Saturday, January 23, 2010

"Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”

While I watched and enjoyed Conan O'Brien's work over the years I never became a fan of him until tonight. He dealt with his situation with a lot more dignity and humor than I would have managed. Hell I'm still bitching about the fact I failed 9th Grade.

So from now on, no matter where Mr. O'Brien's career takes him...

Friday, January 22, 2010

5 Second Fiction Eight Hundred and Forty Eight

When death comes for you,” the fortune teller warned, “its breath will be minty fresh.”

5 Second Fiction Eight Hundred and Forty Seven

He was into the whole getting tied up thing until she started setting his leg hairs on fire. Actually he was still pretty into it.

5 Second Fiction Eight Hundred and Forty Six

“Look,” Judy said, “I'm not here because of a silly legacy or scholarship. I'm here because my mom is screwing the Dean!”

5 Second Fiction Eight Hundred and Forty Five

Glam rocker/superhero Roy Ramses didn't have a secret identity but he was terrified of being seen without eyeliner.

5 Second Fiction Eight Hundred and Forty Four

“To see the flaws in the capitalism go to a shopping mall, to see the breakdown of the social contract visit the restrooms.”

(Recommended Reads) "A Bat For Mr. Roxby" by Karen Schindler

Through the open window the screams were as loud as if they were on the tv two feet away. He had to imagine that the screams were coming from some fictional place like the tv or the radio or he'd go mad. He pointed the remote at the screen and increased the volume to max…. that's how most tenants dealt with the screams on hot nights. ..

click here to continue

5 Second Fiction Eight Hundred and Forty Three

Pam worked exclusively from the spell-book she had bought in El Paso. All her hexes came from Texas.

(Recommended Reads) "Combustion" By Lily Mulholland

Jo was awake before her eyes opened. She could hear a low hum but couldn’t identify its source. The dandelion hairs on her tummy were dancing to a gentle breeze; she was stark naked. Without moving, Jo understood she was strapped down to some kind of bench. Metal, she thought, judging from the way it cradled her body; cold, like a mortician’s slab...

click here to read part one of this series

click here to read the rest of "Combustion"

5 Second Fiction Eight Hundred and Forty Two

Captain Eagle of the Space Patrol found himself at a moral crossroads, so he blew up both planets.

Paracinema...The Blog: Student Confidential

Paracinema...The Blog: Student Confidential

Oh no! I had forgotten about this movie!

(Recommended Reads) " Falling Star" by Olivia Tejeda

Diego Bendigas tries squeezing his way through the tourists packed onto the terrace waiting for the cliff divers. “Con permiso,” he says courteously, “Con permiso,” but no one moves. It is not until they see his dark brown body covered only with a tiny blue swimsuit, that they realize he is one of the divers, and in awe, they make way as if he’s a movie star...

click here to read the rest

5 Second Fiction Eight Hundred and Forty One

Professor Lindquist had long searched for a way to combine laptops and sea life, then he invented the wireless cod.

(Recommended Reads) "Time's Faux Pas" by Laura Eno

Chronos looked over to see if his companion heard him. Death sat in a recliner, flicking peanuts from a spoon and catching them in his eye sockets...

click here to read the rest

5 Second Fiction Eight Hundred and Forty

As if his self esteem wasn't bad enough he had recently joined Facebook- the high school reunion that never ends.

And now... a shill...

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.

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. Click here for ordering information
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. Click here for ordering information
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

MY SUPA LIFE goes for a joke I might not have! (oh who are we kidding here... of course I would have!)

Click here to read more

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Nick Of Time (and other abrasions): Audra DiMico And The Curse Of The Cartwrights

The Nick Of Time (and other abrasions)

Audra DiMico And The Curse Of The Cartwrights
Al Bruno III

They huddled together, hiding from the men with guns, but Audra wasn't afraid; while the city of Olathoe was filled with men with guns, it also had no shortage of places to hide.

