The Animal…Playing a Dangerous Game

Do you play games? What if they’re dangerous ones? Perhaps the very notion of life can be considered a game. After all, we can’t always be the person we are inside. What if we could? What if we could do and say anything that came to our minds? I shudder at the thought but then again, it’s truly delicious. I’m continuing to highlight the various authors in The Animal collection – releasing soon from The Edge Imprint at Booktrope.

The stories are meant to draw you into to the darkness lurking just beneath the surface. We all have that line that if we cross, there’s no turning back. Up today is a lovely lady I’ve recently come to know – S.L. Stacker. Enjoy her two short pieces but don’t read with the lights off or alone…


I stood motionless and watched wide-eyed as my father’s long, slender fingers wrapped around the beautiful woman’s throat. I wanted nothing more than to move—to run—yet, I knew if I so much as coughed, I would meet the same fate. So, I did the only thing I could.The Animal FInal Concept Cover I stood perfectly still and watched the scene before me play out.

The pressure upon her throat was obvious—my dad’s white knuckles an indicator of the pressure being exerted. Her own hands snaked to her throat, clawing and pulling at my dad’s, yet his strength never wavered. She was unable to move from his grasp, and her eyes widened the moment she realized her fate was sealed. It was funny because I knew his grip would be the cause of her death before the realization hit her.

As I watched the life leave her body, I felt a warm stream flow down my legs. My eyes blurred, and tears spilled down my cheeks as the woman slipped from my father’s grasp. Her lifeless body landed upon the cool tile floor.

“Look at you. You’ve pissed yourself. Go wash up, and I’ll deal with this,” my dad ordered, glancing at my pants before returning his attention to the lifeless body sprawled on the floor.

I turned and started toward the door, thankful he had not seen my face. I had almost found my freedom, but stopped when I heard my dad call out.

“Happy birthday, Frederick. We’ll go out and celebrate once you’ve changed.”

I nodded and exited the room, unable to look back to acknowledge him because I didn’t want to show more weakness. My tears would have confirmed my father’s accusations of me not acting as a man should.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I celebrated my seventh birthday. I wet myself and watched my father kill my mother.


“David!” I called from my study, my patience wearing thin.

“Coming,” I heard him call.

Today is his sixteenth birthday, but before he is allowed to celebrate, he has to give his answer to a life-changing question. Does he join F.A.R. as the next leader, or does he pass and become disowned by the family when he turns eighteen?

“You called for me?” David asked from the doorway.

“Come inside and close the door,” I instructed, watching his posture straighten when he realized this would be a business meeting.

“Have you made a decision? Will you be joining the family business?” I asked him. I could see the dread upon his face, and I wasn’t looking forward to his answer.

“Yes, Sir, I have. I’ll be leading F.A.R. within the next several years.”

Ouija BoardA pleasant surprise fell upon me at his admittance.

“Congratulations, my boy. I’m happy you’ve acknowledged you won’t be taking charge for several years, but there is one thing you need to witness in order to make this official. Come with me.”

I stood and made my way out of the office and through the house to my bedroom. This was something I had added to the requirements of becoming leader. No one, with the exception of myself, had experienced this. Is it bad I was excited for this moment?

I opened the door and walked in, startling my wife. She stood up and met me halfway between the bed and door, smiling until she looked behind me and saw David.

“Is everything okay?” she asked, her smile having disappeared.

I wrapped my long, slender fingers around her throat and saw surprise take over her features before it was replaced with fear. When she looked into my eyes, I could see she knew her time was limited. This time, instead of piss-soaking my pants, my dick hardened. It was such a turn on knowing I controlled the life of someone. I dictated if this wretch before me lived or died.

I heard David gasp, but I didn’t look at him. I wanted to watch the life drain from my wife. Besides, I knew he wouldn’t interfere or leave. He was me.

Surprisingly, she didn’t struggle. In fact, her hands went slack at her sides, and she stared into my eyes. As the life drained from her face, memories of my seventh birthday flooded my mind. My wife did not struggle as my mother had. It was almost as if she had anticipated she would die by my hand.

Thanks to my fucked up father, I watched my mother die. Thanks to David’s fucked up father, he would watch his mother die. I hope I can say like father, like son, but only time will tell. Hell, I may never know if he’s like me because I never told my father I enjoyed watching him kill my mother. That was too personal, and I don’t do personal. If David is like me, then his reaction will be something he takes to the grave with him.

As her body slammed to the floor, I turned to David. His eyes were focused on his mother. I cleared my throat, expecting him to turn his attention to me, however, I became disappointed when I did not received the reaction I wanted.


“Yes, Dad?” he answered. His eyes reluctantly moved from his mother to me.

“You will not speak of this—to anyone. When it’s time for your replacement, the same thing will happen. You will kill your wife, and if your child cannot accept your action, he or she will not be welcome to replace you. Is that understood?”

“Yes, Sir,” he answered, his face void of emotion.

“Welcome to our fucked up but glorious lives. You will never want for anything,” I assured him. “Now, you may leave. Remember, speak of this to no one.”

After David hurried from the room, I followed behind, closing and locking the door. Returning my attention to the woman slumped on the floor, I decided I may as well do something to relieve my erection. Unzipping my pants, I knelt upon the floor. Since watching my own father kill my mother, I found I could only find sexual relief when I killed something or someone. I was determined to enjoy this.

I felt like a God.

Just a taste of the terrifying…

Kisses and a touch of blood…


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The Animal…Gnawing on Broken Fingers

Is there anything tastier than a swallow of human flesh? Gnawing on bones? Come on, a taste of cannibalism is in order in a book titled The Animal. I’m continuing providing a scintillating treat – a taste of the various authors in the upcoming release from The Edge Imprint at Booktrope. The concept of a darkness sweltering and simmering in all of us will forever fascinate me. We are creatures after all – no matter what we think.

There’s no amount of humanity that can stop the rage, or the burning need to kill. Do you think I’m wrong? Indulge in yet another twisted story. Proud to present a piece from my good friend, S.E. Rise.


There is a darkness inside me that should never be unleashed.

They say everyone has an animal inside them. A beast that is at the core of our center. If The Animal FInal Concept Coveryou push a man far enough and take away everything that keeps him civilized, you risk releasing that beast.

The beast is there for a reason. It is part of our base survival instinct. Some people never have to worry about their inner beast because it is such a small, timid, little animal. Some of us have a lot more to be concerned about.


“What do you mean you’re letting me go?” I asked incredulously at the twenty-something-year-old punk.

“I’m sorry, but you have not made the corrective actions I have asked of you. I see no other choice but to terminate your employment with this company,” he countered without looking up from his shuffling of papers.

“I don’t have the money…” I said and this jab was a sharp stick into the wound. The guy had been riding my ass for the past two months. If it wasn’t this, then it was that. We can’t be afraid of change. Change is good for growth within a company.

Fuck your change. You change and fix things that are broken. If it’s not broken, then don’t fix it.

Twice, I had nearly knocked the smug little motherfucker on his ass. This got me a lecture from him about remaining positive, open to criticism, through the diversity of a group.

I had told the prick to just stay away from me, let me do my job and leave me alone. Did he listen? Of course he didn’t. Now he thinks he can fucking fire me?

