Fairy

As Zack Kullis shows us in his horror tale, ‘Fairy, you can only push someone so far before they eventually snap. The real question is, was it worth it? I’d say not after reading this deviously revengeful tale spun by Mr. Kullis! Please, enjoy…

Pen of the Damned

The deafening volume in the hallway was cut short by yet another scene of ruthlessness.

Terri was pulling a math book out of the bottom of his locker when something heavy crashed into him, driving his head into the corner of the metal enclosure.  The pain ringing in his ears briefly consumed him as he collapsed to the tile floor.  Not again, he pleaded inwardly as he pressed a shaky hand against his forehead to stem the flow of blood.

Regardless of the countless times something similar had happened, he was yet again flooded with humiliation, anger, and a desire to disappear; it was overwhelming.  He bowed his head and turned to the side as he bit his lip in a useless attempt to hold back tears that only served to incite his tormentor.

Nothing halted the insane volume of background noise that filled a school like the promise…

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Scampi

A beautifully lyrical tale of horror by Thomas Brown – ‘Scampi’

Pen of the Damned

“Is this love real?” she asks.

Sitting on a bench near the other end of the room, her words are unmistakable, magnified by the reverence and strange acoustics of the museum. He turns from the glass case filled with the desiccated husks of seahorses to look at her. Her hair is down, her glasses bright. She’s wearing the coat he bought her last winter. It’s not quite winter yet but the evenings are getting cooler. It is evening now. At least, it must be. They’ve been in here for a hundred years already, it seems.

“Obviously,” he replies. “Duh. I’m afraid you’re stuck with me.”

At the sound of his voice, she looks up. “Not you, silly.” She raises the paper cup to her mouth and sips. “Arabica. Instant pick-me-up.”

“I’m an instant pick-you-up.”

“You’re fast, I’ll give you that.”

“Hey.”

With a lingering glance at the contents of…

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Big Announcement -New Deal With Sinister Grin Press!

News from a fellow member at Pen of the Damned! I don’t think there’s a book this gentleman has had published so far that I haven’t read and fully enjoyed. Hunter Shea joins the Sinister Grin Press family with the mystery/paranormal/horror novel ‘We are Always Watching’.

Hunter Shea

I’m so happy to let the world know that I’ve joined the Sinister Grin Press family. My first novel with Sinister Grin,WE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING, will come out as a limited edition hardcover, followed by ebook and trade paperback in early, 2017. For those that remember, I started writing this book last fall for my editor Don D’Auria and Samhain. We all know how things went there. I couldn’t have found a better publisher to take on this unsettling mystery on a remote Pennsylvania farm.

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Here’s the official press release. I’ll share cover art and more as we get closer to the big date.

Hunter Shea Signs Deal for First Hardcover Limited Edition with Sinister Grin Press

Austin, Texas—Sinister Grin Press is pleased to announce it will partner with acclaimed horror author Hunter Shea for his first limited edition hard cover collector novel, We are Always Watching. It…

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Damned Words 19 – Reblogged from Pen of the Damned @Sotet_Angyal @PenoftheDamned

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Damned Words 19

reblogged from Pen of the Damned – nine horror/dark fiction writers interpret one photograph in 100 words each…

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Chlorophyll
Joseph A. Pinto

Yes, your prize, your trophy, your prop for the world to behold. Framed by unflinching eyes, supported by hands unshaken. So vivid, your portrayal. Like the seasons, your dichotomy appreciated only by a clear lens and a distorted view. Yet the approaching tempest goes unnoticed; still the limbs go ravaged. Revel in the fall, revel in the winds that blow. Landscapes resculpted, reimagined by the inevitable. Yes, revel in the lie, for beneath the illusion, the splendor, remains a truth you cannot speak: you have broken the chlorophyll down. Life you present, while around you death rejoices all the while.