They were holed up in a long abandoned brewery, the floor was littered with glass smashed bottles and faded pamphlets. It was good enough for now but she had to get back to her dormitory.

She glanced at the boy huddled nearby, his name was Iphot and he was beautiful. He looked her age if not a little younger. His milk white eyes and Chinese features combined to create a fragile beauty.

Just looking at him made her feel frumpy, her dark hair was a tangled mess, her dress was stained and torn. A lot of men found Audra pretty but for all her bravado she rarely agreed with them. Of course it was hard to stay fresh as a daisy when you were on the run.

“Audra,” his voice was like music, “where are we?”

“An old hideout, a temporary base of operations for whores and revolutionaries. ” she said, “and at least the whores had the courage of their convictions.”

“I was to be a something worse than a whore. They taught me secrets, I begged them not to.”

“Well not now,” she scrabbled over to him and took his hand. He started at the sudden motion and Audra cursed herself for forgetting he had been chemically blinded. As far the Kuen-Yuin were concerned their handsome new plaything didn't need eyes to preform his duties. “Come on. Let's get moving. I think it should be all clear.”

The streets of Beecker Street were back to normal, the prostitutes were back to plying their trade and the subversives were back to murmuring in the coffee shops. “I smell food,” Iphot whispered.

Audra hushed him, “Hold your breath now, long as you can.” She whispered a minor incantation, something to make them less noticeable. It was better to be safe than sorry, especially when dealing with the likes of Jack Diamond.

“You're trembling.”


How could she not shudder at the very thought of Jack Diamond. It wasn't too long ago that she had almost made her into a plaything of his very own. She had been saved by an Outlander, a hapless man named Matthew. She had fallen in love with him but he had been lost to her, lost to her by the Curse of the Cartwrights.

They made it all the way to the next street before Audra had to take a breath, the incantation fell away but she knew that if they could just reach Haruspex Boulevard they'd be home free.

A voice called from a nearby car, “There she is!”

“Sonofabitch!” Audra grabbed Iphot’s hand and started running. There was never a damn Sentry around when you needed one. Footsteps clattered after them, the sound of expensive shoes on asphalt.

Was this to be her lot in life? Putting everything on the line for one lost soul or another? She could almost live with that if once, just once, she won out.

Audra called it ‘The Curse of the Cartwrights’ in honor of her father’s favorite TV show, a western called
Bonanza. The men of the Cartwright clan were gold old fashioned cowboys but they had the worst luck in the world when it came to love. If one of them fell in love within the first fifteen minutes you knew that by the end of the episode they would waving a sad goodbye or standing be standing over a grave.

It was just like her life, ever since grade school; each time she fell in love she was robbed by death, dismemberment or circumstance.

Up a fire escape and down a flight of condemned stairs, through an alley and over a loading dock; she ran, dragging him after her.

Soon enough they had found somewhere else to hide, a darkened brownstone that had been half burned away in one riot or another. The air was thick with ghosts, Audra inhaled deeply.

“You should have left me,” he still had hold of her hand, he wouldn’t let go.

She smiled, “I couldn’t do that, not after what they did.”

“Why were you even there?” Iphot asked, “Were you a guest?”

“Fuck no! Let’s just say I was up to no good.”

“I wish...” he paused, “I wish I could have seen your face.”

“Oh hey now,” she gave him a little hug. That hug led to a kiss and suddenly they were undressing each other, laying their castoff clothes down on the scorched floor. His touch fluttered over her skin. By the time she realized he was a eunuch she was too aroused to even care or comment and his cock was as rigid as any other boy she had been with.

When it was over they dressed quietly, Audra didn't know what to say, she never did at moments like this.

Iphot stepped towards the doorway. He whispered “They’re here.”

“What?” Audra said but her hands were already making preparations for one of the deadlier incantations she knew. As long as there were no more than three of them they were still going to make it.

“I can hear their footsteps coming up the stairs,” he turned his head in her direction. “They’ll never stop, not when I know what they need.”

