Saturday, October 11, 2008
I vaguely remember this bizarre conversation in the hotel bar in Ohio with a guy with a LOT of blond hair. (remember, I was about six vodka/cranberries in, with the tequila freely flowing). We were in the, as Gregory Hall puts it, the Verizon Wireless crowd of drunken writers and fans, so after the blond guy (whose name I finally managed to find out was Jim) kept asking me, "Are you a Gators fan?" I think he asked me like four times. I kept saying no and sloshing back shots of tequila. I don't remember exactly when or how, but I ended up in a really dark corner of the bar with Matt, Robin, Jim, Jason Keene and two awesome Ohio chicks, Courtney and Beth. Jim found out I was a writer, or I was babbling about my book, or something, and offered to review my book.
I didn't have any print copies (still don't, damn it) so I told him I could send him a copy of Spirit-MOther in PDF.
Long story short, I did, and he reviewed it!
Here's the link:
I love it!
The book is available at
I also had a very embarrassing injury today...I was in a new store, trying on shoes. They happened to be this pair of fire-engine red stilleto heels. Very cute. So not me. Six inch high heels and super-klutz don't mix! Anyway, I got one of my feet into one shoe (wasn't easy...I swear my feet just aren't shaped for fancy schmancy shoes!) and was trying to cram my other foot in. I stumbled, hopped, caught my balance, and decided to give up that venture.
When I stepped down out of the one shoe I'd managed to get on, my other leg cramped up really bad. After a couple of steps, I realized I'd managed to pull a muscle. Trying on shoes. That's about as bad as when I gave myself a black eye waxing my eyebrows!!
Friday, October 10, 2008
I just finished Black House. This is an awesome book, despite the LOOONNNGG boring first part. I love it when King revisits his Dark Tower world. I loved the short story in the Room 1408 compilation, about the Little Sisters. That sort of world really sparks my imagination and makes me want to write more dark fantasy. I delved into this genre with Dark Consort, and I'd really love to write more of it. Who has time...Between the kids, the job, the art, college, and life in general, I barely have times to eat, sleep, and shower! I have way too many projects waiting in something similar to Purgatory.
Anyway, back to Black House. Apparently this book is related to The Talisman. I don't know...haven't rread that one yet! Planning on it though, definitely. I keep picking it up in Walmart and putting it back down.
I like Stephen King's dark fantasy stuff. These days, I like it a lot more than his horror. Sometimes his horror novels are sort of flat and formulaic. Even though the story is mostly well-told, it just doesn't grab you the way you want it to. I hate to say it, but his writing seems slightly dated sometimes. With the Dark Towers books, you can't help but get involved.
I'm choking on the too-strong scent of 'sex on the beach' wax buttons. (Ya know, the little parrafin and oil gizmos you toss into an oil burner or tart burner and heat up? They melt and smell real good!). So I'm going to blow out the tea lights and try to get the girls corralled into their bedroom, at least.
Then on to that blasted homework........
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I watched it a while back and realized pretty quickly that the people who say that about the movie can usually be described by at least two of the words I just used.
You can't watch that movie thinking you're going to be watching some formulaic horror movie. It's really a movie that you can't label. The first part of the movie is sort of slow, but sublte. About the time you're going to turn it off, you realize something is about to happen that you need to see. Abruptly it segues into the second part of the movie (it is actually broken up into three parts) and suddenly you're thrust into this lightening-fast WTF-inducing very dark, very twisted whose-line-is-it-type black comedy situation. You don't know who's crazy. You don't know if anyone actually is or if its just human nature. The social commentary during this point is spot-on and occasionally cuts pretty deep. And it's really funny. Some great one-liners and obvious-answer type stuff.
The third part is like turning a sharp right after going straight at 100 miles an hour. You've suddenly got emotions and a twist that I really didn't 100% grasp, although I understand what on a basic level (if that makes sense LOL). The characters, some of which have been really shallow and 2-D show some depth and development.
Definitely a movie to see--if you're not going to take it too seriously and can think outside the modern Hollywood box!
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
If you read further down in my blog, I have an excerpt posted!
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Anyway, her favorite thing to do was the leap up and grab whatever Asian person came through the doors and lecture them on the evils of Chinese dog food. She did it to about seven people. DIdn't sell them any chinese dog food doggie-victim books, either.
Me and Tiva had a good time, cracking up and gabbing and making fun of random people. We did better than average on sales (we both know what that means LOL).
Which leads me to something else.
