking with me! ❤

RELEASE: Under Her Black Wings: 2020 Women of Horror Anthology

I’m super excited to announce that my story, “Sadie,” is included in this wicked anthology!

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UNDER HER BLACK WINGS
2020 WOMEN OF HORROR ANTHOLOGY
Kandisha Press

– A glamorous actress whose very flesh is reanimated by a beloved Hollywood icon

– A Boy Scout Troupe encounters a frightening mythological creature in an American forest

– A lonely woman finds a home among a group of lost-and-found souls, all cared for by a tentacled sea-creature called Mother

– A Faceless Woman attacks like a virus and takes on the identities of her victims

– A post-apocalyptic battle for survival rages between human and insect

– A Shadow Woman leads the spirits of the murdered to take revenge in the desert

These are just some of the stories nineteen women came up with when tasked with creating their own Women Monsters. Step inside and experience tales of bloodsucking entities in the jungles of Southeast Asia, Cuban river goddesses, an Aztec bruja, werewolves, mermaids, soul-stealers, obsessive lovers, furious spurned wives, bloody murder in Gothic manors and on Southern plantations… and so much more…

With Foreword by Brandon Scott (Author of Vodou and Sleight, Devil Dog Press)

Featuring:

Christy Aldridge

Carmen Baca

Somer Canon

Andrea Dawn

Dawn DeBraal

Michelle Garza

Sharon Frame Gay

Jill Girardi

Alys Hobbs

Tina Isaacs

Stevie Kopas

Marie Lanza

Melissa Lason

Malena Salazar Macía

Charlotte Munro

Lydia Prime

Paula R.C. Readman

Copper Rose

Yolanda Sfetsos

With cover art by Corinne Halbert

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

Available on Amazon

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

GoodReads

The Ladies of Horror Picture Prompt Challenge October 2019 {[Image 4]}

This amazing Picture Prompt challenge has been hosted for the last 3 years by our lovely, Nina D’Arcangela. She selects four pictures and distributes them out to all the women authors who sign up to play along. Check out everyone’s work for the fourth and final image here:

Image_04

October 21st – Final Tryst by E.A. Black

October 23rd – Gateway to Fulfillment by Marge Simon

October 25th – Forever Grave by A.F. Stewart

October 27th – I Have Promises to Keep by K.R. Morrison

October 29th – Sacrifice by Lisa Lane

October 31st – Cemetery Gates by Suzanne Madron

November 2nd – The Zombie Apocalypse That Wasn’t by Sheri White

The Ladies of Horror Picture Prompt Challenge October 2019 {[Image 3]}

This amazing Picture Prompt challenge has been hosted for the last 3 years by our lovely, Nina D’Arcangela. She selects four pictures and distributes them out to all the women authors who sign up to play along. Check out everyone’s work for the third image here:

Image_03

October 21st – Maggie by Michelle Joy Gallagher

October 23rd – Sobbing Rock by Elaine Pascale

October 25th – Land Mind by Angela Yuriko Smith

October 27th – Black, Red, Black by Scarlett R. Algee

October 29th – Rock Faces by Loren Rhodes

October 31st – Bhuidseach by Karen Soutar

November 2nd – The Wasteland by Christina Sng

November 3rd – The Ones Before by Asena Lourenco