“Then I see no other…”

“Wait! Goddamn it. Just wait a goddamn minute,” I responded and it was ten times too loud. I had been working for this company for almost twenty years. I was this close to retirement. My wife left me and took the kids, I paid a quarter of my check to alimony and another half of it went to child support. My piece of shit car blew a gasket and my rent was a month overdue. I was working my fucking ass off. There was a time… fuck it. Take a deep breath and try to calm down.

“Are you seriously going to fire me because I can’t buy new clothes?” The beast inside me stirred and began to pace.

“Policy requires you to come to work clean and serviceable. Those clothes are not clean and serviceable. I asked you to get new ones and you did not. You did not do what I asked. I am your direct line supervisor and I’m tired of having to answer to my boss as to why you look like shit…” He said and the corner of his mouth went up because internally he thought it was funny that he said shit.

The beast inside me lunged forward against the door of the cage. Jesus, I fucking hate this guy.

“Are you married? Do you have kids?”

“I don’t see why that is any of your business, but yes, I have a wife and two children,” he said and if I had been paying attention, I would have seen the family photo of his Porky the Pig looking wife and their two little Piglets.

“What would you do if you found yourself in this situation?” I asked and seriously wanted to know. Does this idiot have any idea what the consequences of his actions are going to be?

“That is a false hypothetical. I could never be in your situation. I still have my wife and children, I have clean new clothes, I drive that red beamer that you more than likely have seen, and I went to college.”

I felt the snap and the chain around the beast let loose at the words “I went to college.”

I went to college as well, you fucking idiot, but it sure didn’t help me a whole hell of a lot because I am working for a stupid motherfucker like you. Then it dawned on me. It wasn’t about the clothes I wore or the ones I didn’t or couldn’t buy. It was about me. He was going to fire me no matter what I did. He was toying with me and enjoying it. This was a “No win” situation.

Bloodied ManI didn’t believe in “No win” situations.

“True, you are absolutely right. You more than likely will never be or even find yourself in my situation,” I said and that’s when the animal inside me began to howl. The door to the cage swung open and it took its first step of freedom. I glanced at the little clock beside the Porky Pig family photo.

You want to play games, idiot? You want to sit there smug in your own self-righteousness? You want to quote shit from your little books?

That’s when the beast stepped forward and growled his idea to me. I listened and I liked it.

“You’re going to give me all the money in your wallet or I am going to break one of your fingers.” I enjoyed the look of shock that replaced the look of contempt. Shock I could deal with.

“Excuse me? You’re going to collect your things and leave the building. You’re fired,” he said and I saw the fear and shock slip into the background as the smug contempt returned. He really enjoyed that. Good.

His hands were flat against the desk in front of him. He thought I was bluffing, but the beast leapt forward with unnatural speed and grace. I grabbed his right arm at the wrist, latched onto his middle finger and bent it backwards until it snapped, cracked and finally lay flat against the back side of his hand. The action was so smooth and quick he wasn’t able to react. The horror of what I had just done rocketed through me and I liked it. I liked it a lot. His mouth opened to scream out in pain and I punched him in the throat. This stopped the noise of his scream dead in its tracks. He gagged and choked as he grabbed at his throat with his free hand. I could hear the air exchange so I wasn’t worried about if I had crushed his windpipe or not. I grabbed onto his ring finger and his eyes went wide.

“Give me your wallet or I am going to break another one of your fingers and if you scream, I am going to hit you again.”

Apparently, he didn’t understand and reached for the phone.

I snapped his ring finger back, felt the satisfying crack and pressed it against the back side of his hand. I hammered a fist against his chin and felt the satisfying crunch of his front teeth shattering. Now that felt amazing. The animal inside me howled again and my anger soared to unexpected heights.

“You are the reason my family left me!”

I hit him again in the face. His head rocked back and on the rebound I hit him again. His cheek split open and the red of exposed meat made me hungry.

This time, on the rebound, I let loose of his wrist, grabbed hold of his not so pretty shirt and pulled him up onto the desk. He flopped down like a fish and a spray of blood shot out across the desk with the exhalation.

If he wasn’t going to give me his wallet the easy way, then I would have to get it the hard way. I held his head against the desk with my left hand and reached into his back pocket to fish out his wallet.

Unfucking believable. The motherfucker had five crisp one hundred dollar bills hiding in there.

I hadn’t seen five crisp one hundred dollar bills together at one time in over a year. Before my wife left me. And, do you know why my wife left me? Because this idiot cut my hours and docked my pay for three months and the goddamn accident wasn’t even my fault.

“It wasn’t my fault, was it? And, you fucking knew it wasn’t my fault,” I said into his ear.

His eyes fluttered at the sound of my voice and I smelled the unmistakable stench of piss.

“Guess what, piss pants, I don’t believe your clothes are very clean and serviceable now. Do you? I’m going to have to dock your pay and cut your hours.” The beast inside me lovedmystical fire this; loved seeing me destroy my enemy. Rage began to replace anger and I wanted to hurt him more. I wanted to hurt and maim this mother-fucker. My jaw clenched and I felt the saliva gush. Before I could stop myself, I leaned over and sunk my teeth into the cartilage and flesh of his ear. The blood tasted salty but delicious.

With a twist and thrust of my head, I felt a large portion of the man’s ear tear away. Why hasn’t someone heard us by now? I would like to think that I spit the chunk of ear out onto the floor, but with all honesty, I can’t remember. 


The rage turned into something different then—something controlled. Something sadistic and evil. I felt incredible. Clarity and enlightenment coursed through me.

He was merely middle management and therefore was not assigned a secretary. The sun had set and our smart, hard working employees had punched their time cards out, then sailed away to their Islands of Paradise called home.

Good for them.

Speaking of that…

I fished the dumbass’s cell phone from his pocket and slid my thumb across the screen. Damn, this is a nice phone. Apparently, he wasn’t too worried about it getting stolen. No passcode.

The screen flashed up and I regretted saying anything about the passcode. Fingerprint identification required. Easy enough. The sight of his deformed broken fingers thrilled me.

We couldn’t stay in the office all night, so I thought of a wonderful place we could go.

I scrolled through his top five contacts and found his wife.

I glanced over to the Porky Pig photo. Okay, maybe she didn’t actually look like Porky the Pig. She was kind of hot. This gave me an idea.

I pulled up the message screen and set my plans into play.

“Going to be a little late tonight. Put the kids to bed, lock their doors and prepare yourself for me. I am serious.”



Her response was quicker than I could have imagined. My wife would never have responded that quickly. You got yourself a big dick there, buddy? I gave him a quick glance. Unable to respond, she was nice enough to answer the question for him.

“Do you want me to wear the big black strap on again?” The message asked and I nearly laughed myself into tears. The idiot’s cheek was swelling his eye shut, the blood drooled from his broken mouth and his two broken fingers would make anybody a bit nauseous. I was past the point of no return. I either followed this through or I was fucked.

“Not tonight. I am feeling cock strong and lusty. I want to play a game tonight. I want you blindfolded, face down with your ass and cunt in the air waiting for me. I am hard just thinking about it,” I sent in reply.

The beast in me liked the idea and I felt myself growing hard.

Fuck it. Why not.

I pulled out my hard cock and snapped off a dick picture for her and pressed Send.