Kids are attracted to my book. The cover is like a magnet for the 13-15 set for some reason. I can't explain it. Up until now, my social responsibility alarm would go off when a kid wanted the book, and I'd tell them their mom/dad had to come look at it first. Then I realized, I'm NOT that kid's mama or daddy. If they want to let their kid wander around a packed B&N all alone, that's their problem. I'm not going to be their censor. Now, if the kid is obviously much younger than 13 or whatever, I won't let them buy the book. But if kid is willing to shell out $13.00 for a 200 page book, I'm going to let them. Let them get in trouble for buying it (if they have the sort of parent who cares--but honestly, if they were watchign what was happening in the first place, they wouldn't have let the kid pick up the book).
There is no erotic content in my books (except for one LOL) and the violence is akin to what you would see in a modern horror movie. I guess becuase it's described in words rather than pictures, it's slighlty different case, but over all...I'm not going to play censor. Mamas and Daddies, pay attention to your kids. I don't want dirty emails from you.
So I let teens by my book. Feels like a confession! I used to care about that stuff. Now...it's like...this kid isn't my responsibility. If a parent asks me if the book is decent--which happily, many do--I'll tell them, YOU decide. I'll show them the worse spots in the book and they can skim and figure it out themselves. Everybody has a different level of good and bad and even badder. Most parents buy the book and read it themselves. A few times, they put the book back and said, "Maybe in a couple years."
Which I agree with, and I'll tell them so. I wrote SWamp Baby for adults.
** Wierd fact about me. I never was allowed to watch rated R movies until I was 18 (and out of my parents' house). I never broke that rule either. So I never saw a real horror movie (i.e. not edited for content on TV) until I was 18, and that one was Blair Witch Project. I read horror though, from the time I was about 10 or 13 or so. I don't remember my exact age, but the book was Dean Koontz' The Funhouse and to this day, that is still one of my favorite books, and Koontz is my all time favorite author.
I use Netflix. I don't rent movies from a brick-and-mortar store very often. I used to work right next to a little independent place that supplied my demanding diet of gruesome indie and asian horror flicks, but when I left that job, I left that store behind. Sort of sad. I was really good friends with the people who owned it. They forgave my multitudinous (I don't think that's a word...) late fees and always held new releases for me that they knew I would like.
Anyway, some of my students' parents gave me Blockbuster gift cards. I have an account with them, but 2 years ago I ran it up to like $50 overdue. There's a BB next to where I work, so I went and checked on my account, which was fine (yay) and rented 5 movies. I had seven, but then I realized that I had six horror movies and I thought maybe it might look a little disturbing so I put two back and got a movie for the kids LOL.
Anyway, I checked out and saw where one was due back on Sunday, the rest on Saturday. I was like...whoa. Really quick turnaround. So today I was like stressing about how to justify a trip way out int he boondocks to the BB next to where I work. Gas is expensive, and as a principle I refuse to go anywhere near where I work on weekends LOL.
So I was just about to give up and accept the late fees with grace, and I looked at the reciept again.
One movie IS due tomorrow. The others are due...
I was watching Bee Movie with my kids. In the scene where Barry Benson is buzzing at the court and the bee lawyer is next to him, the bee lawyer clearly mouths "What the fuck?"
heehee. The naughty immature kid in me is cracking up.
(myspace blogs seem to be down. Sucko.)
Friday, June 13, 2008
Ok, this one rules. I loved it. You gotta see this one. It's hilarious. It's right up there next to "Behind the Mask: The Rise of LEslie Vernon" for me. It's funny, dark, twisted, and it's full of great one liners. The people in it did a GREAT job with this script. A lesser cast would have mangled it horribly.
The music is great too. In addition to some great 80's hits, it's got a really good score too.
Make sure you watch the extra footage!
I did it again. I picked a real winner. I'm a sucker for haunted house stories, so I figured I could find SOMETHING to like about this one.
Here's the main gist of the movie.
"Dad, I see someone who looks just like me. Do I have a twin?"
"No, you don't have a twin, daughter."
"Boyfriend-who- is- conveniently- a- cop- and- plays- one- on- TV- too, find out if I have a twin sister."
"Yes, hatchet-faced-anorexic-who-I will-definitely-regret-kissing-later, you have a twin sister who died at birth because she was deformed and your dad let her die, and guess what she's haunting you and I've brought back an expert who can interpret these 'wicca' symbols that have no other name than 'wicca symbols' because this movie wasn't researched thoroughly and we're desperate for any sort of scene were I can lower my head and look at you through lowered eyelashes because I really want to be a soap opera star."
