Saturday, November 14, 2009

(Recommended Reads) "Special Delivery" By Lily Mulholland

I screw the lid on the flask, being careful not to spill the contents. It took a lot of effort to fill it and I didn’t want to waste a drop. Wrapping the flask in foil to keep it warm, I place it securely in my messenger bag...

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Friday, November 13, 2009

5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Fifty

Everyone expected Amazing Ed to fight Fuego over leadership of the team, no one expected him to grease himself so throughly.

5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Forty Nine

This year's reality show hit followed programming executives as they scrambled to create this year's reality show hit.

5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Forty Eight

Julie was the kind of beautiful, sexually agressive woman all men dreamed of meeting but where then terrified of if they did.

(Recommended Reads) "Morning Commute" by J Dane Tyler

Eddie sat in his usual corner at the back of the train car on the upper deck, face turned to the window. He didn’t look at me when I got to the top of the stairs at the front of the car. Usually he smiles. A woman in the front seat opposite us on the lower level was the only other person in the car. She had a pastel pink and yellow blanket over her outstretched legs, feet on the facing seat, head tipped onto her shoulder. The dark outside tarred the windows. Only stray piercings of light got through when a car passed or a street light went by...

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5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Forty Seven

It wasn't until his fourth adventure that the Ironcommando discovered that severe allergies and armored battlesuits didn't mix.

(Recommended Reads) "An Unsent Letter From Tommy" by Chance4321

I wonder what your reaction would be if I told you about the chap opposite me who was given hydrochloric acid instead of water this morning. Or of the person in the bed next to me, who I watched peel back all of his fingernails, one by one, the other day. I wonder if I could even tell you the horror of two nights ago. I could lay out the events as they unfolded. The swishing sound that I awoke too. The noise of a struggle. The lights coming on. But I do not know what words I would use to describe the sight of the patients in the beds opposite mine, who’d had their throats and faces slashed. I do not understand myself, let alone feel able to describe how I felt when I saw the patient from bed three standing in the corner with his razor in hand, foaming at the mouth, and who continued to grin even when the guards and orderlies wrestled him to the floor...

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5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Forty Six

Teen heartthrobs and porn stars share equally obsessive fan bases and roughly equal shelf lives.

5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Forty Five

It was just like Audra to bring witchcraft to a gunfight.

(Recommended Reads) Downtown - The Shop Keeper by Laurita Miller

She arrived every Thursday at exactly eleven forty-five. He watched and waited until he could see her through the window, then busied himself behind the counter until he heard the door chime.

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5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Forty Four

To keep her husband she had her chin tucked and her nose trimmed but then she really wasn't the woman he'd fallen in love with.

5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Forty Three

It wasn't until an army of giant robots attacked the junior prom that Kevin began to suspect his father was a super hero.

(Recommended Reads) Race for a Spirit by Jeff Posey

I stood in a raw wind outside Arboles, Colorado, waiting for Sean O’Brien to come out of the trailer house parked close to a Navajo Hogan. I hadn’t seen him since high school and I didn’t know if I’d recognize him. Those particular six years change people a good deal...

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5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Forty Two

The worst part of there being no afterlife was the lives wasted in anticipation.

5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Forty One

The best part of there being an afterlife was the chance to finally get in those long delayed apologies.

5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Forty

The worst part about there being an afterlife was the long lines for everything.

5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Thirty Nine

The best part of there being no afterlife was the chance to get in the last word.

5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Thirty Eight

All the bathroom walls in town advised Greg to call Sue for a good time and he had to admit she was a Hell of a canasta player.

5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Thirty Seven

CGI allows elements of two films to be blended but should the cast of Wizard of Oz met the plot of Cannibal Holocaust?

5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Thirty Six

The 80 year old coprophiliac's fetish for telemarketers caused them to create a Do Not Call list of their own.

5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Thirty Five

Gary didn't see the point of getting the dishwasher fixed as long as they had a dog.

My web page has been fixed!

The Al Bruno III Webpage

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis: Don't Push Your Foot On The Heartbreak

(I thought for this week I would share with you the first chapter of my serial novel. I feel the chapter holds up very well on its own and lets be honest here, this has been my least productive week ever...)

Don't Push Your Foot On The Heartbreak

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis
Chapter One
Al Bruno III

Thursday November 7th 1996

Sane women, Isobel thought, don't behave like this.

