Tuesday, October 9, 2012

MERCY-CHAPTER 2-BY HUNTER SHEA


http://penofthedamned.com/2012/10/09/mercy-chapter-2/#respond


Read hunter Shea's great continuation of his Gothic horror piece, Mercy. Read his other stories there and tales from other members of the Damned!

Blaze


Mercy – Chapter 2

(continuation of ‘Mercy‘ chapter 1 s2iKoL-mercy )

Jessamine slept often, those first few days after her return. I was allowed to take her to the garden for one hour each day, where I read poetry to her and piled dozens of fresh picked flowers on her lap. The hail storm had laid waste to our vegetable garden, but the heartier flowers that lined the old house were spared its wrath.
“Do you remember how it felt when…” I couldn’t bring myself to finish the question. Father had told me to never mention the word exorcism again, especially in front of Jessamine.
She shook her head. “I don’t remember a thing. It just felt as if I’d disappeared, like sleeping without dreaming.”
“Please don’t go away again.”
“I promise, I won’t. Big sisters are supposed to take care of their little sisters, not the other way around. Thank heavens you had Lucy to watch over you while I was…gone.” She cradled Lucy in her hands, smoothing her thumb over the tiny fracture.
I had to say something that had puzzled me ever since her possession. “You’d think living in the Reverend’s house would have prevented something like this from happening. I mean, this is sacred ground of sorts. ”
Jessamine stares at the old stone manse, at its tall windows and gabled roof. Her eyes glazed over as if with fever. Her lips were dry and cracked and her voice was soft and distant when she replied, “Yes, you would think so.”
Despite father’s insistence that we put Jessamine’s episode behind us, lest we give the evil the power to creep back into our lives, it was hard for me to stay silent. I had so many questions.
I lay in my bed letting the questions twist round my brain. The moon was full and brilliant and cast silvery shafts of diaphaneity across our small bedroom.
How did the evil worm its way into Jessamine?
Why her?
Where did it go?
How did it go? Was it simply a matter of saying the right words by the Reverend, or was it something more, something that couldn’t be seen or heard?
“I’m sure it’s in hell, where it belongs,” my sister blurted from her sleep. It was if she had read my thoughts!
It gave me a terrible fright. I touched her lightly on the shoulder but her heavy exhalation told me she was in a deep state of sleep.
The house took on a preternatural silence and the radiance of the moon no longer seemed so gay. Sleep did not come easily.
I was awakened by Esther’s piercing scream. Jessamine and I threw off our blankets and rushed down the stairs.
Esther was still in her nightclothes. A wide, dark streak of blood marked the trail of her pained walk from her room by the kitchen to the dining room.
She reached out to us with shaking hands. “Help…me!”
It was awful. Her round face was red with strain and rivers of tears flowed from the corners of her eyes. Our charwoman had always been a source of invincibility in our home. She lay upon the floor like a helpless rabbit caught in a trap. Her leg was a mass of gore. With trembling hands she tried to stanch the flow of blood.
My father brushed past us and knelt by her side. He asked her how she had come to be hurt but poor Esther could only babble. The house was awash with our cries.
Mother had been given a prescription of laudanum to help her frayed nerves, so she remained oblivious to the commotion.
“Jessamine, fetch me that cloth over there,” he said.
When he turned to ask for her help, I saw the red, pulpy swath that had been carved into Esther’s leg. The edges of the wound were ragged, as if…
As if something had gnawed the flesh from her leg.
Esther’s moans died in her throat when she passed out, and I ran to the well to fill a basin with water.
The doctor arrived an hour later. He took Esther with him to the hospital. She awoke when Father and he lifted her from the floor and screamed like a madwoman all the way to the doctor’s carriage.
None of us ate that day. We couldn’t get the image of her gnawed-upon leg out of our brains.
“Father, what could do such a thing to Esther?” I asked. “Could it have been a wolf?”
He shook his head and smoothed the sides of his great, bushy mustache. “I’m not sure dear. Esther was in no state to tell us. Perhaps when she settles down at hospital, she’ll recall. I’d say it had to have been some animal she encountered in the yard. I want you girls to pray for her recovery and that it wasn’t…rabid.”
When mother awoke in the early afternoon, she shuffled throughout the house, calling for Esther, wondering about supper.
It seemed we couldn’t escape the madness.
~ Hunter Shea

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

SHE WATCHES-BY NINA D'ARCANGELA

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Nina D'Arcangela has written a piece of majestic poetic prose for your reading pleasure! Check out all the other great posts on pen of The Damned. You will be glad you did!