The Autumn Quietus
Lee A. Forman

The fresh, healthy colors turned, became the tones of decay. Dillon breathed deep the scent of rot with a complacent grin. He looked up at the trees, watched quietus sway in the cool breeze. He reveled in his hedonistic ritual; a yearly affair passed down through generations. Nothing gave him more pleasure. Harvesting the heads was a task he relished, but watching the skin turn from its once healthy pigment to greenish-blue—that gave him true joy. He sat and watched as leaves fell, waiting for the heads to follow. Human hair only held for so long after death’s claim.


These Eyes
Nina D’Arcangela

I stand in place riddled with unbridled terror; it quakes my bones as I gaze out upon this gentle glade. Think me a fool for my fear? I imagine you do. Through my shutter you are gifted a calm that races my blood, hear the soothing lap at water’s edge that I am deaf to, see beauty trapped in hues I cannot allow to blind these eyes. The serenity of yawning fall holds no sway over me, for though we view the same painted landscape, you see only what is captured, whereas I hear what rustles the brush behind me.


Long Gone
Craig McGray

It’s been so long since the rains poured down. My memory struggles to recall images from the past that are long gone from reality. The vivid bursts of color that once covered the landscape have become nothing more than bland blacks and grays. The lakes are now dried and shriveled like an old man’s face. We did this to ourselves but were too fucking stupid to do anything about it. Politicians gave us only twisted lies and half-truths and before we knew it, it was too late. May God help us all, at least the few of us that remain.


The Lake
Veronica Magenta Nero

Many have given their lives to cleanse the lake. Our children, our elderly mothers and fathers, their faces frozen with fear and sorrow, never looking back as they walk into the oil slick swamp. They waddled in knee deep, then waist deep, then they were whisked away underneath, the foul water bubbling over them. We had stripped all life from the earth and now we pay with our blood and bone. The lake turns golden, an expanse of light, the water fresh and clean, sustaining us for a while until it begins to darken and fester once more, demanding another.


Don’t You See?
Jon Olson

You must be out of your minds! We left our home because of drought. This place is no different! How do you expect us to survive? Farm it? The ground lacks nutrients, nothing grows. Eat from the trees? They are bare. Fish from the lake? It’s lifeless. Yet you want to settle here? Trying to make this work is a death sentence. No, I have not lost my senses. It’s you who are crazy for believing him! We must keep moving on… then follow him, you blind fools, follow him to your death. Don’t you see? We won’t survive here.


Autumnal Hunger
Zack Kullis

Biting wind stirred the sweet scent of autumn’s decay and ruffled its time-worn cloak. The old post creaked with his surprising heft as his black eyes, hidden underneath the straw-like hair, watched the approaching couple.

He dropped from his perch and knocked them both to the ground. The ancient being grabbed each by an ankle and started towards the hills. Their shrill cries were musical; a symphony of dread that pleased him. He would eat them both, every bit, and sleep until next autumn’s equinox brought the sound of falling leaves and bid his eternal hunger be sated yet again.


‘Squatch
Thomas Brown

This is his country: acres of primordial forest spanning the hilltops. Time has no meaning here, marked by nothing except the changing seasons and, sometimes, the intruders who cross his invisible border. It is autumn now. He smells it in the air: rich, rank. Feels it under the pads of his feet: slippery, cold. Deadwood cracks. The camp is up ahead. Mud finds the underside of his fingernails, mixes with the blood that sometimes matts his fur and clots between his teeth. He moves heavily, hunts quickly, leaves no survivors. This is his country and here his appetite is law.


The Painter
Christopher A. Liccardi

They saw the golds and reds and smelled the season in all its glory. I saw crimson and grey matter and smelled the gore; a photo negative of what everyone else witnessed.

Paint in blood; that is what I do. I painted the scene in the blood of those who came to ask me about my work. It wasn’t a needless act, no. Never think it. It was one of serenity. I took the canvas around me and colored it with the life’s blood of those who came to meet me. My next victim approached with a smile, unknowing, unsuspecting.

read more from each author on Pen of the Damned

I Hate Clowns

So you don’t like clowns? Why is that? What makes them seem so creepy? Beth, from Christopher A. Liccardi’s ‘I Hate Clowns'(recently posted on Pen of the Damned) is certainly going to give you a good reason to dislike them… Enjoy the depravity!