She scrunched down in the driver's seat of her Honda Civic and rolled cautiously through the night-shrouded suburb.

This is real trust here, She mused. The foundation of a truly stable relationship.

At the intersection she turned right onto Marriner Boulevard. The dashboard clock read One-Fifteen AM. She slowed to a crawl and switched off the Civic's headlights. The Bitch's house was half a block away. Darkness sprawled in the gulf between the streetlights.

Don't let him be there. She prayed over and over again., Please don't let him be there. Please let me be wrong.
She slowed to a stop in front of the Bitch’s house. Isobel groaned and banged her head lightly against the steering wheel.

There was Nick’s Black Camaro parked in the driveway.

The little two-timing bastard loved that car, he’d restored every inch of it. Isobel had a tire iron in the trunk of her Civic’s trunk. It would be so easy to just retrieve it and go to town- and if Nick and the Bitch came running out to stop her?

Her only question would be who to brain first.

For a moment Isobel actually had the car door open, but in the end she just shifted into first and drove away. When she was sure she was far enough away she switched the headlights back on.

The radio cheerfully informed her that the National Weather Service was promising another week of Indian Summer for all of Albany and it’s surrounding counties. A single sob escaped from Isobel's lips, the road blurred and slipped back into focus as she fought back the tears. The thought occurred to her that she could just drive away; leave this whole stinking mess of a life behind her. Just drive until her Civic or her ATM card gave out. There had to be something more out there than this.

She passed a sign but didn't bother to read the words. It didn't matter; she knew it was just telling her that the entrance ramp to the Northway was coming up.

Again and again the question surfaced, why did Nick keep going back to that bitch?

Was she smarter? Dumber? Was she wild in bed? Was she a screamer? Did she do it with the lights on?

Isobel swerved on to the entrance ramp. The Northway was more empty and dark than she'd ever remembered it. The tears finally overcame her, they rolled down her cheeks and over her lips. Isobel scowled at the taste, so much like blood. Over the last few years she’d seen her dreams fall away one by one. What would replace them, she wondered. Would anything?

A figure ran out into the road in front of her, his arms flailing wildly.


Isobel slammed both feet onto the brakes and swerved for the middle lane. There was a flash of images and sounds; tires squealing, the song on the radio, her own breathless cry, the sickening feeling of her Honda Civic going up on two wheels and then settling back down again.

Fear soured the taste of her spit, she forced herself to relax her grip on the wheel and put the car in park. Another moment passed before Isobel realized she'd been holding her breath; she let the bad air out in a long nasal sigh only to have it catch in her throat again.

He staggered up to her car, the headlights underlit his features. At first all she could focus on was the whites of his eyes. “Please help me,” he looked crazed, his clothes were caked with mud and sweat.

What do I do now? With a flick of a switch she locked the car's automatic doors- just in case. Then Isobel put on her hazard lights, for her safety and his. She cursed herself for leaving her cell phone at home. Hadn’t she gotten it for emergencies? Wasn't this an emergency? What do I do now?

Stay in your car. Drive away. That's what you do.

"Please!" He was hammering on her window now, each blow leaving dark handprints that she prayed was mud.

Actually, I was never all that promising.

She scanned the blackness behind her for any signs of oncoming traffic. It was all clear, unnervingly so in fact.

What am I going to do?

Isobel looked back to him now, really looking at him. This was no escaped lunatic, or fugitive in prison orange. He was her height with ruddy features and a ragged looking red- blonde hair. He didn't look the least bit threatening, only desperate and afraid.

"Where is your car?" she asked. "Are you hurt?"

"I need to get out of here. Please! I'm in trouble."

"What kind of trouble?"

"There's no time. We have to go now before they find us."


The voice of reason started howling as she unlocked the passenger side door. He got in, locked the door and shuddered with relief. "Thank you."

"Where are you going?"

"Anywhere. Just anywhere."

Shrugging Isobel put the car in drive and glanced into the rearview mirror.

Two pale figures stared back at her. One of them smashed her hand through the back windshield with impossible ease.

The stranger was screaming in her ear "Go! Go now!"

The speedometer flew up to seventy. The Honda Civic sped away with a squeal of its tires...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I killed my web page!

But I promise you that is not dead, merely dreaming.

Thank you for your patience.