“OMG!!! You’re serious? OMFG!! Your dick looks so fucking big.” She sent back and I couldn’t help but smile.

Am I wrong? Of course not. Don’t read with the lights off…

Kisses and the slice of a knife…


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The Animal…When There’s a Stray

Oh I love the concept for horror. A stray cat. A stray human. Imagine the possibilities. I’m continuing my highlight of some of the best authors I’ve ever worked with. The Animal delves into the dark side that we all have – that one moment we WILL do something out of the ordinary and its all about the evil nestled deep inside of us. I’ve loved putting this collection together. Think about that very moment when you snap – when you can no longer take the crappy hand you’ve been dealt.

I’m proud to present an author I respect and hope to work with again. Enjoy the tasty treats of Duncan Ralston.


Max awoke from an uncomfortable dream, vaguely aware of a wet, prickly thing sliming the palm of his left hand. He tore the hand away, shrinking back against the seat, clutching the duffel bag handle in his right hand.

A dog—a husky or malamute, Max couldn’t tell which, and the breed didn’t matter so The Animal FInal Concept Covermuch as the fact of its presence here at all—looked up at him with sad ice-blue eyes, peeling its lips back in a yawn or a snarl. Max couldn’t decide which, and again, didn’t care.

Looking up and down the car, hoping to find its owner, he found no one. The dog was on its own. Max was alone with it.

“Go on,” he said, anxious. “Get out of here.”

The animal didn’t move, only panted, staring.

“Get lost!”

The dog whimpered, shrinking back, then sat on its haunches in front of the doors with a jingle—a sound signifying ownership, though Max saw no collar around its thick neck. Instead, a small loop of bathtub chain and silvery tags peeked out from its fur, reminiscent of another kind of dog tag. Its big pink tongue came out to lick its chops as it eyeballed him with that I-know-something look.

Could it smell the rising fear in his sweat? Could it hear the increase in his heartbeat?

What was it doing on the train, anyway? Was it a stray?

Max had read an article once about abandoned dogs in Moscow that had learned to take the Metro into the city. Street dogs worked in packs there, using the smallest and cutest to beg for food and share amongst them. They stood behind people and barked, startling feckless humans into dropping their food so the dogs could eat it from the ground. The pack leaders were not the biggest and strongest, as in other species, but the smartest. The dogs with the most cunning abilities.

What had occurred to Max from reading the article (and further research, including several videos) was that dogs, as a species, were growing smarter. But were they evolving, he’d wondered, or was it just a natural response to their environment, a “societal” change? Being a History major, Max wasn’t scientifically inclined enough to say one way or the other, but history told him to be wary. And it was history—History class, in fact—that had put him on the train so early this morning, long before the other commuters. He’d needed to get to school before his fellow teachers, before Principal Anders, and before Don McTavish, the security officer. The janitors, who arrived early, would let him in without trouble, but Anders and the others would wonder what he was doing at school, and what, exactly, he had in his duffel bag.


“…Clauberg told the women he’d artificially inseminated them with animal sperm, and while it’s unclear whether this is true or not, it’s just another example of the Nazi’s employing torture under the guise of scientific advancement.”

Silence drew out in the small classroom. A few students fiddled with their cell phones, one or two girls twisted their hair around pencils or chewed it. Others doodled. The kids in the front row wore looks of disgust, which had been his intent. He’d wanted to shock them out of their apathy; what he hadn’t known at the time was that this lesson would get him a six-week suspension. The school board would go on to cite some of his extra-curricular activities as being “red flags,” in particular the small bit of enjoyment he got from playing General Custer in the Battle of Little Bighorn reenactments; they had wondered why he would “celebrate” such an atrocious period in America’s history, acting as if he flew the Confederate flag and wore white sheets in the night. Even his brief tour of duty in the Iraq Conflict had raised suspicions at West Brinkley High; the fact that his left arm was barely functional due to shrapnel from an IED had been the subject of much speculation during his three years teaching History to students who, for the most part, couldn’t remember beyond their last keg party.

One of the football players in the back shot up his hand. Max held his right hand palm-up toward him, as Principal Anders had deemed pointing “too confrontational.”

“Yes, Michael.”

“So, like, all that stuff happened a long time ago?”

“During the Second World War,” Max said, nodding genially, though he suspected Michael had something tricky up his sleeve.

Girl behind mask and sheets“So, like, I mean, why should I care about what happened before I was born?”

A handful of others nodded, muttering their agreement.

“Well, Michael, a wise person once wrote, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.'”

“And was that wise man you, Mr. Ellis?” Michael inquired with a shrewd smirk, garnering a few chuckles.

“No, Michael, it was George Santayana.” He smiled as Michael’s grin faded. “So what do you think it means?”


“The phrase, Michael. Let me put it another way. When Churchill misquoted it, he said, ‘Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’ What do you think that means?”

Michael stared blankly for a moment, his mouth open, his shaggy hair hanging in his face. “Like… you’re gonna fail me if I can’t answer the question?”

“No, Michael. You’ll fail life. History is the most important subject.”

“Not for me. I’m gonna go pro.” Michael flashed his straight white teeth. “Gotta get paid,” he said, and held his hand out so his friends could slap it.

“I’m going to be an entrepreneur,” a girl in one of the middle seats said. “Why do I need to know all this gross stuff?”

Emphatic agreement met this. Even the burnouts perked up to join in.

These kids don’t want to be teachers, or thinkers, or cure disease, Max despaired. They all want to be Kardashians.

“If you don’t know this ‘gross stuff,’ you won’t see the signs of it happening again under your nose, Larissa. Just as it’s our responsibility to leave the environment in a good state for our children’s children, we’re also responsible for the state of society. We have to be wary, and speak up against what we feel is wrong, no matter the consequences. And when they come to silence you, when they force you into the shadows, remember what Edmund Burke said… ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.'”

This drew blank looks from almost half the class. The others appeared to ruminate on it, even the class entrepreneur, and even a few of the burnouts.

Perhaps there’s hope for the world after all, Max thought.

But someone had reported the lesson to their parents, and the parents had informed Principal Anders. Within a week, Max was out on his ass, his pleas for sanity unanswered. And during those first few weeks, sitting alone in his apartment, pondering his place in the world, he wondered if he’d been wrong about there being any hope at all.

He began to think about the contents of his duffel bag.



He’d planned it all out so carefully in the following weeks, allowing for several possible contingencies. Not even the greatest military strategists—Carl von Clausewitz, Hannibal Barca, Julian Corbett—could have foreseen the dog.

Max watched as it splayed its legs and began licking its genitals, dispelling any myth of higher intelligence.

How many times did it do that before licking my hand, he wondered, letting himself relax against the seat back. Releasing the handle of his duffel bag from his white-knuckle grip, the zipper tab clinked against its metallic teeth. It was a comforting sound, like the tinkle of wind chimes he remembered from summer nights at his parents’ farmhouse when he was a kid, drinking lemonade on the porch after a long day’s work, as cicadas droned in the fields.

The doors opened with a discordant chime, sounding like an elevator arriving at the basement of Hell. A woman in a sharp business suit made to enter, looking up from her Blackberry just in time to see the dog. She leaped back, startled, then composed herself and scowled at Max, as if he owned the dog. When the doors closed, she was still gloweringBlack wolf at him.

