An Excerpt from The Shepherd Into Hell. Upcoming Horror Novel by Joseph Norris III

Excerpt from upcoming Novel,  

     The Shepherd Into Hell,

                 by Joseph Norris 

(A Collective Press Client-@CollPressCJ)

“The miasma of death filters from the car, along with the werewolf’s triumphant howl, warning and announcing the horrors yet to come.”

Check out his Facebook pages 

@The Shepherd Into Hell 

@Writetoscare on Facebook and Twitter

My Exquisite Pain

Daylight chased me, again

Caught me Juggling universes in my head,

So I put it upon the pillow to rest

It was sweet, and awful, and blameless, and contrary.

Red hot fire, and sun.

Candy coated relief, sweetness suckled.

What an illusion!

The chase continued, undeterred.

Goose down and feathered warmth

Provided no security from the psychic soldiers.

Planetary casualties, abound, and lying around, beseeched me.

Why won’t you fight for me?
The hairs on my neck singed,

I’d been caught, again. Hope for rain.

Who could have known

My universes were so vast, so quick to replicate?

Juggle, juggle, spin the plates.

Red hot fire, and sun.

I beckon you today, with whispered invitations that shout.

“How exquisite you are, my pain”.

I shall carry YOU for awhile

In all my beautiful agony, in all your effete arrogance .

I dance inside the raindrops, searing and cheering.

Daylight in my crosshairs.

Vizionairee

©2017

TheWriteContest.com 2017 Winner: Horror Genre

                

                                                    PEELERS 

       BY JULIET STAVELEY

 

She sat against the laundry basket in the bathroom, holding a piece of birthday cake. It was a good room, she thought – no windows, a sturdy lock on the door… the old-fashioned bolt kind. Nothing in, nothing out.

She tried to block out the unnerving gurgling sounds coming from the garden by focusing on her hands. Apart from the trembling, they felt normal. Maybe she’d got away with it? Maybe that was the gift from mama and papa: Her deformed DNA wrapped in shiny paper.

Her mind could not, or rather did not want to process the events of the last few days. Just days; that’s how quickly it had gone from Tatiana Orlova’s history lecture on Tuesday afternoon to, to this. She smiled faintly, remembering half-hearted notes about the Revolution and flirting with Leo; everything so beautifully bland and steady. And then the scream. A scream so loud it bounced off the corridor walls. They all ran out to see Erik Belinsky, recognisable only by his Gorillaz satchel, trying to… she forced the image away, down the plughole of the cracked sink. Keep it simple: cake, hands, patience. She would know soon for sure.

According to the newsfeed on her phone, special forces were continuing the shoot-on-sight policy; it was more humane than watching the ‘slow peel’. Yet the savage shadow had grown, stretching its merciless edges across the globe. Their own Ministry still didn’t have a clue. A nation of brilliant scientists, and all the remaining boffins could do was fumble about with petri dishes, failed antidotes and desperate measures. She had a theory though. And every way she looked at it, it made sense. She just needed to test it and social media the hell out of it.

But first, a better memory floated in. Her first time in hospital, fussed over, feeling special, bloodworks confirmed, epinephrine delivered, along with a Sony PSP from babushka. It was a good trade: a few minutes of swelling and deep panic for a lifetime of the Sims. Her reaction had been so severe that mama had obliterated the apartment before she came home, removed all possible suspects, scared that even one pernicious particle would set it off again. The cutting irony of that was not missed on her now.

Things settled down afterwards. Normal for the rest of the family at least, much to her brother Pavel’s delight. Mama had made two versions of everything, every day, even the birthday cake. Why had she never thanked her properly for that? For all those hours of love proved in the kitchen? Her shoulders slumped in a mix of self-disgust and sadness.

With nothing else left, she took a big bite of her cake. Strictly speaking, it was not her cake, it was the other one. Chocolate oozed around her tongue; wicked satin richness. She realised just how much she had missed the moistness of the real thing – her alternatives were similar to chewing on an old rug. She closed her eyes and savoured the dark and the dark.