So. That's the movie in a nutshell. One second the broad is nutso and talking like a demented 5 year old, and the next she's an eloquent sexhound who refuses to eat for no apparent reason.
I don't get it. None of it. There are undertones of sexual molestation by her father. Well its pretty much implied that some nasty abuse went on. I don't get the fact that she's 25 and still living at home with mommy and daddy and retarded brother and freaking out about....well, a long lost twin that feels way too much like a tacked on plot device. Super-tacked on, like they made the movie, realized it was crapola, and shot a few scenes with airy whispers and vintage dresses and the female lead in black eyeliner. There's little to no explanations--adequate or otherwise-- for anything. Of course there's this whole "which one is really the evil twin" thing going on, and is the boyfriend real or not. The perfectly coiffed hair says no.
I guess my biggest problem is there is no descent. She's normal one minute, then next off her rocker. Emma just doesn't develop. She's crazy all of a sudden. Must be those 'wicca symbols'.
Over all, it's supposed to be about a girl who is screwed up mentally who believes her fantasies are real. Multiple personality disorders, and a serving of 'asian ghost curse'.
And she's ugly.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
She could tear me a new one, and then do vile things to the old one, and I'd still love this woman and her blog. I am proudly her fawning fan-girl.
Borrowed from Mrs. Giggles.blogspot.com.
I am not responsible for your drinking habits. You are a grown-up, you should watch out for your own alcohol intake. Also, there are some references that may be dated by the time you read this, so for the record, this particular rambling thing is put up on 17 May 2007.
**Ash's note-- this is old, obviously, but it fits every single dang blog drama!**
Cast of Characters
"Anonymous" - 1 sip per appearance.
Someone who posts her alleged full name and then berates everyone else for being a cowardly anonymous cur - 2 sips.
The "Why Can't We Get Along?" Pollyanna - 3 sips.
The angry woman who uses a cuss word at least five times in a six-word sentence - 2 sips.
Clueless man who wanders into the discussion and makes snide comments about fighting bitches - 1 sip.
Clueless man who wanders into the discussion and proceeds to launch into a completely unrelated diatribe about what trash romance novels are - 2 sips.
Clueless man who wanders into the discussion to tell everyone to read "real" literature... like Clive Cussler - 5 sips.
Clueless feminist who shows up and proceeds to launch into a completely unrelated diatribe about how romance set back the movement - 7 sips.
Jayne and Jane from Dear Author join the fray - 11 sips.
Karen Scott joins the fray - 11 sips.
Dionne Galace (Bam) joins the fray - 11 sips.
Emily Veinglory joins the fray - 11 sips.
Jane, Karen, Bam, and Emily Veinglory in the house - 50 sips.
Those ladies and Nora Roberts in the house - drink until everything turns dark.
"You're jealous" - 2 sips.
"Your jealous" - 5 sips.
"You're not qualified to say anything unless you're a published author." - 3 sips.
An argument about how too much sex is spoiling the genre - 2 sips.
An argument about "porn" versus "erotic romance" and how so-and-so are writing "erotic romance" instead of porn - 3 sips.
Said argument comes from an author whose books you thought had too much sex and not enough romance - 4 sips.
The great Virgin Or Not debate - 2 sips.
The neverending Mean Book Reviewers debate - 3 sips.
Someone crying that making fun of book covers is a terrible thing to do because authors have no control over book covers and therefore... er, something, I suppose - 4 sips.
That person writes for or is a cheerleader for Changeling Press - 18 sips.
Someone moaning that we are hurting the author's feelings - 5 sips.
This same person proceeds to call everyone all kinds of bad things for being such a meanie (apparently your feelings don't count as much as the author's) - 7 sips.
Laura Kinsale/Mary Balogh fan whining that there is nothing as good to read as their beloved authors - 10 sips.
These same people inadvertently reveal that they rarely read anything else in the first place - 12 sips.
Readers moaning that the genre is too formulaic - 2 sips.
These same readers ripping apart a book that does not fit into their definition of "romance" - 1 mug.
Readers complaining that there are not enough overweight or homely heroines - 3 sips.
Readers shrieking in horror when they come across an overweight or homely hero in their romance novels - 2 mugs.
Readers acting as if a hero sporting a tattoo/facial hair/smoking habit has personally showed up to pull a Steve Morgan on their behinds - 5 sips.