In the blink of an eye, the dog darted forward and bit his hand.

Pain splintered up Max’s arm in hot waves. Crying out in surprise, he grasped his hand at the wrist, blood oozing from the jagged gash along the second and third knuckles, splashing against his work boots. Slashes of brilliant white bone peeked through the wounds on his numbing fingers. As he clenched his hand into a fist, tendons pulled taut in the exposed meat.

“Bit me!” he bellowed, incredulous. “You bit me!”

The dog reared back and bared its teeth, pink with blood. Max tucked into a quick roll as the dog charged again, slamming its full weight against the seatback he’d vacated. It staggered back, legs spread out to stop itself from slip ‘n sliding across the slick tiles, then shook its head vigorously, spittle flying from its lips.

Max yanked the duffel bag off the seat and pulled it to his chest, using it as a shield as the dog attacked again, its powerful jaws tearing off a ragged swatch of oiled canvas.

With his left hand, Max tore at the zipper, shooting pain up his muscles from his old combat injury. The zipper slid easily partway, then caught. Momentarily fazed, he watched the dog spit out the grimy fabric, hacking at the taste. Grinning, Max reached into the bag and rummaged with his left hand. Pushing aside the Colt 1911—he’d trained himself to know each weapon by feel and weight, even with the backs of his fingers—he found the FN Five-SeveN easily, the same weapon used by Mexican drug cartels and the Fort Hood shooter. He jerked it free with a quick draw that would have made Cherokee Bill proud.

The dog registered almost human surprise as Max racked back the slide with the wrist of his injured hand, the hand itself still oozing crimson, and aimed with his left.

The dog bounded at him, snarling.

A deafening report filled in the cramped car. The Five-SeveN fired as smooth as—well, there really were no comparisons, in Max’s mind, and if he’d done the firing with his right hand, it would have hit its mark. Instead, the bullet struck one of the safety glass windows and blew it outward. Hot morning wind blasted in, the sound of the elevated tracks clickety-clacking suddenly as loud as the gunshot.

The dog startled. Max fired a second shot, striking the dog in the leg, flipping the feral beast back with an arcing sprinkler spray of blood, Technicolor red under florescent lights. It rolled and slid all the way to the doors, where it slumped, eyes closed, bleeding on the shiny tiles.

Max stayed put, pressed against the seat, using the duffel in his lap to keep his aim steady. He wasn’t stupid enough to think the thing was dead, to fall for that horror movie trick. Nor was he about to get up and check, like a kid approaching a firecracker that had fizzled out just before the explosion.

The dog shook its head, the chain around its muscular neck jingling. It lurched to its feet, eyeing him with its head lowered, and moved shakily toward him. A flap of grisly meat hung from its left hind leg, though the shot had merely grazed the flesh.

Max pulled the trigger, the kill shot, but the train began its herky-jerky entrance to the station, and the small-caliber hollow-point went wild, carving a fist-sized hole in the ceiling that whistled as the train slowed to a jerky stop.

His right hand was scorched earth, the crotch of his jeans and the front of his plaid shirt black and gleaming with his blood. He could smell it, that acrid copper smell, and if he could smell his own blood, chances were pretty high the dog could, too.

Gravy Train makes real meat gravy, he thought humorlessly as the train stopped.

Such delicious concepts.

Kisses, slaughter and thoughts of evil doings…


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The Animal…Can there be a Holiday?

I’m not certain evil takes a day off and especially not an actually holiday, but I can imagine there are down times. Then again…rage and demonic need takes no backseat. Now does it? I think our inner beast comes out when we least expect and often when its most inconvenient. Various aspects of life drive me nuts, often to the point I could lash out uncontrollably and it certainly doesn’t matter what’s going on around me.

I’m highlighting yet another piece from The Animal. I’m so happy the stories are so varied, showcasing all types of evil that exist in the world. P and M Mattern area  duo who truly feed off of one another. Hint… Take a big ole bite out of…


Waking up pinned to the floor with the taste of blood in my mouth wasn’t how I wanted to The Animal FInal Concept Coverstart my vacation.

My hands were bound and my face was pressed into the 300-thread-count, cream Berber carpet. I had some time to reflect. I heard one of the men pulling out and dumping dresser drawers in the bedroom. He was the one that scared me the most—he looked liked Sasquatch and, from his ongoing testimonial, preferred anal sex over all other options.

His companions were an auburn-haired guy with asymmetric features I dubbed “Inbred,” and my neighbor, Todd; the handsome, blonde, young man had been so polite to me in the hallways. They were busy tearing apart the living room furniture looking for more paper money and jewelry they would never find.

In the background, Goldfrapp was singing about a stranger through the stereo. To this day, I can’t stand to listen to them.

Todd, the part-time personal trainer had come to my door just as I was about to leave for the airport. It was my first vacation since the divorce had been finalized and I was ready to celebrate. He had asked for directions, explaining that I-75 was closed due to a truck spilling over 20 million gallons of a chemical that combines with rain to make hydrochloric acid.

He asked me about alternative routes to Lexington. I was about to suggest US-33 when he pushed me backwards and I hit the back of my head on the closet door behind me. His buddies rushed in from behind him, then closed the door and locked it.

They each had one of my arms pinned when he ran over to my purse and dumped it on the couch, sticking my cell phone and wallet in his pocket. The one I call Sasquatch hit me across the face so hard I saw stars, then shoved a rag in my mouth and tied a bandana over it to gag me.

The inbred one was tearing at my clothes. Sasquatch zip-tied my hands behind me and dragged me by my heel to the center of the room.

Inbred climbed on first. His penis was so small and I was so out of it I couldn’t even feel him and he only lasted a minute.

After Inbred was done, Sasquatch flipped me over without ceremony.

That was painful. I made noises in spite of being gagged and I wasn’t even trying to. He took a little longer, and the other two ignored him while they rifled through my desk. They dumped out a box I’d meant to take to the dumpster and started loading up electronics in it. A rusty vintage meat grinder landed on the carpet with a thud.

Todd was bragging. My neighbor in 4B had told him I was going away. He watched me load up my two dogs, huskies named Zephyr and Rust, in my Prius and drop them off at the kennel for two weeks. I came back and got ready to go to the Caribbean. That’s when he called his friends in.

With a laugh, Todd came over and turned me over. He dropped his pants and stood over me so I could get a clear view of the underside of his veiny member.

“Nice, right?” he asked, as if I could answer him with a gag in my mouth.

He kicked my legs apart and knelt between them, tearing away my blouse to suck my tits.

“Nice tits,” he said as he shoved his cock between my legs and then, “Hey Brody, come watch me fuck this bitch!”

The inbred dropped the Waterford crystal glass he was holding as he went through the china cabinet. It shattered on the floor, and he strode over and stared at Todd’s ass as he screwed me.

bad menWhat was I thinking? A million things. Part of me was trying to reverse time so that I never opened my apartment door to Todd in the first place. I flashed to that moment dozens of times as I laid there.

Part of me was celebrating that I was still alive.

Part of me was despairing because not only had I seen their faces, but I knew who Todd was. I didn’t imagine they would let me live.

As if he could read my thoughts, Sasquatch said, “Can I do her now?”

I didn’t want to move, much less turn my head, but there he was in my peripheral vision, winding the end of one of my extension cords over his hand. In spite of my numbness, I knew what was coming.