“I know another way out,” Audra shook her head, “I won’t let them hurt you.”

“No,” he said, “I won’t let them hurt you. Thank you for trying.”

“What are you-”

Iphot ran out of the doorway screaming like a madman, one of the Kuen-Yuin shouted in alarm and fired. As the stairwell filled with curses and recriminations Audra slipped out of the building and headed home. Her clothes smelled like old smoke and sweat, she only kept herself from crying by whistling the theme to her father’s favorite TV show.

DOCTOR WHO WINS AWARDS! (as it damn well should)

Thanks to Planet Gallifrey for showing me this.

Doctor Who and David Tennant win NTAs.

5 Second Fiction Eight Hundred and Thirty Nine

Years later Kenny truly came to understand how much he had loved Gamera. It was turtle eclipse of the heart.

Day Of The Woman: WOMAN OF THE WEEK: Hazel Court

Day Of The Woman: WOMAN OF THE WEEK: Hazel Court

Quoth the Raven, whatta babe!

(And that goes for the actress AND the blogger...)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

(INSANE NEWS) 'Terror-pisser' killed neighbour's garden with night-time golden showers

'Terror-pisser' killed neighbour's garden with night-time golden showers

A couple in Hamburg have finally got to the bottom of why the plants in their front garden keep turning brown and dying – their neighbour has been urinating on them at night...

click here to read the rest

link found on one of my favorite sites...

Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies: The Manitou (1978): or, Native-American Exorcist is a Pain the Neck

Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies: The Manitou (1978): or, Native-American Exorcist is a Pain the Neck

I can't get enough of these guys...


I don't know how it happened but apparently someone took every CALL OF CTHULHU game I ever ran or played in and turned it into a movie.

Thank you TWITCHFILM for making me remember the pain all over again...

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis chapter forty seven

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis

Chapter Forty Seven



The chamber was long and wide, it was all clean angles and gleaming surfaces. Men and women in pale lab coats were bent over workbenches that were crowded with simple-looking prosthetics and complex tangles of flesh. They worked by the half light coming from the far side of the chamber where the translucent wall revealed an expanse of thick azure fluid.

No one spoke or looked up from their work as Piers Sauno and Helen Ginnmett stepped off the elevator.

“Ah,” A grinning man approached them, “feeling better now that you’re changed?”

Piers gave him a curt nod, “Mr. Grant.”

“When are you going to start calling me Alan?”

Their footsteps echoed off the floor, as they wove their way between the tables and work benches. The lights in the room brightened as they walked, bright white illumination reflecting off every polished surface. None of the people hard at work reacted to any of it.

Ms. Ginnmett ran her hands experimentally over her chest, “They feel softer, are we using new materials?”

“Upgrading in the field,” Alan Grant said. “And I figured you might enjoy them considering your recent setback.”

“What is that supposed to mean?” Mr. Sauno’s frown became a scowl, “I doubt you could have done much better.”

“Oh Piers.” Helen Ginnmett said, “he didn’t mean anything. Everyone knows we did our best.”

“I am not going to lose my station over some damned Vlodek and a pair of clueless nobodies.”

Mr. Grant shook his head, “This is why I decided to transfer to research and development, less stressful and closer to home.”

Dark, boneless shapes began to cluster in front of the glass wall, Helen Ginnmett approached them and began waving and cooing. “They grow so fast don’t they?”

Piers Sauno had turned his attention to one of the workbenches, he snatched a tiny processor from the woman working with it, “Is this what I think it is?”

“Oh yes,” Alan Grant smiled. “A visual cortical implant, when implemented it could restore lost eyesight.”

“And we’ll see whatever they see. When will it be ready for implementation?”

“Well, you can’t rush these things. Hopefully three hundred and fifteen million, six hundred thousand and two hundred basic intervals.”

“Hurry up and wait,” Ms. Ginnmett took the processor from her partner. “Isn’t that always the way?”