5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Thirty Four

Very few ax murderers can succeed as corporate supervisors but those that do have teams with the highest productivity levels.

5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Thirty Three

With Captain Hero gone there was nothing to stop Psychotic Kid from doing things his way, so the rest of the team hid his costume.

5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Thirty Two

They caught pneumonia making love in the rain but they would tell you it wasn't phlegm they were coughing up. It was desire.

5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Thirty One

He worked as a cliff diver, bear wrestler and stunt driver; anything to avoid working in a call center.

5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Thirty

They tried to cure is impotence with a computerized implant but the firmware failed.

5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Twenty Nine

It was the fifteenth annual time travelers convention, tomorrow was the sixteenth annual time travelers convention.

5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Twenty Eight

“I have no patience with computers,” Isobel said, “you stare too long into an operating system and it stares into you.”

5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Twenty Seven

That night he dreamed of kissing an old girlfriend, coincidentally his wife dreamed she was plucking fuzzy peaches from a tree.

5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Twenty Six

The aliens replaced all the world's leaders with idiot look-a-likes; things actually improved.

5 Second Fiction Six Hundred and Twenty Five

Keeping a diary was boring so she began writing fan fiction about herself, from these humble beginnings a major religion was born.

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis chapter thirty seven

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis

Chapter Thirty Seven


Saturday November 16th 1996

There had been so many stories on this night that Isobel had decided to try her hand at one. It wasn’t much of a story but everyone left at the table looked interested and laughed at all the right parts. “I’m still not sure how we did it but Debbie and I had managed to come out about a mile from where Brenda had parked, in a spot where the local police liked to sit and wait for speeders,” she blushed at the memory, “I’m sure the sight of eighteen year old girls in party dresses blundering out of the cemetery was the high point of their evening. “

“What about Brenda?” Galen asked, “did she get caught?”

“No.” Isobel poured herself a little more wine, “We didn’t get her in trouble, even though the cops called our parents to come get us. It was so embarrassing. Of course I had her car keys so I think it all came out even.”

“Ouch,” Jack laughed.

Roxanne asked, “How short was that skirt you were wearing?”

“It was too short,” Isobel replied. The food had made her stomach feel three sizes too small, the wine made her head feel three times to big, “And that’s as much detail I will go into with gentlemen present.”

The candles were going out one by one, the fading light making the room seem to grow smaller and smaller. Isobel didn’t envy the person that had to clean up after all this. She vowed to help with the dishes, when she woke up.

Magwier looked up from swirling the last dregs of wine and ash in his glass around and around, “I quite liked the story Isobel. I have a lot of fond memories of Oakwood Cemetery.”

“Only you would have fond memories of a graveyard.” Zeth said.

Bodivar shook his head, “Not so. The place where my wife is buried is a beautiful meadow with a single tree growing in the center. Before I came to be here I would go there on Sundays with a book and a bit of wine and wile away the morning with her memory.”

“That’s sweet,” Isobel said, then she stifled a belch. “Oh excuse me.”

“Compliments to the chef.”

“Can we get back the Monarchs?” Warren asked. “Nothing I’ve heard or seen from any of about them is making any sense. I want to know more.”

Magwier was the first to speak, “They are creatures that exist in realms beyond reality. Do you believe that?”

Warren nodded, “I do now.”

“Well Monarchs come from far beyond those realms.”

“Holy shit.” Warren said, and then frowned, “Waitaminute. That still doesn’t explain anything.”

Now Zeth had a turn, “The Monarchs creatures born of a single thought, the urge to consume and in their hunger they transform worlds into dust.”

“They’re existential tapeworms,” Roxanne said as she examined her red-painted nails.

Jack laughed a little at that, “A single parasite with a thousand minds or a thousand parasites with a single purpose.”

“They exist outside the worlds of mystery and science,” Hao said. “They take what they want.”

Bodivar crossed his arms, “They make promises and profits with equal ease. They own a company that makes medical equipment.”

“They’re monsters,” Galen said. “They drove the dark gods to the secret places of the world, broke the Great Council of Mystagogues in half, all but exterminated my people and killed my family.”

Isobel took his hand in hers, “I’m sorry.”

The cigars and wine were almost spent. “So waitaminute-” Warren’s head was almost level with the table, he looked like he was melting, “if the Monarchs are robots…”

“They’re not robots,” Magwier turned his attention to one of the spoons and set about trying to get it to dangle from his nose.