I wondered how long it would take. How it felt to have your breath cut off. How long the pain and discomfort lasted as you thrashed about, trying to get away from the pressure, wanting to breathe more than anything you’d ever wanted in your entire life.

But Todd had a better idea. He had finished his business and stood looking down.

“Knock her ass out,” he told Sasquatch.

My last thought was that he was trying to save me some pain, and as bizarre as it sounds, I was grateful when the blow landed upon my head.




I was in and out of consciousness, but I thought I might have died. My surroundings were pitch black and filled with exhaust fumes.

When they opened the trunk, all I saw were moving shadows. I heard dogs barking. Between the shadows, light beamed from the kind of starlit sky you only find way outside of the city.

One of them reached in and jerked the scarf down, allowing me to gag out the spit-soaked piece of cloth they’d shoved in my mouth.

I couldn’t stop coughing.

One of them hauled me out by my numb, bound hands and Todd said, “Give her some water.”

It was hard to swallow as someone held a plastic water bottle to my lips. I ended up gagging some of it back up.

The pit bulls barked louder as they shoved me through a ramshackle weighted gate and up a stone pathway toward a six-panel door.

Sasquatch led the way. He shoved the door open and, reaching inside, switched on the single naked bulb. In an instant, the porch light attracted a throng of flying insects.

They dragged me to the kitchen. My feet were bare and I was still naked from the waist down. There were newspapers all over the floor. To my right was a sink with separate hot and cold water taps beside an avocado-colored refrigerator that belonged in the 60’s.

It reeked of urine and mildew.

To my left was a narrow hallway before a decrepit, white, built-in china cabinet and a potbellied woodstove. The inbred grabbed my wrists and cut the zip ties off in one motion, shoving me toward a darkened doorway beyond.

“Bathroom’s thattaway, sis,” he said. “Clean yer ass up.”

My wrists burned as I searched along the wall for a light switch and fumbled across one. The mirrored medicine cabinet in front of me was smeared, but I was still shocked by my reflection.

My left cheek was bluish purple below a black eye with the same colors. The bottom of one side of my lip was split and swollen. My hair, once perfectly coiffed for my flight, hung in sweat-soaked and blood-tinged tendrils to my shoulders.

But more than that, it was the haunted look in my eyes that caused a gorge to rise in my throat.

It felt like taking care of someone else. I grabbed one of the tattered washcloths from a basket of threadbare towels under the sink and washed my aching face with the ivory soap. I pulled my ripped blouse over my head and unhooked my bra. Grabbing another cloth, I washed myself from head to toe, even sticking my hair under the tap. By the time I had finished I felt more clear-headed, even though I had found a goose egg on the back of my head from being knocked out.

I was pulling my blouse back over my head and barely pulled it down over my hips when the door behind me slammed open.

It was Todd.

“Love the new look,” he said, taking in my disheveled appearance. “Here’s some clothes I found.”

I didn’t trust myself to answer. He closed the door and I noticed it didn’t have a latch. The clothing he’d tossed in consisted of a pair of shorts and a unisex Henley shirt. They smelled dusty. I put them on anyway.

Without taking too much time, I looked around for possible weapons. I found a wire soap-holder hanging over the side of the dirty claw-foot tub. Other than that, the metal towel holders showed potential. That was pretty much it.

Feeling a bit terrified are we?

Kisses and thoughts of murder…


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The Animal…Whores Among Us…

Whores. The word leaves me with so many thoughts and ideas. Now what if she’s a carniwhore? An interesting concept. Don’t you think? I’m continuing highlighting my fellow authors of The Animal – a terrifying look at the darkness nestled within all of us. This collection is one best to be read in the light. But if you dare read after dark, well… What would it take for you to cross that thin line, maiming or killing another? The heat of battle? A moment of pent up emotion? Mmm…

Alex Johnson is truly gifted in the art of expressing vile aspects carried out by unassuming mean and women. I’m happy to present his piece. Just be careful where your mind might take you after you read.


The beast rises within her, testing points of entry.

She wills it down.

This is not her, will never be her: The leering, blood-foamed mouth. Eyes like cinders. AndThe Animal FInal Concept Cover the skin: corpse-pale, blue-tinted.

It chuckles.

Whore, it says. Slut. A nice piece.

Words they used: Daddy, husband, brother. As though names could shrink her to nothing but parts on display.

Branded, boxed, caged, bound. Turned out to Daddy’s buddies, husband’s asshole friends. She was made to do what went against every last nerve in her and she rebelled at the ugly thought.

Sucking. Swallowing. And the taste that went with it. Sour, rank, greasy.

Susan winced at her face in the mirror. Then she took down her hair, releasing the glossy red curls. This was slightly better.

She applied foundation and a smidgen of rouge, then eye shadow.

Much better.

She would never let the violation turn her into some kind of living dead girl. Even if it surfaced and batted at her brain, swarmed her sleep with nightmares. Never, ever, ever.

She couldn’t remember exactly when the beast showed up with a plan. Just the plan itself, and her revulsion at its crude simulation of justice.

And that it wanted to be fed.

The plan itself, that is. The beast had gone into hiding, had been absent for weeks now, to the point Susan remembered it only as a dull pulse in a vein in her forehead, but more frequently as an absence between her thighs.

A wanting. A craving.

She opened the medicine cabinet, tore down bottles that clattered to the counter. She swore at the tiny supply of painkillers, a few half-powdered tablets silting the green plastic containers. She picked one up and held it to the light. The single bulb overhead flickered, and a soft wave of radiance, a ghost of incandescence, seemed to pour out from it.

It wasn’t possible that her father, brother or even her husband had gotten free, much less fucked with the fuse box. More likely, the asshole landlord, Kuza, had sent unlicensed fakes to pretend they had the competence to fix the wiring. If she complained, he’d shrug his shoulders and ask her about the past due rent.

The beast had plans for him, too. The landlord who was just like Daddy, just like her husband, smarmy faces and rotting hearts. After barely obtaining his realtor’s license, Kuza was hot to have the buildings in her run-down South San Sebastian neighborhood torn down and collect the bribes from interested parties who wanted to run an extension of the 112 freeway through.

Tenant’s rights? Fuck that. For Kuza, the people who occupied his apartments were no better than vermin. Animals.

Susan descended the stairs. Of course, the lights from the incandescent array in the cellar held firm. Earl Kuza was smart enough to make a little show for the building inspectors, in case they popped in for an unannounced visit. As for the tenant in Number 23, she was a nuisance, and papers were being drawn up.

bloody murderIn good faith. Respectfully.

A faint moaning issued from behind the cellar door. Susan smiled as a rush of adrenaline spiked her bloodstream. The painkillers were wearing off, and an epic reign of hurt had announced its dominion among the victims.

She turned the knob and looked in. Ms. Torment—she’d forgotten her real name for the woman’s current state, it was far more interesting that way—strained at her manacles and squealed pitiably from behind her own soaked panties and several feet of duct tape.

Besides Torment, there were those Susan had added to the collection. Nosy, vile neighbors, plus the little shit who’d harassed her about the newspaper subscription, elbowing his way into her studio and making fun of the change jar and the posters on the walls—Zombie Doom, Hellraiser, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.

