Saturday, March 13, 2010

(Recommended Reads) "The Stand-Up Act" by Eric J. Krause

I killed 'em. Absolutely slayed 'em. All except for one guy in the back. I don't know what his problem was, but no matter what I said, no matter how many people laughed--and I don't want to break my shoulder by patting myself on the back, but it was most of them--this guy heckled the heck (har, har) out of me...

click here to read the rest

Friday, March 12, 2010

(Recommended Reads) "Winter" by Maria Protopapadaki-Smith

She has only to smile at him once, and Spring is her slave. He gives her all she asks for and showers her with almond blossoms. She dances around him and bestows upon him nothing but her playful smile and the twinkles in her eyes. The weeks pass, and Spring feels himself grow weaker as her platinum hair darkens to a soft gold colour, and her playful dance takes on a heat he finds a little disconcerting...

click here to read the rest

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Thirty

Everyone wants to be the hero of their own story, and in doing so they inevitably make themselves of villain of someone else's."

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Twenty Nine

Tired of being henpecked, he told his wife exactly what he thought of her. In a letter. That he kept in his safety deposit box.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Twenty Eight

In a world awash with unfortunate names most agreed that Regeana Dentata got a raw deal.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Twenty Seven

The submarine was deep in enemy waters when dysentery struck, leaving the crew with no option but to go to silent running.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Twenty Six

Trying to get famous via the Internet is like waiting to be abducted by horny lingerie models. You better have a plan B.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Twenty Five

Back in the 70s a lot of superheroes were into wife swapping, it gave a new meaning to the term "swinging from rooftop to rooftop".

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Twenty Four

Pliers, a bungee cord and a bottle of vodka are all you need to enter into the exciting field of 'extreme dentistry'.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Twenty Three

Not only do the vampires of the Jersey shore have to sleep in their native Earth they must re-apply their spray-on tan at midnight.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Twenty Two

The bone-white van sped by, a nightmare in the driver's seat, Audra said, “A headless milkman? Now I have seen everything.”

The Nick Of Time (and other abrasions): Tombs Of The Blonde Dead

The Nick Of Time (and other abrasions): Tombs Of The Blonde Dead Part Six- Sealed With A Kiss

The Nick Of Time

(and other Abrasions)

Tombs Of The Blonde Dead

part six

Sealed With A Kiss


Al Bruno III

How could it all have gone so wrong?

How could it all have gone so wrong after years of preparation?

The Nine Sisters of Kashchei were no more, their sweet promises of revenge and delight unfulfilled. Oh, how Reynolds had wanted to lord his victory over his father, the father that had taken such pleasure in reminding him he was a bastard, the father that had never seen his son as anything more than a groundskeeper and a burden.

Gurlich Manor was burning, the fire had spread out from the gardens and was finding fuel in everything- furniture, trees, even the bodies of the party guests. The light from the fire was as bright as a sunrise and it cast flickering illumination through the windows of the one room cottage Larry Gurlich had allowed his son to live in. Reynolds was packing to leave. He didn’t have much to show for his near decade of thankless service; a few savings bonds, some cash and all the jewelry he had managed to steal from his father’s guests when the opportunity had presented itself.

It was enough for a new start, he had contacts in Los Angeles; that city of pornographers and sorcerers and everything in-between. Reynolds knew they had befriended him because they thought he was a quick path to his father but they had come to appreciate the talents that were his and his alone.

Hadn’t he let them taste the flesh of ghosts and the substance of dreams? Hadn’t he summoned creatures from the very Ruins of Creation for their amusement?

Yes, there were more than enough people out there that would help him start over, and even more that would follow him.

With a single suitcase packed Reynolds turned to go, his only regret was that he didn’t have time to steal any of the classic cars his father had collected and left to gather dust in storage.

“Going somewhere?” Audra DiMico asked.

Lorelei Miller gave her a disbelieving look, “I can’t believe you said that.”

“It seemed appropriate.”

“Can we get this over with so we can finish freeing all the animals?” Judy Bauer cast a nervous glance towards the open cages of the Garden Of Duchesses.