Pollyanna shows up during a discussion to tell people they should all play nice - 7 sips.
Her post has at least seven ";)", "lol", "*ggg*", ":)", and other variations of such things in each paragraph - 8 sips.
She actually uses those annoying jumping round smilie things - 19 sips per smilie.
Someone shows up to deliver an epic rant as to why she has no opinion on the topic of discussion and therefore she does not want to say anything about it - 9 sips.
Someone flounces, saying that she's just said her last word and she's never coming back - 10 sips.
Two posts below, there's a post with similar wording echoing her opinions posted under "Anonymous" - 13 sips.
Conversation gets completely derailed as people start arguing over the definition of a word - 4 sips.
Someone mentions "Nazi", "Jew", "Holocaust", "Jesus", "Satan", and "God" - 3 sips.
Five different "Anonymous" arguing ferociously with one "Mrs Cherie Blossom who has the guts to sign her name instead of hiding behind an anonymous name" over the merits of anonymous posting, which has nothing to do with the initial topic - 7 sips.
You wonder why, if Cherie Blossom is so high and mighty about using her alleged real name, you have never come across her until the moment she shows up to take down Anonymous People everywhere in Blogsville - 16 sips.
Someone taking a post personally in a bizarre way and starts going all TMI to defend herself, for example taking offense at a harmless statement like "I hear in China they eat dogs" and start delivering long speeches about how she loves dogs and she is Chinese and therefore nobody has any right to make such ridiculous sweeping statements since she is an exception to the rule and therefore it invalidates the statement - 10 sips.
And she won't listen even if you have photographic evidence that they really do eat dogs in China - 12 sips.
When confronted with accusations of wrong-doings, the accused starts going TMI about the house that burned down, the crossdressing alcoholic pedophile husband who needs bail, the kids who are on drugs, the IRS that stole all their money, and more - 19 sips.
Or she can be less dramatic and says that she's had a heart attack or something which is why she couldn't get back to everyone - 25 sips.
Which culminates in a post by a "friend" telling everyone that the poor dear died in some kind of accident - 28 sips.
Discussion of a review of an African-American romance turns into a session of making fun of the cover because clearly nobody has read the book or intends to - 27 sips.
Celebrity Guest Appearances
Monica Jackson blogs about racism - 4 sips.
A chorus of "Oh no, you didn't!" responses from people who proceed to deliver epic rants on why they are not like what Monica Jackson talks about - 16 sips.
Roslyn Holcomb and Karen Scott get into an argument during that discussion - 15 sips.
Nora Roberts shows up in a discussion, makes a wonderfully sane statement, and everyone else falls onto the ground to worship her - 18 sips.
And then the discussion turns into how awesome her books are - 26 sips.
Someone then "jokes" about Nora Roberts using clones or something to write her ten books per year - 15 sips.
Wait. That is a joke, right? You wonder... - 11 sips.
Nora Roberts makes a response about wanting to take over the world - 10 sips.
And you wonder what is wrong with you because you don't really like her books as much as everyone else apparently does - 31 sips.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Friday, June 6, 2008
Not sure if French horror is getting better...or worse. Or, EVEN worse-- not sure if it's even changing at all!
I watched "Inside" tonight. "Inside" is the story of a horse-faced french chick (lordie she's ugly! LOL) who's husband is killed in a car wreck that she's terribly injured in as well. She's immensely pregnant at the time of the wreck. I mean, she looks full term. But they flash foward four months, and she's still even more immensely pregnant. I guess the director never saw a pregnant woman before and imagined that at six months, slender-built pregnant women look like they are over term with quadruplets. At 'nine months' the chick is all...lumpy-pregnant. Her name is Sarah.
Anyway, Sarah is a day away from having her baby. She goes home from a doc's appointment and is terrorized by a tall, skinny Angelina-Jolie-with-over-collagenized-lookalike. The police come, find nobody, go away, and the girl wakes up in bed with a pair of scissors sticking out of her belly. Nice, huh?
From there, the story stops. She gets into the bathroom, and the bad girl and the ugly girl sit on opposites sides of the bathroom door and breathe at each other for a while. The obligatory late night guests show up, die horribly via knitting needles, long shiny shears, falls down stairs, and smothering (only two guests, believe it or not). The police come to check on the ugly girl, and die overly dramatic deaths. The cat dies an overly dramatic death.
The bathroom door dies an overly dramatic death.