So she liked her horror. She’d seen enough of it in her life, enough for the death throes of deserving victims to become masturbation fare. She wondered if horror directors ever got fan mail like hers—“I jacked myself off to Clown Massacre III, thanks for the orgasms. Enclosed is a handkerchief soaked with my cum.”

Gripping a handful of Torment’s greasy hair, Susan ripped the gag out and threw the wadded filling to the floor. Torment sputtered and tried to work her tongue.

The stump wriggled from its base. Susan smacked the side of the bitch’s wrinkled face. “Un-unh, that’s enough out of you.” The tongue in question would make a nice dinner, accompanied with butter sauce and a tart garnish of parsley. And a glass of sweet red wine, of course.

The others were waking up. She’d thought about collecting their tongues too, but preferred other portions—shank, fingers, cocks and balls.

“Just checking on the food supply,” she said.

More annoying but well-muffled complaints from the food.

Satisfied, she shut the door and ascended the rotting wooden stairs. When she returned to her apartment, a fresh three day vacate notice was taped to the door. She tore it off, crumpled it and tossed it in the bin of gag material.

The phone rang.

First she thought it was a prank call, because all she heard at first was rough breathing.

“Mr. Kuza, is that you?”

Silence. Then, “Is this Susan Mignon?”


“I’m just calling to follow up on the notice that was posted today on your door at 0800 hours.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me—military time?”

“I assure you, Ms. Mignon, I am not being humorous in the slightest. If you don’t clear out within three days, you’ll find the marshal is even less of a comedian than I am.”

Typical Kuza—bluster, threats, the stilted, formal diction of the undereducated.

“Oh really. Have you checked the civil code? Your notices aren’t worth shit. You need to serve me with a letter of illegal detainer. And buy me breakfast. And double check the wiring in my space. A girl could injure herself badly, you know?”

“I have full confidence in my contractors, honey.”

“Oh, I’m honey now?” Susan’s voice took on a warmer tone. “Well, honey, maybe we can work something out. You got some time to discuss my situation over, say, a nice bottle of red?”

Kuza swallowed audibly. “Well, ahem, perhaps we could reach a solution.”

“So it’s a date then?”

“I said we might be able to reach a solution. You’ll still be liable for the damages to the property you caused and of course the fines, et cetera, and the marshal will arrive posthaste within 72 hours, respectfully, in good faith.”

Susan smirked at his arbitrary use of googled legal terms. “Sure, of course, I understand. In good faith, that is. So, say, 9:00 pm?”

“I’ll pick you up.” The line went dead.

Susan went to her wardrobe and selected a silver nightgown of wet silk with a slit up the side, white thigh-high stockings and fuck me pumps with six-inch heels. They were almost impossible to walk on, but she didn’t figure that as a problem. One look at her and Kuza was bound to tumble her to the mattress, breathing heavily, his cock already out and slapping at his thigh.

He looked adorable sliding out of the black Mercedes in full formal evening wear. Susan suppressed a giggle. Did the shithead actually think they were going to a restaurant, that the maître d’ would direct them to a table, knowing glances exchanged over haute cuisine? Was he that stupid?


“Oh,” said Kuza when he saw her standing in the doorway. His face went beet red. “I—was under the impression that we would be dining out.”

“C’mere, you.” Susan grabbed the neatly-knotted, vomit green tie and dragged him inside. She pushed him down to the mattress and straddled him.

And the beast began to roar again.

All I can say is delectable.

Kisses and thoughts of evil doings…


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The Animal…Omens of the Apocalypse?

You have to love the concept. I’m continuing highlighting my fellow co-authors of The Animal.  I love reviewing what others think about their internal evil. As authors, we all derive various aspects of certain characters from bits within us .For me, the rather vile creations allow my demons not only a voice, but some inner peace. Christian Jensen I know better than most. He’s not only my co-author of several terrifying stories. He’s also my good friend and we’ve shared a few interesting times together.

What I can also tell you without question is that there is a completely rabid streak in him. He’s evil in a manner that you’ll find absolutely delicious. Don’t quite trust me yet? Well, let’s look at the title of his story for the collection. Then taste the juicy morsels inside. I think you’ll see why…


The first time I ate human meat it was out of necessity. The fact that I was being egged on by a giant cockroach and a mongrel dog, that may or may not have been the antichrist, is unimportant. Doctor Hayden, the kindly, white-haired psychiatrist assigned to me by the state has asked me to write this all down. He says that putting my thoughts on paper may help me clarify things. I’ve already explained that my mind is clear, but he still thinks I The Animal FInal Concept Coverneed to write this all down. He wants to know why I killed my first victim so I guess this is the story of Charlie, the first person I ever ate.

When I was fifteen, I was living in a special kind of hell. I lived in a suburban prison surrounded by the plush bars of middle class entitlement. My parents both worked. Dad managed a trucking company and mom worked as a nurse at the local hospital. Their marriage was average and boring, centering on the family and home they had built for over twenty years. I was the youngest of three children and the only boy. I had more freedom than my sisters, which was something they resented, but overall, we treated each other with respect and kindness.

I had a secret that seemed too obscene to share with any of them. I was gay. I thought it was pretty obvious, but somehow, my parents kept asking me about the girls in my class and if I was going to ask anyone to spring formal. I had never showed any inclination that girls interested me, but neither had I showed any interested in boys. Perhaps they thought I was just a late bloomer, someone content to just move through my school life without any kind of sexual expression. In truth, I had been experimenting with boys since I was ten years old or so, kissing, touching, and sometimes more in the hidden back rooms of other suburban houses and sometimes the woods that surrounded our development.

My family was Catholic, and we went to church every Sunday. We celebrated Easter and Christmas like it was the most important thing in the world, always keeping the religious aspects of the holiday front and center for the entire world to see. I can still picture the plastic manger and faded baby Jesus that adorned our front lawn every December.

I struggled with my sexuality like any good Christian. How could I be gay when it was a sin? The Bible said that two men shouldn’t lay down together. The weekly sermons spoke about the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman and the unholy movement by the government to bastardize the union of two holy souls and turn it into something evil. Our Pastor asked us to pray for all the confused souls touched by the devil, to ask God to heal them and remove the scales from their eyes. No man or woman was truly gay. They were confused or possessed by the devil. Love was meant to be between a man and woman, and a parent and child. Nothing more.

Fuck the church. I cried myself to sleep for months when I lost my virginity. I was terrified of going to hell. I asked God to forgive me for the horrible sin and begged him to keep the haunted abstractdevil away from me. Yet every single day the temptation struck again and again. It wasn’t long before I was back in another boy’s arms, kissing, sucking, and fucking myself into hell.

That’s when the dog showed up.

He was an utter black mutt with intelligent eyes. One day, he appeared in our back yard. My father saw him first and made the mistake of bringing the dog’s presence to our attention. I was fifteen, my sisters seventeen and twenty. We had never been allowed a pet before, so when the dog showed up in our yard it seemed like a sign. Perhaps God had brought him to us.

“Now, how did that thing get in the yard?” My father asked. He stood in front of the sliding patio door, hands on his hips, bottom lip pulled into his mouth while those perfect white teeth gnawed on it. He always did this when he was thinking hard.

“Someone must have left the gate open,” my mother suggested. “But why would a dog just go walking into our yard? It’s not as if there’s food back there for him. Chris, you did put the lid on the garbage last night, didn’t you?”