“But they’re like robots but gooier. Does that mean they’re androids?”

“No those things you saw were alive,” Galen said. “They shouldn’t be but they are. They just wear their bodies like clothes.”

“They’re like crabs,” Bodivar explained, “they take one shell then another as they grow bigger.”

Warren looked around the table, “Then why don’t we just kill them? Take them out of their shells and kill them? If it’s a war we could teach soldiers to fight them.”

Magwier frowned, the spoon clattered to the table, “How do you kill something that isn’t alive in the conventional sense? How do you kill something that only dreams its way here?”

“I dunno. Wake them up?”

Zeth laughed a little, “The chances of humanity saving the world are roughly equal to the chances of your fingers growing back.”

“Dude!” Warren said. “Fuck you.”

“That was a little cold,” Galen said.

“It’s a cold world,” Zeth paused to inhale, the stub of his cigar glowed pale orange. “I make no excuses.”

What a dick. Isobel thought. There was something about Zeth that made her think he had sized the residents of Laurel House up and found them wanting. Isobel wanted to punch him in the face for what he had said to her brother but Zeth looked like he was the kind of man would hit back and enjoy it, regardless of gender. Beside the remark had made Hao all the more snuggly with her brother, that couldn’t be a bad thing.

“All right I’ve think we’ve had enough for one night,” Hao said with a glare. She pulled Warren to his feet, “Come on you don’t need this.”

Warren lurched after her, “Fine. Good night sis, everyone.”

“Good night.” Isobel said.

“But wait …wait....” he turned back and pointed at Zeth, “...I got one thing to say to you.”

“Oh God.” Isobel’s voice was a stage whisper.

“Your mother!” Warren jabbed a remaining finger at Zeth, “Your motherfucking mother motherfucker.”

Hao pulled him out of the room, “All right lets go.”

“Actually,” Jack watched them go, “maybe we should all call it a night.”

“A night?” Bodivar said, “It is almost a morning.”

“We could call it a day,” Magwier suggested. “Just don’t call me late for the apocalypse.”

Galen stood, nearly toppling his chair. He offered Isobel his arm, “May I walk you back to your room?”

She smiled, “I thought you’d never ask.”

Roxanne waited until they were gone before she got up, “Ah to be young and in love.”

“Were we ever that young?” Jack polished off one last glass of wine before joining her. “Good night everyone.”

Hand in hand they left the through the servant’s entrance, Jason Magwier leapt to his feet with a theatrical flourish, “Everyone is paring off to cling to each other against the cold cold dawn.”

“Speak for yourself,” Zeth said.

“I was planning on walking the grounds,” Magwier said, “perhaps you could join us Bodivar. We three bachelors can watch the sun rise.”

Bodivar shook his head, “I think I will stay here and watch the fire for a time.”

“All right,” Magwier grabbed a half empty bottle of wine and a half finished cigar as he headed out for the vestibule, “come along Zeth, I feel a poem coming on.”

Zeth followed, “Anything but that.”

When he was alone Bodivar grabbed the poker again and turned his attention back to stirring the ashes. That done he sat down on the floor before the fireplace resting his head against one of the chairs. His eyes glistened. He pulled a brooch from his pocket. He turned it end over end in his fingers.

This was all he had left of Penelope now; a cheap little bauble he had bought for her, a crude little trinket that had caught her eye. It was about the size of robin’s egg, made from green polished stone and ringed with a bit of cheap gold. Bodivar wished he could remember when he had bought it for her. Had it been in the summer? The spring? Surely not the fall.

That was the tragedy of being long lived, your memories became muddled. He understood now that in the end a short life was a merry one.

There was a half-emptied bottle of wine within easy reach, he took it down and began to drain it in long contemplative gulps. His wife had been so caring; she was the kind of woman that would leave flowers on a stranger’s long neglected grave.

While it was true their marriage had been an arranged one he and Penelope had been smitten with each other from the start. Their union had joined two great families; hers a noble if mundane bloodline and his a family of well know scholars and mystics.

Those days had been so full of promise, the promise of children and fame. Within a year of their honeymoon his treatise on the Shard Worlds had earned him an invitation to study in far flung Woldercan.

The fire was dwindling but Bodivar was content to let it do so, it suited his mood.