Things this movie has:
1. Foot long shiny scissors that honestly serve no purpose in a modern household.
2. convenient items to make weapons with, with placement that makes NO sense whatsoever.
3. dumb cops.
4. obligatory visitors.
5. lots of stabbings in the eyes.
6. everybody character walks away with a slashed/stabbed jugular! Nobody's a loser on "Inside"!
7. Toaster slaps. (the best scene. Ugly girl gets whapped upside the head with a toaster.)
8. lots and lots and lots of geyser-like jugular slashings.
9. Enough blood to float a small boat. Luckily it's all contained to the hallway and the bathroom.
10. computer generated fetuses
11. and best yet, homemade spears
I didn't get how this ugly girl--who is a sturdy looking woman--can't get the upperhand on this tall, skinny, droopy-lipped chick. She had a million chances to beat her. I don't get why she didn't verbally warn her guests and the cops. I don't understand why this ugly chick didn't have a SINGLE likeable quality. She was depressed, mean, ugly, and a coward.
It was sort of cool when she gave herself a tracheotomy with a knitting needle. Then duct-taped the squirting hole closed. That was fairly interesting. Another cool point was when she was groping around the hallways through a hole in the bathroom door and the bad girl stabbed her through the hand and pinned it to the wall. I thought the senseless pet murder was, well, pointless.
I didn't like the movie too much. The characters were unlikeable. Totally unlikeable. I didn't care of the ugly girl died or not. I didn't care of the barely-explained villain got what she wanted.
It was like the director tried too hard, but gave up suddenly.
I mean, the gore is sort of interesting. It's probably the only decent thing in the movie. Horrible to say, but there's not much else to this movie. It just doesn't tie together neatly. It's very loose and leaves way too much open. I love artsy horror flicks and watch my share of them. This one, though...falls short.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
I decided I'm going to do something special! When you buy a copy of Spirit-Mother from www.allromanceebooks.com, I'll send you a free copy of Undead Requiem or Dark Consort, which are my short stories. Undead Requiem is published by Tease Publishing and Dark COnsort is part of DCL's Deadly Sins anthology. Just send me the reciept showing you purchased SPirit-Mother and I'll email you your choice of the stories!
Here's an excerpt of Spirit-Mother: Devotion.
The key wasn’t in his house. Anywhere. He’d searched it from top to bottom. Ripped out drawers and dumped them out in the middle of the floor. Empties cabinets and boxes, checked between the couch cushions. It wasn’t there.
The girl in the hospital had to have it, then. As much as Derry hated to go back, he needed that key. He needed Broken Drum’s dream journals. Maybe Broken Drum would have another key. Hertley’s Swamp was closer than the hospital. Check there first, and if that was a bust, then he would go deal with the crazy chick.
He forced himself to wait until mid-morning to drive the long road to Hertley. After flashing his ID as a resident of Hertley, the military guard let him through the gate. Every mile or so, the state had posted big warning signs on the razor-wire-topped, seven-foot-high fence that lined both sides of the road twenty miles from the swamp. Derry had heard rumors that the fence completely surrounded Hertley.
Nobody knew how many of the so-called ‘swamp cannibals’ lived out in the preserved land. The Swamp Baby had been shut down, like all the other businesses on that stretch of river. Even river travel was banned. Luckily, the river was small and not much more than a third-rate tourist attraction. He’d closed the Swamp Baby right after the government moved their armed forces in. Not being able to sell to his competition had burned him financially, but not so badly he couldn’t recover. The government had offered to buy homes and businesses in Hertley so the residents would move out, but only the younger residents had accepted the pittance and left. The older ones were stubborn old coots who didn’t care if the devil himself walked out of the swamp.
It was their land, their pappies’ land, their pappies’ pappies’ land, and they wasn’t leaving!
Broken Drum slipped under the radar, since he didn’t own property or have a driver’s license.
He still squatted on Suwannee’s land.
Main Street was quiet, nearly deserted. The salon was closed, the windows boarded over and bright signs warning against trespassing. The same went for the convenience store and the mini-mart.
The storefront daycare was still open, although when Derry glanced in the window as he drove past, he only saw a glimpse of a couple of kids with a single adult. The woman looked out as he drove past.
He saw her face for just an instant. At the moment he turned his attention to the road, a dog bolted in front of his car and met a painful death beneath the wheels of his Honda.
Two or three people emerged from the remaining businesses on Main Street. Grizzled old men came out of the hardware store and a middle-aged woman edged out of the diner. The woman came out of the daycare.