Mr. Sauno started walking again, there was a large vault door at the end of the room, “Enough of this. Is she ready?”

“Fully processed.”

“Then lets get her.”

Alan Grant and Helen Ginnmett exchanged glances, then all three of them headed inside the vault.

The air was colder here, human shapes- naked, empty eyed and shrouded in plastic- stood even rows. One of the shapes was unwrapped and held up by a thick, metallic hose suspended from the ceiling.

Ms. Ginnmett and Mr. Sauno stood a respectful distance away, Alan Grant began unfastening the body from the hose. A series of hisses and clicks followed each movement of his hands.

“I’m surprised this isn’t all automated yet.” Piers Sauno’s voice had an edge of impatience.

Mr. Grant smiled at him, “It will be someday but for now I prefer this. A visceral experience for a visceral world.”

With the last latch unfastened from the metallic hose the body slipped free into a standing position. The torso of her Mark Thirty-Five Dissimulation Interface Unit was still splayed open revealing a complex network of ceramic plating and clear tubing. It slowly drew to a close until the artificial flesh was unblemished and seamless.

“I have to admit,” Alan Grant said, “I don’t understand why you had this one sent to the head of the line.”

“I know a malleable soul when I see one,” Piers inspected the naked, statue-still figure before him; the feminine curves and dark eyes.

“Plus she was Isobel Talbot’s best friend,” Helen Ginnmett added.

“This isn’t about revenge, pleasurable as that might be.”

“Then why?” Alan Grant asked, “I have about a dozen or so candidates waiting out there.”

Mr. Sauno paced in front of the figure, every aspect of the original shape was there, just improved and polished; even the flaws had been made beautiful. “Think of it, she followed her friend into this madness when others might would have turned away or just called the authorities. She didn’t just sacrifice herself for her friend, she sacrificed herself to us. She was meant for this.”

“You can take the man out of theology,” Ms. Ginnmett patted his shoulder, “but you can’t take the theology out of the man.”

He gave her a little smile, “If you say so.”

Alan Grant said, “She’s waking up.”

The three of them watched the body begin to breathe. Fingers fluttered experimentally. “So...” a dry tongue clicked, “ small. Almost blind.”

Ms. Ginnmett shouldered out of her coat and wrapped it over the naked form, “Take it slowly dear. We're all a little claustrophobic at first.”

“I remember you,” she wasn't cold but she drew the coat in tight around herself, shivering out of habit and protocol. “Even my memories are small.”

Mr. Grant put his hands in his pockets, “What are your memories? What is your degree of integration?”

She glared at him, “I remember breaching the Maelstrom, feeding on what you left behind. The Shard Worlds glittering around me and the dreams...”

“Anything else?”

“I... I also know how to give a perm.”

Mr. Sauno put a hand on her shoulder, “Welcome to your new life Cheryl.”

Miss. McGlade smiled at them.

Monday, January 18, 2010

(Recommended Reads) " Doomed" by Ganymeder

He posted his latest tweet as he heard the villagers pounding outside the gate to his crypt. Thankfully he could read the Twitter app well enough since his cell phone was backlit. The darkness of his coffin was comforting, but he wasn’t fooled. Soon the mob would break inside, discover his hiding place, and he would be doomed...

click here to read the rest

5 Second Fiction Eight Hundred and Thirty Eight

One man creates all of the sleazy sexual metaphors used by the porn industry, his name is Craven Moorehead.

5 Second Fiction Eight Hundred and Thirty Seven

Cyborg superhero Rusty Johnson's greatest technical challenge was installing a cloaking device on his monster truck.

5 Second Fiction Eight Hundred and Thirty Six

Lorelei Miller had faced vampires, zombies and ghosts from the future but she wasn't sure if the was ready to attend a frat party.

5 Second Fiction Eight Hundred and Thirty Five

Every day Magic Marvin visited the Kingdom of Make Believe and Adventure, at least until the hospital staff made him take his meds.