The house that love built. He had to laugh at that, Jack could fill this place with all the romance and refugees he wanted but it couldn’t warm the cold radiating from its foundations.

Penelope would have hated it here.

She hadn’t liked Woldercan much either; the streets were too crowded the buildings too tall. No matter the season the air was always warm and sour smelling. Every day she stayed locked in their house with the windows shut tight, the servants said she never smiled until he came home.

Bodivar had promised her vacations to the country that he never got around to, he promised her a houseful of children but he was barely home sometimes for weeks at a time. He was too busy pursing knowledge and accolades.

It wasn’t until after Woldercan had been razed to the ground that Bodivar understood his foolishness. Even now almost a hundred years later he cursed himself for being away. Could he have saved her from the Monarchs? His grip tightened around the brooch added fresh blood to the dried flakes clinging to the gilded edges.

He didn’t know, he could never know but he would sell his soul just to have had the chance to try.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Shill? You're soaking in it!

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.

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.

In The Pit

This is the comic book I wrote, that sadly it never made it past the first issue. Too bad I had envisioned a fantastic tale of serial killers, Canadian pro wrestlers and exploding toilets. Still though I think you might enjoying reading the first issue, it is still available as a PDF file. There are also some preview pages at the sight below.

Order away and weep for what might have been.

Some of my best work is available from the fine folks at Eden Studios. My contribution to their game lines has been mainly in the area of fiction. The rules and setting information was written by other very capable folks like Richard Dakan, CJ Carella, Jack Emmert, George Vasilakos and M. Alexander Jurkat. Believe me, they did all the hard work. If you are a fan of role-playing games or a fan of zombie movies then the books below are going to be right up your alley.


Enter the dark world of survival horror. The Dead walk among us. This role-playing game allows you to play in a world infested by the walking dead. The main rulebook includes rules for character creation, combat and everything else you need to play in a world of survival horror. Also detailed are the multiple campaign settings so you can customize the type of "deadworld" you wish to explore.232 pages.Hardcover.Cover Art by Christopher Shy.

Click here for ordering information


A must-have reference for All Flesh Must Be Eaten, the Zombie Master's Screen is filled with charts and tables. From fear to weapons to outcomes, every reference that a prepared Zombie Master needs is packed onto a four-panel screen. The flip side of the screen scares and delights the players with full-color zombie images.
The Screen is packed with a 48-page booklet, including a ready-to-run adventure introducing the Cast Member to the horrors of a zombie plague, and pregenerated characters with complete bios, statistics and resource information.
Cover Art by Christopher Shy and George Vasilakos.

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Written by Richard DakanThe first supplement to All Flesh Must Be Eaten opens whole new vistas for a walking dead campaign. This tome brings together the thrills of Hong Kong action films and the excitement of flesh-craving horror. The match of these two genres may not have seemed obvious at first, but the pleasures that arise from it are undeniable. After all, zombies and Hong Kong style action make a perfect fit. What better match is there for a relentless series of lightning kicks and a hurricane of bullets than a target that can’t die? The pulse-pounding danger just never stops. Besides, what martial arts master worth his salt doesn't ache for the ability to use his own intestines as a deadly whip? For the undead, no problem!Softcover.Cover Art by Christopher Shy.

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Written by Al Bruno III, CJ Carella, David F. Chapman, Patrick SweenyBased on the original concept by George Vasilakos and Ross IsaacsEdited by M. Alexander Jurkat, David F. ChapmanCover art by Jeff ReitzInterior Art by Storn Cook, Thomas Denmark, Talon Dunning, DW Gross, Jon Hodgson, Chris Keefe, Jason Millet, Matt Morrow, James Powers, Gregory Price, George Vasilakos
From the creators of All Flesh Must Be Eaten, similar in style but this time . . . with apes! Terra Primate has no specific setting. The only constant is the concept of intelligent apes. Planet of the Apes is a movie about intelligent apes, but then again so is Congo. As long as the characters are interacting with intelligent apes -- or are intelligent apes themselves! -- the game could be set in the pulp era of adventure, on a post-apocalyptic Earth, on a faraway alien planet, or downtown on Main Street.
The main rulebook includes rules for character creation, combat and everything else you need to play in a world where man is the missing link! Also detailed are the multiple campaign settings so you can customize the type of "Apeworld" you wish to explore.

Click here for ordering information