Grimacing, Derry got out and looked back at the mangled mutt on the asphalt. Blood spread in a crescent around its body, mingling with the oil and exhaust coating the dusty pavement.
Iridescent swirls glittered in the dark red blood. The dog’s hind leg twitched once, twice before going still.
“Damn it,” he muttered. He looked around at the few people on the sidewalk. They stared at the corpse, mesmerized. The blood spread further and further than Derry thought possible.
Everything was absolutely silent. Even the new dinging crosswalk signals that the town had put in six years ago were quiet. Nobody said a word.
“Um, anybody know who’s dog it was?” Derry asked. Chill bumps rose on his arms. The hair on the back of his neck stood up. Suppressing a shudder, he rubbed his hands up and down his arms briskly. “Anybody? It’s got a collar on.”
When no one answered him for the second time, Derry got a little freaked out.
“Okay, I guess I’ll just take a look.”
The five spectators inched forward, craning their necks so they could see from the curb.
Derry squatted next to the broken, dead dog. Poor thing. He wasn’t an animal lover, but nothing deserved to die this way, nearly bent in half at such an impossible angle. Sightless damaged eyes stared up at him. The guts hung out of the ruptured belly. Gingerly he reached out one hand for the gleaming silver tag hanging from the collar. A millisecond before he touched the metal, the dog snapped at his hand, the bloody teeth skinning the outer edge of his palm.
Derry hollered out in fright and scuttled backwards.
The dog was dead. Dead!
Yet it snarled and barked and snapped in his direction like it was rabid. It tried to twist its broken, twisted hind legs around, but something was wrong with its back as well.
Shit. Something was really, really, fucking really wrong with Hertley. The people on the sidewalk were watching in fascination. Even the kids in the daycare were clustered at the window, watching him with eerie cold eyes.
And that damn dog had managed to scoot six inches closer, leaving a trail of slimy, bloody, smelly guts behind it. The front legs had escaped traumatic injury, but from the middle of the animal’s back on, the hind legs were pointed at the sky, the back dragging on the ground. The split in the belly gaped open every time the dog moved.
Derry got sick on the road, puked up his breakfast and his lunch. Somebody laughed, a soft titter.
He felt a presence behind him and smelled a familiar perfume, one he hadn’t smelled in over five years.
Suwannee’s favorite scent.
Hands brushed the top of his head and squeezed his shoulders. Derry closed his eyes and inhaled her clean, sweet scent. Both of her hands were so warm through his vintage-wash t-shirt.
“Holata,” she whispered in his ear. “Holata.”
“What?” he turned around to see her, but there wasn’t anyone there, only the idiots on the sidewalk and the gruesome snarling thing a few feet away from him.
Derry clambered to his feet and sidestepped the dog. It snapped at him, frenzied. Ignoring it, he got in his car and floored it toward the turn-off that led to Suwannee’s. He glanced back in his rear-view mirror and thought he was going to get sick again.
They were eating the dog.
Eating it right where it lay in the street.
Fighting over the remains, the daycare worker handing out bits and bloody pieces to the children who had filed out of the center. Each one wore a gruesome grin.
Derry couldn’t hold it back anymore. He slammed on the brakes and leaned out the window, hurling up the remainders of what he’d eaten.
Dear God, he thought. It was a true prayer, wordless, fervent. Get me the heck out of here in one piece.
He sped through town, not stopping for anything or anybody. The turn-off came up quick and it felt like he took it on two wheels. The road out to Suwannee’s hadn’t been grated in a long time, so his car jounced around uncontrollably.
Duh, slow down, idiot, he thought to himself. It took a lot of pep-talking to get his lead foot to lighten up a little.
It had only been a year since he’d been back to Hertley. It had almost seemed normal then!
Nobody ate dead dogs. Nobody that he knew of, anyway.
He pulled up to Suwannee’s old house and jumped out of the car, not even bothering to shut off the engine. Broken Drum didn’t answer when he beat on the front door.
“Drum! I’m coming in.” Using his copy of the key, he pushed the front door open. The smell hit him first, the rancid, pungent smell of the freaks he and Michael had encountered in the swamp.
“Drum, are you here?” Terrified, lit by adrenaline, he grabbed the polished oak walking stick and hefted it to his shoulder. His bones seemed to tremble within his flesh. Okay, okay, calm down.
You’ve taken enough karate classes to know how to defend yourself.