Reynolds stared at the three girls blocking the way out. He recognized one of them, she had almost cracked his ribs with a single kick. But the other two? He had no idea who they were, but they weren’t Girly Magazine material that was for damn sure. They had trouble written all over them- uninvited trouble.

“You cunts!” he realized aloud, “you’re the ones that ruined everything.”

Audra nodded sadly, “They always go right for the C-word don’t they?”

“Last refuge of a scoundrel,” Judy agreed.

The ax handle was still in reach, Reynolds grabbed it and waved it threateningly, “Get out of my way.”

“I would ask you why you did all this,” Audra said, “but I think the answer might be too pitiful to bear.”

Judy groaned, “Can we just finish this?”

The girl that had kicked him in the gut was just watching him and whispering under her breath; it was unintelligible but Reynolds still didn’t like the sound of it. Screaming like a madman he charged them, swinging the ax handle wildly.

Instead of backing away Lorelei stepped up to him and kissed him hard on the mouth.

The ax handle dropped to the floor, when the kiss broke Reynolds fell on top of it. He couldn’t move, he could barely breathe.

Lorelei wiped the blood from her lips already dreading the aftereffects of the Nightshade Kiss but how could she complain in the face of what her friends had gone through on this night? Audra had only escaped with a hasty translocation but she had been too hasty and glimpsed the very Heart of the Maelstrom; something no woman should ever do. Judy had protected herself from one of the Nine Sisters with a powerful spell of her own but the cost had been moments off her natural lifespan; when your future is uncertain those moments can add up.

As if there wasn’t enough that would haunt them about this terrible night.

“You won’t be able to move for a while,” Lorelei said, “if I had had more time I would have fixed it that you’d never move again but I suppose that would be pointless.”

Somewhere a peacock was screeching in alarm, Judy made an anxious sound and fidgeted in place, “Come on...”

“The fire hasn’t reached here yet, maybe it won’t even reach here at all” Lorelei explained, “so you’ve got a chance. That’s something isn’t it?”

Audra nodded, “We’re not monsters.”

“So... I guess that’s it, good luck.”

The three girls filed out of the cabin. Reynolds tried everything he knew, every invocation, every trick of the mind but he couldn’t move. He wanted to scream and beg but he could barely keep one breath coming after the other.

It wasn't long before he started to smell smoke.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

This blog now has 100 Subscribers and 45 Followers

I want to thank you all for following and enjoying my work.

I am very grateful.

(ps keep circulating the blog!)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Twenty One

He liked to say "Now that's what I'm talking about!" but no one really knew what the Hell he was talking about most of the time.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Twenty

"Life is like being part of an avalanche," Zeth said, "you learn how to settle."

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Nineteen

She had only really been in love three times in her life and she had the Restraining Orders to prove it.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Eighteen

he Psychotic Kid had promised himself he wouldn't cry but the bastards were using tear gas.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Seventeen

Magwier told her, "I don't want any more possibilities or plans I just want us- her -together-now." But it was already too late.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Sixteen

Bitter experience made the Lord decree that all angels must go into therapy to keep them from suffering delusions of godhood.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Fifteen

He didn't like the depressive side of manic-depression but at least when he was manic he caught up on the housework.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Fourteen

Every time they tried to fire her she found a way to come back, it was the HR version of a horror film.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Thirteen

He accidentally brushed his teeth with fruity bubblegum toothpaste, it left him feeling like he had a mouthful of clown semen.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Twelve

"The afterlife should be like a good spouse," Audra said, "loving, forgiving and open minded enough for a little mischief."

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Eleven

Not content to just break the color barrier, superheros Lightning and Thunder also broke the sound barrier and scales respectively.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Ten

George Washington may have had wooden teeth but he was never one to burn his bridges.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Nine

hen he made love to his wife he imagined he was with someone else, she imagined she was with ANYONE else.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Eight

From atop a cathedral the Maven considered the crime-ridden streets below her, or as she liked to call it ' getting her brood on'.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Seven

Captain Hero wondered about his old team the River City Rangers, their breakup had been acrimonious and had involved giant robots.