“Yes ma’am,” I responded. “I’m sure the gate was closed as well.” I knew the gate was closed. I was pressed up against it around eleven thirty last night while Billy Higgins rammed his tongue down my throat and gave me an awkward hand job. Billy was my neighbor and five years older than me. He had graduated high school with my oldest sister and dated one of her best friends. Billy was also a closeted homosexual who really liked to push the boundaries with me. He almost wanted to get caught, or at least he acted like it.

“That is peculiar,” my father mumbled. “Sarah, call animal control and have them pick the thing up before someone complains.”

“Dad,” my oldest sister, Cassandra, whined. “He’s probably scared to death. Can’t we just give him some water and see if he has any tags on him? I’m sure someone is looking for him.”

“The people from animal control will check for tags,” my father said. “We don’t know if this thing is dangerous. He could be rabid.”

While my oldest sister argued with my parents, I watched my middle sister, Bethany, slip out the sliding door and approach the dog. By the time my parents were aware of her actions, she was happily petting the dog and inviting him towards the house.

He was a large dog, some powerful breed that protected something or herded something else. I don’t really know much about dogs, but I did notice that this dog wasn’t ordinary. His eyes were far too intelligent to belong to an animal. He considered each of us with those dark eyes and walked up to my father, sat down near his feet, and offered him a paw.

My father looked strangely at the animal, his eyes glazed over and mouth hanging ajar. This lasted only a second, and then he laughed. He shook the dog’s paw, which may have been the first time my father had actually touched a dog, and even patted the beast on the top of his head. Immediately, my parents and sister were enamored with this animal. I couldn’t believe how quickly my dad flipped his script and decided the dog was not just safe, but welcome. He brought the black beast into the house and offered him water.

“Cassandra,” my father said while placing a bowl on the floor filled with water. “Go to the store and pick up some food.”

Just like that, we had a dog. It was unbelievable to me that my uber-conservative father would allow an animal, any animal, into his home. He wouldn’t allow so much as a hamster or parakeet before and yet, here he was, not just tolerant of a dog, but excited to have it. There was obviously something off about the beast, something different.

There were no tags on his collar and we never attempted to reach an owner. I know now the dog didn’t have one, unless it was Satan himself. A couple minutes later, the dog started talking to me.

I know how crazy it sounds. Wasn’t there a serial killer that said his neighbor dog told him to kill people? It wasn’t like that. The dog didn’t start to bark orders or tell me to eat people. He just kind of walked past me and whispered “faggot” before heading over to my father and rubbing his black coat against his legs. I stared after him, mouth agape and eyes unclear.

“Something wrong, Jason?” My father asked.

“No,” I lied. “I just can’t believe you let a dog into the house.”

Dear old dad just shrugged his shoulders like it was no big deal.


Charlie was waiting for me when I left the house for school that morning. He was just sitting on the front steps of his house smoking a cigarette and drinking a cup of coffee. He called me over when I left the house with Bethany.

“I swear that guy has a crush on you,” my sister joked. She had no idea I was gay, even though all of her friends did. I had made out with a couple of them and almost got caught sucking one of their cocks when Bethany came home early. She caught me on my knees in front of him, and I made up some bullshit about begging him for a ride somewhere. She believed me despite the guilty look on both our faces and the obvious erection in her friend’s pants.

“Can you blame him?” I chuckled before walking over to meet Charlie.

“My parents are out of town for the night,” he said. He looked over my shoulder and waved to my sister. “Sneak out of the house and come in the back door. We can play around all night.”

Did I tell you the man is pure evil?

Kisses and bloody thoughts…


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The Animal…Taking Matters into Your Hands…

As I mentioned, I’m highlighting the other fabulous authors of The Animal Collection with Booktrope Edge. I can tell you that in reading the various stories, we all have very different yet defined view of evil – human style. I’ve known this author for only a short period of time but she’s fabulous and has a very devious bent to her. These stories should give you goose bumps and require you to keep the lights on at night. While the concept of vampires and were-features is delicious, isn’t the understanding that a demon lives within all of us rather awe inspiring? I like to think so which is why the collection was born. Enjoy the fine and rather creative evil buried inside of Scarlet Darkwood.


Halloween was a perfect night for revenge. Crystelle Saunders turned her eyes upward, haunted abstractadmiring the full luminous moon perched in the starless, cloudless sky. She wrapped a sweater around her, warding off the crisp chill. She’d been planning this moment for years. Through the window of Scully’s Bar, she viewed her demon sitting on a bar stool, slugging back a beer. Joel Newhouse had been her never-ending source of pain and rage, filling her thoughts during waking hours, and haunting her dreams during sleep.

Tonight, she’d made the decision to end it all for good, driving three hours from college back to her hometown, a suburb outside of Boston. She’d been checking Joel out on the sly, keeping her distance, studying, learning his habits. As usual, on a Friday night, he sat drinking himself into a stupor. In the trunk of her car, she’d stowed everything for fulfilling her ultimate fantasy. The intent to carry out this plan burned inside her, unadulterated and unwavering.

Joel had thrown back his head, laughing at some joke. He pounded the table for another beer. He gawked at the girls walking by, the ones with blonde hair, curvy hips, and buxom tits, his tongue all but wagging as they gave him a knowing grin and kept on walking. How many of them had he fucked over the years? Crystelle checked out her physique in the light spilling from the bar.

Enough years had passed since he’d last had a good look at her. She’d traded in a heavy-set body, black bobbed hair, and gothic-style cosmetics for a svelte figure, trailing blonde mane, and a cover-girl face. From the looks he gave the girls, he’d give her tits two big thumbs up without blinking twice. If she played her cards right, she’d have him right where she wanted him. Unfortunately, sex figured in as part of the deal. Crystelle cringed a moment. To pull off a perfect plan, sometimes a person had to go through the motions. She pulled open the door, taking in a deep breath. Showtime.

The inside heat warmed her face. Loud chatter and the distant buzz of a blender blared in her ears. Luckily, no one had taken the seat next to Joel, and Crystelle made a beeline for it, planting her ass solidly on the seat. She tossed her hair back, sitting up straight, thrusting her boobs out enough to attract Joel’s attention. The bartender however, beat him to it.

“Hey, pretty lady. What’ll it be?”

Crystelle licked her lips. “Do you have a Halloween night special? Something that’s wicked good?”

“Coming right up.” The bartender flashed her a wide smile.

“Hey, Arnie, put her drinks on my tab.” Joel waved several five-dollar bills, showing he meant every word.

Just as she’d suspected, he was the typical sleazy pick-up guy, complete with a charming enough face, invasive gaze, and leering grin. His fingers tapped against the bar, eyes burning into her. Crystelle stared straight ahead, maintaining sight of him out of the corner of her eye. To her chagrin, he still wore the sterling silver ankh he’d stolen from her two weeks before graduation. In place of the chain, the piece hung from a thick black cotton cord. She had not forgotten the afternoon he and his buddy waylaid her in one of the back hallways after school. Joe egged him on, hot breath blowing against the back of her neck, holding her arms while Joel removed the pendant.

“This is cool. Where’d you get it?” Joel’s lips curled up in a nasty sneer.