Michael wasn’t here to beat the cannibals off with an old shovel. Cautiously, almost numb from the hormones racing through his body, he advanced through the living room.
Whatever had happened here had happened very recently. The feces on the floor looked fresh.
Grimacing, he stepped over the sporadic piles of crap as he made his way to the bedroom. Drum had left Suwannee’s room untouched and taken the tiny back room as his own. Bracing himself, he twisted the loose doorknob and pushed.
The old man was there, in the bed. A bloody sheet covered him from the waist down. Weirdest of all, an IV stand stood next to the bed, a bag of clear fluid dangling from the thin metal arms.
“Drum?” Derry asked softly, entering the room. “Hey, Drum?”
The old man moaned softly. He looked thin and weak, pale as the original color of the grimy, blood-stained bedsheets beneath him.
Derry’s blood thundered in his ears and he took a step forward and pulled the sheet away.
He gagged miserably and crouched on his heels, head in his hands.
They’d been at him, the cannibals. God, let it be the cannibals and not some psycho.
The IV bag loudly proclaimed it wasn’t the primitive swamp cannibals. Swamp cannibals didn’t know how to insert IV’s. They wouldn’t have used the figure-eight-shaped sticky pads to hold it in place. There wouldn’t be a blood pressure cuff on the floor by the bed, or a stethoscope hung over the headboard.
Derry managed to fight off his urge to puke and went over to the IV stand. Whatever was in there was helping to keep Drum alive, and hopefully sedated.
Terrible things had been done to his legs and his stomach. Derry gulped back a mouthful of bitter saliva and steeled his stomach. Quickly, he untied Drum’s hands from the headboard, noting how icy cold and gray they were. He’d been tied up for a long time, long enough to cut off circulation to his hands.
Derry folded them gently on the sagging barrel-chest and yanked a clean sheet out of the closet.
Nobody had messed with Suwanee’s clothes. The gust of air that whispered against his face when he yanked the thin wooden door open made his gut clench. It smelled like her, soft and feminine and sweet.
The odor of death and sickness hadn’t invaded that space yet. Derry closed the door.
A second later something heavy and hard slammed into the back of his head, not hard enough to knock him out, but hard enough to daze him. He bounced off the closet door and slid to the floor.
It was a struggle to turn around. “Doctor Reynold?”
The balding, ruddy-faced doctor, usually so jovial and friendly, sneered down at him. A mad light gleamed in his eyes. He had a baseball bat held against his shoulder, ready to swing again. Derry put a hand to the back of his head and felt the big bleeding knot.
“Doctor Reynolds, come on, put the bat down. It’s me, Derry.”
“I know who you are.” His voice was hoarse, like he’d been hollering for days on end.
Derry gripped his polished pine bough tightly, keeping it at his side and hoping the doctor hadn’t noticed it.
“Did-did you do that to Drum?” Derry pointed to the bed. “Why?”
“Meddling old man.” The doctor shrugged and tightened his grip on the bat. “And I was hungry. It’s a sickness, you know. We bathe in the river and she gives it to us.”
“That doesn’t sound real nice of her. Who’s ‘her’?” Derry tightened his own grip. A cramp shot through his palm, a reminder of what Suwannee had done to him five years earlier.
“Spirit-Mother. She’s taken Hertley. She loves us.”
“Michael’s back, too. Have you seen him yet?” The doctor let the bat relax. A shadow of his former self, mangled by whatever possessed him now, glimmered through.
Derry felt sick to the souls of his feet. “Michael’s dead, Doctor Reynolds. I saw his body myself. I saw Suwannee cut his throat.”
The doctor shrugged. “Spirit-Mother won’t let us die, Derry. Even when we want to so bad we can’t stand it.” He held his wrists out to Derry.
Deep, black-edged gashes loosely closed with butterfly stitches oozed dark red fluid. The stink of infection made Derry lean back, grimacing. “Leave, then. Get out of Hertley. Why do you stay here?”
The doctor moved like a whirlwind, fast and strong, picking Derry up and slinging him a few feet away. The pine bough rolled out of his reach.
Derry huddled against the wall, searching for a weapon. The doctor was going a little more crazy, bashing the drywall with the bat like he intended to tear down the house with just that one tool.
There! Under the bed was a hacksaw, the edge gleaming in the afternoon sunlight shining in from the single window. He wasn’t sure how much good a rusty hacksaw would be against a baseball bat, but it was something.