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis chapter fifty four

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis

Chapter Fifty Four


Friday November 22nd 1996

On those rare occasions when he truly slept, her lover's breaths were like those of a dying man; a flurry of brief gasps followed by a single long exhalation. Angie lay beside him, her arms wrapped tight around his bare chest, his every hitching breath shuddered through her. He never sounded like this when he was awake and she had begun to suspect that this was the only time he allowed his body to suffer the full weight of its years and injuries. It proved to her that he spent his every waking moment trying to be invulnerable.

And it was for her, only for her.

The blankets were tossed aside and only a sheet covered their naked bodies. It had taken some coaxing to get him to make love to her, it always did. In truth it was the one thing about him that truly frustrated her, she wasn't fragile to the touch, she wouldn't break when he held her.

They were a just as strange a match in bed as they were in all other aspects of their lives together. She was all kisses and sighs, her eyes closed until the heat of climax; Johnny never closed his eyes, never made a sound and his touch was as light as a feather.

He smacked his lips in his sleep and shifted slightly. He patted one of her wrists before drifting off again. The candles had been blown out and the bedroom was dark, her mouthful of pills and glass of water were on the nightstand but they could wait for now.

Laughter drifted up from the library. Another trick of Laurel House's acoustic mischief. You would find yourself hearing snatches of conversation from other rooms or suddenly be overwhelmed by a silence. Then there were the hollow notes that moved this way and that along the walls, swirling and doubling back upon themselves. Everyone called them windchimes at first but you soon learned otherwise, because those glassy tones were a presence that sometimes would stalk you for hours until you were sure that the noise was coming from within your own head and you were sure you were hearing a rhythm in the chaos of sound. Then it would be gone and stay away from weeks at a time.

When she had finally confronted Johnny about it he had explained that she was hearing was the spirit of the house, the consciousness that fed and hid them from view. He advised her to ignore it, that there was nothing they could do about it.

Angie still wasn't sure what he had meant by that only that his expression had become all the more gloomy for having said it.

Angie was almost asleep now but she began to realize they weren't alone in the room, that there was something standing in the bathroom. It wasn't a trick of the acoustics or the mysterious windchimes, there was someone there. Waiting for her.

And Johnny was still dozing. She couldn't believe it, usually he was instantly on his feet at the slightest creak of a floorboard.

Bravery had never been her strong suit but Angie extricated herself from her lover and waited for him to stir. Nothing.

She whispered his name.

Still nothing.

"It's me Angela."

"Magwier?" Not only could she not believe the man was in her room, she couldn't believe Johnny hadn't woken and killed him yet. "What are you doing here?" she whispered.

"I'm not here," his voice was an ugly rasp, "And we need to talk."

She pulled on a blouse and walked into the bathroom, she found him standing in the corner furthest from her. "Talk about what?" she asked. There were candles and matches on a shelf near the sink, she reached for them.

"You don't need those," he said, "better we were just voices in the dark."

"How did you get in here?"

"One of us is dreaming. Probably you."

It looked to Angie that he was wearing some kind of a nightshirt but it was in bad shape, tattered in a dozen places and hanging over him like it was two sizes too large. She asked, "What do you want?"

"Why are you here? With him?"

"What business is it of yours?"

He pressed himself spider-like against the wall, "Is it because you feel obligated? Or because you've nowhere else to go?"

"No!" Angie couldn't believe she was having this conversation.

"There's no shame in it and it feels almost like love." his chuckle was empty.

"Get out of here Magwier," she said, "I mean it."

"Magwier?" the shape on the wall shivered, "Am I still Magwier?"

"I said go!" she shouted now.

"You're not the one. You're innocent." losing substance, the shape began to spread across the wall like a stain, "Innocent is just another word for doomed."


"...Angie?" Johnny was shaking her awake, "Angie?"

It was dizzying to perceive yourself as standing and then waken to find yourself lying down, "What happened?"

"You were talking in your sleep," he stroked her cheek, then her chin, "I think you were trying to scream."

Click here to continue

Monday, March 8, 2010

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Six

Everyone knows the legend of how 'the Screaming Commandos' earned their name, but the truth is stranger, and it involves syphilis.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Five

Captain Hero shouted, “The formula left him half-man half tree!”

Amazing Ed winced, “The poor sap...”