“My favorite aunt gave it to me. Give it back, you damn thief.” She thrashed against Joe’s grip.

“Aw, your auntie gave it to you. Well, it’s mine now.” His eyes flashed a cold stare. “You tattle or do anything sneaky, I’ll do something way worse than this.” His hand traveled up her blouse, wiggling beneath her bra, clutching her nipple and rolling it hard between his thumb and forefinger. “A weird-ass chick like you probably likes her tit squeezed.” He moved in close to her face. “You let toads and snakes suck your tits? I’ve heard witches do that, you know?”

“You’re a sick bastard.” She kicked at him.

The Animal FInal Concept CoverHe dodged her, jumping to the side. “I bet you’re the sick one, sticking broomsticks up your pussy. Witches do that, too, don’t they? They cover it with some funny drug that makes them feel like they’re flying.”

Both guys laughed. When she struggled to free herself, Joe held her tighter.

Joel squeezed and flicked harder. “Just remember, any funny stuff, and you’ll get more than your tit squeezed.” Joe released his grip, following his friend out the back door. This violation, a badge of ultimate shame and self-loathing, topped the previous years of petty thievery and social shaming. Worse, she despised how he’d elicited an involuntary surge of arousal when he flicked his finger over her nipple.

Research on victims of assault, and several visits to a psychologist had helped relieve some of her confusion. Yes, she hated him with an intensity beyond measure; hated what he’d taken from her, more than mere possessions.

“I haven’t seen you here before. You new in town?” Joel turned around, facing her.

She blinked a few times, clearing her head. “Um, I’m just on my way back home. Thought I’d get one for the road.” She mustered up enough nerve, fixing her eyes on his. The hot blue burning in the sockets bore the mix of lust and booze.

“You’re one hot chick, and I’m not just saying that, either. I see pretty girls all the time.” Joel paid the bartender while Crystelle nursed on a green-colored cocktail with smoke made from dry ice swirling around the top. She closed her eyes, savoring the flavor and burn of alcohol as it slipped down her throat. At least the liquid would calm her just enough to get through small-talk with Joel, but gridiron intent and cunning would get her through the remainder of the evening.

“You come here often?” She grinned. “It’s cliché, but I couldn’t help asking.”

Joel’s lips spread into a proud smile. “All the time. Arnie’s got my back when it comes to good drinks and hot women, don’t you Arn?”

Arnie shook his head, cheesy grin on his lips, and turned back to blending another cocktail.

“Dude sends the chicks my way. I get a piece when I want it. Know what I mean?” Joel elbowed Crystelle, a smug expression crawling over his face.

“So you pretty much have your pick of women.” She nodded, taking a sip of her cocktail.

“All the time.” He winked, chugging back another swallow of alcohol.

The glittering ankh in the bar light mesmerized her, holding her gaze as if under a spell. Or was it the alcohol and adrenalin? She fixated on the piece, riveted, bringing the cocktail to her lips with the smooth motions of an automaton. “I like your pendant. Where did you get it?” Did she really just ask that?

Joel’s eyes widened. “Oh, this?” He thought a moment, fingering the pendant. “Just a gift from a favorite aunt. She liked me a lot.”

The sight of his fingers caressing the ankh broke her trance, and a flash of anger ricocheted through her. All the years of torment flooded through her, reminding her why she had returned home. Crystelle viewed Joel, studying his features, the dark blonde hair, molten eyes, and crooked grin. He hadn’t been bad looking in high school; didn’t look too bad now. Her gaze dropped below the belt line. She licked her lips, rubbing the rim of her glass.

He let out a sigh, leaning toward her. His breath bore the stench of a night spent drinking. “You want a piece of me? I’m all in, if you are.” Lips curling into a lusty smile, he sat back on his stool, satisfied.

“You’re on.” Crystelle stared at the rows of liquor bottles, nursing the last of her cocktail. Her head hummed with a light buzz, but she still had her wits about her. “You up for a girl like me? I like it wild and kinky.” She turned, another surge of bravery taking hold, and smiled. “But I bet you’re not that wild, are you?”

“I’m pretty wild! I like a girl who gets creative.”

“I’m creative.”

“Let’s go.” Joel clapped the empty mug on the counter. “Hey, Arn, here’s your money.” He plunked down several fives. “My lady and I are off for a night on the town.”

“I’d watch it if I were you. He’s a scamp.” Arnie laughed, swiping up the bills. “See ya around, bud.”

Crystelle, trapped in Joel’s arm, strolled out of the bar with her eager, willing, precious mystical fireman of the hour. So far, so good.


Joel scrutinized the graveyard. “Oh man, you do like it wild and kinky, don’t you? I’ve done it in lots of places, but never like this.”

“It’s Halloween. Live a little.”

In the distance, the spotlights from the high school football stadium illuminated the sky. The muffled sound of cheers and the referee’s whistle split the air. All those people so close, yet so far away from the dead who lay moldering in coffins. Inside, Crystelle prided herself in this accomplishment, a plan coming together. Over her shoulder, she carried a suede bag holding everything she needed for her moment with Joel. In the other hand, she carried a lantern with a large pillar candle.

“Here’s a good spot.” She placed the bag carefully on the ground next to a stone slab outfitted with rusty iron rings on each corner. The open space held a silvery glow from the moon. Candlelight and moonlight made the perfect combination for this ritual. She’d longed for this moment and had planned it down to the last minute detail.

“You ready?” She shifted her gaze from Joel to the slab, and back again.

“I’m more than ready. I bought you a drink, so I deserve it.” He chuckled, pulling her close.

Crystelle wrapped her arms around his neck and cooed in his ear as she licked his earlobe. “Trust me, you’ll get what you deserve.”

She guided him down on the slab. “Let me do this first.” Reaching inside her bag, she pulled out some cuffs.

“Are you one of those chicks who like bondage? Haven’t tried that before, either.” Joel lay back as she secured his ankles to the rings.

“I’ll make sure this night stays with you forever. Besides, I don’t want you trying to get away.”

“And miss out on a babe like you? Not a chance.” Joel obliged, watching every move.

She straddled his hips and unbuttoned his shirt, catching the vision of his eyes narrowing with lust. Lowering her head, she ran her tongue in circles on one of his nipples, prodding at the nub.

He let out a sigh and stroked her hair. “I like a woman who knows what she wants.”

Glancing up, she smiled, finishing off her tender touches with a firm bite. He flinched. She played with the other nipple, ending with another bite so firm he winced and cried out. “Easy, hon. Getting a little carried away, there.” He chuckled.

“Your turn. Something tells me you like playing with some hot nips.” She slipped off her top, remaining in her bra. The chill didn’t bother her. “I’ll let you enjoy the rest.”

With a greedy rush, Joel removed the bra, gazing through bleary eyes at her chest. “I’m not so drunk that I can’t appreciate a pair of great tits, and yours are gorgeous.” He reached up, clasping on to both sensitive nubs of flesh. Crystelle closed her eyes and sucked in her breath, telling herself over and over why she allowed him to touch her. She fought back the memory of that hateful day he’d taken what didn’t belong to him. After all, what Joel had said about witches was the truth. The pagan ways had always intrigued her, but tonight, she embraced the dark side.

Thank you Miss Scarlet

Kisses and leave your lights on…


Coming in a couple of short weeks

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