Just then the doctor whipped around and began to bash the crap out of the lacy shadows of leaves dancing on the wall. Derry snapped his arm out, painfully hyper-extending his elbow as he snatched up the pine bough.
On his feet, he was swinging the bough at the doctor’s head before the man could even turn around.
Derry hit him hard. Hard enough to slam the man against the wall, shatter his nose in a gush of blood, and knock him out.
Only after he’d slumped to the floor and Derry had delivered one more blow to the base of the doc’s skull did he turn back to Broken Drum. Before the doctor could awaken—if he was actually going to—Derry grabbed the clean sheet and covered Drum with it. The old man didn’t so much as twitch. After grabbing the IV bag, Derry braved the filth and slid his arms under his friend.
Thanks to the horrible things the doctor had done to him, Drum’s deadweight wasn’t unmanageable. Derry staggered out the front door, nearly falling headfirst down the narrow, shaky stairs.
A wild wind whipped through his hair and made the sheet hanging off Drum’s mutilated body flap and snap angrily. Over the roar of the wind through the pines and oaks, Derry heard a sound that chilled him to the core.
The low, rumbling growl blended perfectly with the sound of the wind.
Frantic now, Derry stumbled as fast as he could to the car. He got the back door open and pushed Drum in, hooking the IV bag on the hanger hook above the door. Straightening up, he scanned the woods surrounding the house.
The shadows flickered, driving him crazy as he tried to look everywhere at once.
“Just get in the damn car, idiot,” he grunted to himself. Derry slammed the back door after he made sure no part of Broken Drum hung out. Rather than walk around the car, he crawled into the driver’s seat through the passenger side.
The keys weren’t in the ignition.
He’d left the car running.
Damn that crazy doctor! He must have taken the keys.
Groaning, Derry popped his door open and scrambled back up the porch, into the house.
The doctor was awake, beating on the walls again. Derry ducked back out on to the porch. Silently he ran through every curse word he knew, hands fisted at his sides as he leaned against the side of the house.
He scanned the porch for a weapon that would be formidable against the solid-wood baseball bat.
There were the aluminum-frame lawn chairs, the wobbly pedestal table, and a crate full of whiskey bottles, ready for recycling. Drunk or not, Drum did what he could for the environment.
Derry stifled a hysterical laugh. Get it together, Leander. He shifted his foot. His heel touched something hard and cold, something that rapped against the wall behind him softly. He glanced down, his heart racing with expectation.
Hallelujah! A crowbar! Maybe somebody was looking out for him after all…
Derry picked the long heavy piece of metal up and hefted it. It disturbed him, just a little bit, that the thought of using it on a person didn’t bother him one bit. The muscles in his arms and back tightened, tensed.
He took a deep breath and reached for the crusty brass doorknob.
The doctor was in the living room, bashing the hell out of the walls with his bat. He looked at Derry, the crazy-light in his eyes blazing. With a roar, the doctor rushed him, the bat held out like a lance.
Anyway, we had inspections today. I cleaned my apartment thoroughly and it's been a while. I'm a clutter bug and pack rat. If it's reusable in ANY way, I save it. Problem is, I run out of space to cram stuff, so baskets and cabinets and stuff overflow. I don't mind doing laundry, but I hate folding it, so it usually piles up on the couches (I have three of them crammed into a TINY 2 bedroom apartment). Well, last night I cleaned the apartment. I took out seven bags of stuff that I know I'll never use, even though it KILLEd me to throw out some of it because I just KNOW I can reuse it in someway LOL. I started going through the clothes--to just give you an idea of how long its been since I folded the piles of clothes in the bedroom, my seven year old has grown out of clothing I found LOL.
I cleaned off the counters of all the baskets and boxes and bowls and other things that its easy to toss stuff in. I emptied out cabinets that wouldn't shut. I even reorganized the pantry. My closet door will shut now. I tucked all thw wires to my computer set up back behind the desk and the table next to it.
I stacked up all my DVDs, books, CD's, and notes. I put all my art supplies in a basket.
I swept the carpets, then vacuumed them. I scrubbed the glass topped table top (a nightmare, really).
I scrubbed out the sink, the bathtubs (not a bad job, I do keep up with the basic housekeeping LOL), the toilets.
SO when I went to bed last night, I really didn't think about it. I got up, went to work, came home and nearly freaked out. My first thought was seriously, "Oh my gosh, somebody's been in my house."
Then I was like...ohhhhhhh. I did a really good job last night. LOL