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Four

As per his final will and testament his ashes were mixed in with a batch of stripper glitter.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Three

The Grim Reaper stopped by the pharmacy to try and find something to help with his 'not so fleshed' feeling.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and Two

"Life is not a dress rehearsal," Psychotic Kid said, "it's the training montage before the final battle with oblivion."

5 Second Fiction One Thousand and One

"When 'The Bedwetter's Society' calls in for tech support with their web page, don't ask them about their IP."

5 Second Fiction One Thousand

Once upon a time there was an author that wrote 1000 Five Second Fictions that made people happy and that made him very happy.

5 Second Fiction Nine Hundred and Ninety Nine

“It's terrible!” Thalia said, “Captain Hero got distracted by the sight of Doomsday Girl tying her bootlace and drove into a wall.”

5 Second Fiction Nine Hundred and Ninety Eight

Her room at the hospice was filled with family, friends and admirers at all hours of the day but she still died alone. We all do.

5 Second Fiction Nine Hundred and Ninety Seven

After another attempt on her life Nikola Preceptor of the Greater Eastern Council of Mystagogues rethought her open door policy.

5 Second Fiction Nine Hundred and Ninety Six

Throughout the 70's the Midnight Marvels protected River City only to be brought down by an avalanche of lawsuits in the late 80's.

5 Second Fiction Nine Hundred and Ninety Five

She was tired of it of her husband spending every free hour searching for UFOs and then coming to her at night asking to be probed.

5 Second Fiction Nine Hundred and Ninety Four

It was a bad idea to loot the temple and set the cannibals on the warpath. But what else was there to do on this miserable island?

5 Second Fiction Nine Hundred and Ninety Three

The water was cool and inviting; the lampreys well fed and used to the screams of skinny-dippers.

Who wants some Al Bruno III for their bookshelves?

IN THIS TWILIGHT tales of lost gods and fragile transformations

This collection of 13 stories transports you to a world where both dreams and monsters lurk in the shadows, where love and forgotten rituals fight for control of the human heart, and where the madness of eternity can be glimpsed in a single segmented eye. This anthology collects some of the best stories from Al Bruno III's website and includes the novellas 'Chad's Oracles', 'Fully Vested' and 'The Mask Collector', available for the first time anywhere.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

IN THE MIDNIGHT OF HIS HEART a novel of horror and obsession

To all outward appearances John Sig is just an old man living a quietly in an empty old house. His one pleasure is when he heads down to the local diner and visits with his favorite waitress Angie. When Angie disappears, John sets out to find her. For an ordinary old man that might seem like a foolish idea but John Sig isn't human, he's a monster living in the shadow of a nightmare thirty -five years old.

Welcome To Hell, Here's Your Smock part six

Price Breaks and Heartaches
a journal of retail and failed romance
Chapter One
Welcome To Hell, Here's Your Smock
part six

In retrospect I think my stepfather was right to shove me kicking and screaming into the working world; still though I think it’s too bad he didn't follow through on this idea with his own son who dropped out of school in the ninth grade to watch television until he was about 18. While I was busy with Nice Shopper and High School my brother kept himself occupied with his mad quest to see every Krokus video MTV had to offer. Still though who am I to judge? Nowadays my brother Phil is a rich and powerful building contractor while here I am giving out free stories on the internet in a mad quest to someday earn enough to buy Krokus’ greatest hits CD out of the bargain bin.

And speaking of Krokus let us not forget that this story takes place in the 80‘s an era when metal ruled the airwaves and terrified parents everywhere. Sure all of us pasty white boys had heard of this ‘Rap Music’ but we were sure it was all just a fad. We knew that our metal gods would reign over a realm of sex, drugs and rock and roll forever. We’d never see the likes of Ozzy Osbourne becoming a henpecked husband. We all knew KISS would never sell out to the man; it was all about the music not merchandising. Sometimes we sat up at night trying to imagine how many hot babes Judas Priest’s Rob Halford bedded after every concert.

It was late spring and suddenly I found myself a holding a diploma that I had no idea what to do with. Spring became summer; I kept living at home and waiting for something to happen. I kept working part time, I told my mangers that since I had been given a bitcin’ Monte Carlo as a graduation present I would be available to work full time. They politely declined my offer, and my politely I mean they didn’t laugh directly in my face.