5 Second Fiction Eight Hundred and Thirty Four

“No more asking me to make sheep noises in bed,” Yasmine warned her husband. “This means ewe.”

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I No Longer Fear Hell for I Have Been To the Senior Prom part two

Price Breaks and Heartaches

a journal of retail and failed romance


I No Longer Fear Hell for I Have Been To the Senior Prom

part two

(When we last left this almost true story I and my last minute date to the Senior Prom had just sat down to our Prom Dinner...)

They were all there: The Giggling Thug, The Future Gas Station Attendant, The Muttonhead and The Frat Boy Trainee. Their dates all had strapless gowns and huge hair, but hey it was the 80's.

I remember I mumbled "Hello." Then and my date and I took our places at the table.

"Do we know you?" The Muttonhead asked.

"Uh sure. We're in gym class together."

The Muttonhead shook his head "No I don't remember you."

"Come on! You brutalize me up every Tuesday. Are you saying those beatings mean nothing to you?"

Apparently they could only recognize me when I was cowering in fear or curled up into the fetal position.

"Hey I know you!" The Frat Boy In Training said with a snap of his fingers, "You're that gay-looking kid!"

Everyone laughed at that, except me of course. I was too busy considering the irony of the guy holding the all-time school record for pantsing nerds questioning my sexuality.

The Future Gas Station Attendant asked "Aren't you that kid that got booed off the stage during the talent show?"

"Actually I was dragged from the stage," I replied, "and aren't you the lead singer in the rock band that forgot the words to 'Stairway To Heaven' during the same show?"

“Yeah well, it’s a hard song.”

Well I may as well get this whole talent show thing out of the way right now. Every year the high school had a talent show and even though I loathed many of my fellow students I volunteered place my dignity on the line so I could entertain them. Why would I do such a thing? Well, Lilly was in the talent show too.

Of course by then she and I hadn’t been going out for almost a year but I still wanted to be close to her so I just kind of made excuses to be where she was. Please remember they didn’t really consider it stalking back then, just being persistent. The talent show had a little bit of everything in it; rock music, dancing, singing, a few magic tricks, there was even an unscheduled fire drill. I did some of my stand up routine and the less said about it the better; I’d rather remember the near fistfight my brother and I got into during my great grandmother’s funeral than I would about those seven minutes of comedy Hell.

What of Lilly? She did a song an 80’s classic and from that night on the song ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’. In my mind Lilly and that song are forever intertwined and whenever I hear it, be it the original version or one of the many cover tunes that seem to have popped up recently, I remember. In the memory I am standing off to one side of the stage watching her perform and wishing that she was singing that song for me and me alone.

Sorry, that was the wrong flashback wasn’t it? Let’s get back to the prom shall we?

Two-thirds of the way through our undercooked meal the band started to play. I don’t remember the name of the bad but I will always remember their talent to find the single sliver of soul nesting in the heart of the most banal of 80's pop tunes and kill it dead.

Couples slowly began to filter out onto the dance floor. First there was Joanna and her simp of a boyfriend-my eyes started rolling involuntarily at the very sight of her. Adrian and his date started grooving to an uneven version of 'Sunglasses At Night'. I didn't recognize Adrian’s date and would later find out that he had met her through an escort service. I hope she had a good time that night because the check Adrian paid her with bounced when she tried to cash it. There was no sign of Velma or Kevin K. Hanson anywhere.

And there was Lilly dancing with her date Orville.

Orville, what can I say about him? Well, we worked together at the local supermarket and everyone that knew him thought he was great- except for me of course. That's about it really. Oh yes and he had this disturbing habit of grabbing my ass whenever he caught me alone at work. Talk about mixed signals.

And with Lilly on this night of nights, Lill
y the girl I had spent the last four years mentally undressing and then mentally redressing in the outfits Romana had worn during Doctor Who's 17th season.

Oh the agonies of being a geek in puberty.