Pen of the Damned

“I hate clowns,” Roy said flatly. Each year, he shelved his irrational fear of those fuckers right up until the end of September. Then, all the clown related stupidity resurfaced and he was forced to stare down his terror.

“C’mon, who hates clowns? You didn’t seem to mind the clown outfit I wore last weekend, as I recall,” Beth said, batting her eyelashes.

“That was a clown?” Roy asked incredulously. He’d thought she was dressed like a character from the super hero movie they’d gone to see a few weeks ago.

She slapped him jokingly and pinched his nipple while she smiled that teasing smile he loved so much. Roy grinned back, though his nipple stung like a bitch.

“Besides,” Roy said, “clown movies are nothing but half-naked women getting chopped up by psychos.”

“Not always. Let’s watch a movie with clowns in it,” she said, still smiling.

She was always…

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Not Cavities, A #halloween #horror tale written & narrated by Patrick Loveland @PMLoveland

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This Halloween goodie was written for the October 2016 issue of The Sirens Call eZine by Patrick Loveland. Have a listen as he lends both his literal and creative voice to this devious tale.

Be careful who you Trick and who you Treat this Halloween!

LUNCH

A poignantly haunting tale by Joseph A. Pinto – ‘Lunch’

Joseph A. Pinto

The sandwich remains uneaten and forgotten, long since ravaged by mold.  Beside it, the milk in the glass is nothing but crusty, yellow mud.  The lunch now a mockery of what once was.

He leans against the doorway, peering into the fruitless dark of his son’s room.  Clothes cling to his skin.  Thirty minutes prior, he stood within the foyer, dripping in static silence after stumbling in from the rain.  He realizes that nothing carries weight anymore.  Except maybe his sodden clothes.

He wavers.  A car passes somewhere in the night.  Light cuts rudely through the room; shadows jump stiffly about the walls, scurrying into corners.  Stuffed animals squat atop the bed, solemn smiles unflinching across their faces.  A sliver of headlight touches the uneaten sandwich, illuminating the plate like a stage.  It fades away—the show over, curtain drawn on yet another day.  He hesitates, breath snagging in his…

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Gus

Good old ‘Gus’ got a reboot and a spit-shine for Pen of the Damned this year so I figured why not reshare it with you fine people.

A little Halloween fun – ‘Gus’ style! A short by me, your deranged host, Nina D’Arcangela.  😉

Pen of the Damned

Muttering to himself as he always does, ole Gus shuffled to the basement door, pulled it open, and carefully descended the barely lit stairs. Once in the subterranean cavern – as he liked to imagine it – he began searching the dusty shelves for boxes marked ‘Halloween’ in Ester’s neat, tidy handwriting. God rest her soul. Given what a pain in the ass his wife had been in life, he’d never thought he would miss her nagging so much now that she was gone. Oh well, done is done, can’t dwell on the past. That’s the way he’d always lived his life, no reason to go changing things now. If he could just get that damned Priest from their church to stop ‘dropping in’, he could finally catch up on his shows. That old coot would do just about anything to get a little extra change on the Sunday…

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Scattered Ramblings

Scattered Ramblings is a collection of flash fiction horror by random members of Pen of the Damned – please, enjoy!

Pen of the Damned

The Process

Plunging the blade deep into the abdominal cavity, I drive it upward until I hit the xiphoid process. Twisting slightly to my right, I skirt the sternum and slice through the costal cartilage attaching the ribs to the breastplate. Careful not to puncture the internal organs, I stop my upward motion at the manubrium. Drawing the sharpened metal along the topside of the upper-most rib, I listen to the harsh breathing. Returning to the original point of entry, I pause, then again thrust into and through the abdominal wall, swiftly separating the flesh and muscle from the body’s left side.

Laying the knife on the tray, I reach down and peel the cavity open with a great deal of force. A slight groan escapes amongst the pops and rending sounds as the connective tissue still in place rips away to reveal the fluttering heart. A marvelous thing the…

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