Then one bright Saturday morning that changed, an early morning call from Mr. Streicher woke me up. He told me that I had to come in early, that they needed me.

They needed me! How could I resist? I got dressed as quickly as I could and drove there in record time.
Mr. Streicher was waiting for me, he watched me punch in and get my smock on, then he led me to the back room. I noticed that several other bagboys and produce handlers were hanging around. I wondered what they might be smirking about.

“Don’t you need me to get carts or bag groceries?” I asked.

“No.” Mr. Streicher explained, “You see Bruno, an old woman had an accident on the floor of the men's room.”

A sinking feeling began to settle into the pit of my stomach, “The men's room?”

Mr. Streicher nodded, “I can only assume she was confused. She didn't stick around to explain herself,she just took a dump on the floor and left.”

“When was this?”

“About an hour ago.”

I looked to my snickering audience and then back to Mr. Streicher, “But there were about six other guys that could have done this, you didn't have to call me in.”

Mr. Streicher grinned, “They all refused. So buck up young man you've got a job to do.”

“What if I refuse?”

“They had seniority, however if you refuse you'll be fired instantly.”

There was a chorus of jeering laughter at my back as I entered the men's room. What I found in there was feces of Lovecraftian foulness. Reddish purple in color and roughly the size of a soup can it sat there in the middle of the floor. Rivulets of watery gruel had peppered the floor in the wake of its inappropriate splashdown. I tried to breathe through my mouth but the stench had been given an hour to permeate the bathroom, there was no escaping it.

I remember saying in a voice that no one but the turd could hear, “I’ll show them. I’ll show them all.” And when you say something like that it either means you are going to build an army of atomic supermen to rule the world or you’re going to do the best job you can do in a bad situation. Of course, in retrospect I chose poorly but there was no way I was going to afford an army of atomic supermen on my salary.

An hour later the bathroom was the cleanest it had been in years. I headed down to the front end of the store to let Mr. Streicher know.

“Well it took you long enough.” He said, “Look at all those carts out there! Get going.”

A nearby cashier commented, “Yeah Labert, if this was a race you would have come in turd.”

“Hey that’s not funny.” I said.

Orville looked up from bagging groceries, “Hey they told you to get groceries! Scat!”

“I- ohhhhh man…”

“What is the matter here Bruno? Do you need to go home early?” Mr. Streicher walked over to me, “Are you… feeling pooped?”

“That’s it, I quit.”
And quit I did. I found a better paying job at the local fast food restaurant. They were a lot more appreciative and they paid me a whole quarter above the minimum wage!

But before that, in that penniless twilight that sprawls between your training period and your first paycheck, I found that I still needed money so I headed in to Nice Shopper to get my final check. They kept me waiting around for about 15 minutes, and in that quarter of an hour not a one of my old coworkers paused to ask how I was doing or where I was working now. They didn’t even see me as a customer.
Mr. Streicher called me up to the office and has he handed me my check he asked me where I was working. When I told him he laughed.

“Empire Burger? You better watch out Bruno, they'll actually make you work there.”

I sighed, “I’m not afraid of a little work, I never was. I just can’t do the work of three people.”

“Funny how you’re the only one that seems to say that isn’t it?” Mr. Streicher chuckled, “You know what I think? I think you're too slow, I think you're kinda lazy and I don't think you're going to last too long in fast food. Why can't you be more like Orville? He’s got management written all over him, he really knows how to handle things.”

I turned to leave, “Perhaps more than you'll ever know sir.”

“What a wimp.”
Years later I still shopped at that store, I don’t know if it was because they were near my house or if I did it out of spite. OK yes occasionally I might have left some frozen foods hidden behind a paper towel display or some raw chicken by the canned goods but hey, it wasn’t like I worked there.

Funny thing though, a few months later they made bagging groceries, carts and bottle register separate jobs.

This was another thing I learned about retail, probably the one immutable fact; every job is a nightmare until I quit.

Now what happened to me at Empire Burger? That’s a story for another time.