I took Agnes by the hand and led her to the dance floor; her fingers were still greasy with burnt poultry. The band had brought things down tempo a bit with a strange warbling reinterpretation of Berlin's 'Take My Breath Away'. We had a nice slow dance, but I started to notice that my date's attention was elsewhere. She was checking out The Giggling Thug while I was dancing with her! I tried to be rational about it. After all hadn't I just been mooning over someone else? Besides, maybe she was just taken with the way he had worn work boots with his tux.

Kevin K. Hanson showed up again. His sister had been worried about where he’d been. I would later find out that he had excused himself to go to the restroom and gotten lost coming back. He spent almost a half an hour in a nearby room at an AMWAY seminar before he realized he'd made a mistake. Joanna insisted I dance with her at least once, so I did-but I was annoyed the entire time. Corey was still searching for his date, but sadly Velma had vanished. Corey was murderously angry, which was kind of ironic because after she had been missing a week the police would be asking him if he'd murdered her.

Don't worry about Corey though, further investigation would reveal she had hooked up with one of the AMWAY distributors and run off.

Somewhere between 'Danger Zone' and 'Hip To Be Square' I excused myself to use the bathroom. On the way back I noticed that Adrian had found a way into the kitchens of the Marriott and had stuffed three bottles of expensive Champagne into his tux. He asked me if I wanted to help him with his little scheme but I decided against it. The last dance of the night was fast approaching, where they would play the Prom's theme for a last romantic slow dance.

I got there just in time but Agnes wasn't waiting for me at our table. She was already out on the dance floor.

With the Giggling Thug...

(Recommended Reads) " Willpower" by Lily Mulholland

Sarah had saved the new skin for a special occasion, growing it with the obsessive care of an orchidist. Determined to keep it blemish free, she had kept her left arm encased in cotton for the past two weeks. She wanted nothing to spoil its pearlescent purity...

click here to continue

(Recommended Reads) "The Bubble" by Jessica Rosen

She never wore much make-up before him. Now she had to layer it on to hide how much he loved her from the rest of the world...

click here to read the rest

(Recommended Reads) "The Right Thing To Say" by CJ Hodges MacFarlane

Her friend pulled the truck up to the doors of the hotel. She glanced over at him and said, “Thanks for the ride.” Not bothering to acknowledge his hurt look at the brief comment, she got out, shut the door and walked through the double glass doors and into the hotel lobby. To her right she saw her mother, father and friends, some already standing, waiting for her to join them. The look on every face was of raw concern, whether smiling through it or just frozen in place, like so many deer in the headlights. She couldn’t deal with them right now – she needed to be alone...

click here to read the rest

(Recommended Article) "Gods, Monsters, and Ernest Thesiger" by Frankensteinia

Ernest Thesiger was born on January 15, in 1879. His family was a storied one, with barons, war heroes and a famous explorer among his ancestors. As a young man, Thesiger worked or socialized with some of the great British artists, among them George Bernard Shaw, Somerset Maugham and Noel Coward. The famous American-born painter John Singer Sargent, the leading portrait painter of his era, captured a smiling 32-year old Thesiger in a charcoal sketch in 1911...

click here to read the rest

(Recommended Reads) "Homecoming" by Peggy McFarland

"Where to?"

"Forty-two Trenton Street."

The rearview mirror revealed his raised eyebrows under the ball cap's brim. Teri ignored his look, reached for the door handle. Static shocked her fingertips. Stale sweat and old fried onions assaulted her nose. The meter's click jolted her. She shut her door. It had been a long time since she'd ridden in a cab. In any vehicle.

click here to read the rest

(Recommended Reads) "Nature/Nurture" by Maria Protopapadaki-Smith

“Daddy, I broke my stick. Can I have another one?” Tessie asked, ponytail swinging as she hopped from one foot to another to emphasise her need for a new stick. She knew he wouldn’t refuse her, but the action earned her an even bigger smile...

click here to continue