Blaze



She Watches

My watcher gazes upon me, great despair and longing seeping through her gently fluttering lashes. She lives a life of torment, a life filled with a depth of pain and depravity that rivals my own. Closer she wishes to draw, trying – always trying, but the measure of her success is a cruel and harsh one that denies, not grants, the wants of those like us. Unable to do more, she watches.
She watches as I sink ever further into the squalor that is my self-imposed exile, my place of preciously preserved pains, the darkest recesses of my mind where even I cannot find respite from my own deranged ramblings. Gasping for a breath that will never come, hope a thing lost to a moment that can never be regained, I will forever dwell in this chasm of nowhere. Capable of infusing life into me once more, yet unable to wade such a distance, she must simply watch as I succumb.
She watches as I prance about in this tattered garb, seeming to most a thing so giddy; a toy bright and shiny – all the while, inside… nothing but a fool. She sees my cracks, my flaws, all that makes me unworthy. She is witness to the tarnish that dulls my plating, the rust that flakes my surface, the debris that hinders my step. She gropes at the pile of destroyed dreams, hoping in vain to free me; the more she digs, the deeper the rubble becomes. She must watch as I succumb to what others have done, and what has become of me.
She watches as I shatter into innumerable shards, only to suffer my tears as I collect each delicate fragment to me; insistent upon rebuilding my ruined castle once more. Tears of acid crawl down my cheeks, the madness that accompanies them the crumbling of the world – my world – should they ever truly be unleashed. A steady stream of tangible harm inflicted by so many, each droplet a testament to the life I bear. Her desperate plea for me to hush heard only as an echo in my ear. Her arm stretched towards me, wanting so much to offer reprieve, is hindered by obstacles both beloved and unfair. She must watch as I succumb to what others have undone within me.
She watches as I flay open my own flesh for allowing moments of weakness, glimpses of joy, lies of happiness that happen in an instant, gone all too quickly. Brief encounters, an hour, perhaps two. Touching, loving, seeing, hearing; feeling – breathing; for the first time in so long, breathing. A small step that leads to a brighter existence, a false step placed upon undulating ground. A promise of the sweetest forever, but no promise ever made, a faith always held – a mourning that shall never end, my forever, my reality.  This she must watch as I succumb not to what others have undone, but what I have done to destroy me.
Would I give so much more for even a lie of something less, if that lie was not this? With all the wasted remains of me, I would…  But my watcher stands as guard. She will not allow one to crumble, for the other would fall, no longer even the loathsome wreckage that now exists. Scalding tears pour in a cascade of deafening silence from her eyes. She must always watch me from behind a glass wall that cannot be allowed to shatter for all that would be lost.
A pile of forever swept to the side so that the tendrils of this now never break for what should have been.
~ Nina D’Arcangela

Monday, October 1, 2012

CHEYENNE ZOMBIE FEST!




Cheyenne Zombie Fest!



This past Saturday, I attended the Cheyenne Zombie Fest. I was there in the morning, afternoon, and evening. There was so much to do, and it was an awesome experience. It was a fundraiser for Cheyenne Little Theatre.org, which is a fantastic group of people putting on many wonderful performances throughout the year.

The events included a Zombie Walk, face painting, a brain eating contest, a Zombie Film Festival, raffles, a scavenger hunt, and a Zombie fashion show.

Book signings and seminars were conducted by Dr. Bob Curran, and multiple Bram Stoker award winner Jonathan Maberry. Mr. Mayberry and I had quite an interesting discussion about writing, Zombies, and movies. It appears we have a lot in common. He is quite the gentleman. Needless to say, I bought some books from both of these talented individuals.

There was also a huge number of comic book people there and comics were being sold. Yes, I bought some comics too. Among the talented artists and writers were Chad Blakely from Cheyenne, and Ron Fortier from Ft. Collins, Colorado. Mr. Fortier is a giant in the comic industry, having penned comics for the Green Hornet, The Terminator, Popeye, Captain Hazzard, and the Incredible Hulk. He has also written three novels with sci-fi author Ardath Mayhar, and written any number of short stories.

We had three great Heavy Metal bands playing in the evening, Arcanium being the show closer-boy, are they ever great! And there was even a Zombie Prom. Blaze even danced in the mosh pit. My friend Tim Marquitz would have been proud of me. I'm still catching my breath from that!

Anyone who thinks that Zombies are on the way out is wrong. Many of the people at the event were teens and twenty-somethings. They not only read the comics, graphic novels, and watch the movies, they buy and read Zombie books as well. So my author friends: don’t listen to the naysayers; zombies are in and will be for quite some time.

One other point I wish to make is that not only is there a demand for adult Zombie fare, there is a market for children's Zombie stories, YA, and under thirty folks. Mr. Maberry writes many tales for the younger generation. Take note.

There are many ideas spinning in my head after my discussions with the authors, the comic people, and the film industry. More on that later. Check out my picture above with my friend, Lori Sponhour Lewis. I actually have hair! I scared her husband in to taking the picture.



Blaze