The gurgling outside was replaced by a howl, far too soprano, like a wolf caught in a snare trap. Not long now until the sinew stage. Oh God. Tears splashed down onto the willow green tiles between toes and crumbs. She prayed it would be quick for Pavel. Prayed he would find papa’s rifle in the shed and still have the strength to use it. Or a chain saw, hammer, even a large rock.

The tears kept coming – vast waves of shock and grief crashing around her, filling in the gaps in the grouting, trickling down the shower walls. She cried for her family, for the two, soon to be four victims in her home, for the fact she hadn’t had sex with Leo, or with anyone, for all the things she would never do or be, for all the people she would never see again, for the twisted piles of glutinous, pulsing waste that used to be friends and strangers. She felt sick but she knew she had to finish. One bite at a time, between irregular, sobbing breaths.

The itching came quicker than she expected. Perhaps her disease speeded things up. She hoped that was the case. Deep down itching. Hot, red, impossibly tempting. It felt so good to scratch until the skin split. She knew she didn’t have long before the pain arrived, pain so intense she would rip at her eyes, pull the muscles off her face, peel her entire body with blunted nails to make it stop. She forced her now-bloody fingers to tap on the Twitter icon and typed quickly as her mind began to smudge. She was halfway through a Facebook post when the spasms hit.

In a different room, in a different country, a keyword alert gave a chirpy beep and flashed on screen. Another one had worked it out then. Not many but still, no point leaving it there in case there was ever any comeback. One of the chosen accessed the mainframe and brought the Tweet up, deleting it as he read:

THE EVIL IS IN THE GRAIN


©2017

Author Juliet Staveley has enjoyed a career as a print Journalist, in various magazines and newspapers. She has also conducted several Workshops for potential, and new Authors.

Stay-tuned for more from this exciting Author! Like, comment and share!

Random Musings and Bronchitis

​Random Musings, while fighting annual Bronchitis.

Those of you who exercise, walk, run, swim, etc., understand when I say I’ve hit the wall. Perhaps it’s this fever, and the lack of O2 in my lungs, but I feel like my mental, and emotional gas tanks are empty.

Fortunately, I’ve been known to run on fumes. 

Swimming and Figure Skating, sometimes on the same day, holding down a weekday, and weekend job, and still going to school, acting, singing, etc. Work, grad school, two businesses, blah, blah, blah. FUMES!

I remember being on the BCC swim team, like it was yesterday. I SUCKED! (LOL-SORRY, GUYS) My AWESOME teammates NEVER let me feel that way. NOT ONCE. During a meet, they would yell, scream, and cheer me right into fourth place (if I was lucky), like I’d won the race. I was swimming on their energy. When I got out of the pool, I got hugs, high fives, etc. It made me wanna go harder, and faster. I wanted them to know IT MATTERED, that THEY MATTERED to me, too. Every once in a while, I’d look up in the bleachers, at practice, and see my Daddy (between jobs), had come to watch. He saw me come in third at the MSA’s, too. He picked me up and hugged me, afterward, saying, “that’s Daddy’s Baby!”. One of his MANY sacrifices.

My Mom was at every play, recital, PTA MEETING, etc. There used to be an outdoor ice rink in downtown Baltimore, at the BGE building, on Lexington and Liberty Streets. One night, my Mom and I were downtown, it had to be 32°, 25°, with the wind chill, but the rink was empty, and open for business. I BEGGED, “PLEASE, MOMMA, JUST FIVE MINUTES. I’ve never been on the ice alone”. So, my Mom, with her thin coat, no gloves, no hat, in the freezing wind of downtown, let me skate for over an hour. It was the most amazing feeling of natural freedom I’ve ever experienced. Just me, no coat, wind in my hair, sailing across the ice. I recall doing a perfect spiral (finally), and I heard her saying, “Oh, Baby, that’s beautiful. I didn’t know you could do THAT! So graceful”. I think I even managed my first toe loop, too. I practiced even harder, after that night. Inspired!

Momma was frozen, when we finally got home. ME? I was as happy as a butcher’s dog. She said she’d never seen me “let loose”, and just skate, and that it was beautiful to watch. Our happiness. She also said that was the cause of my annual Bronchitis, me skating with no coat.  It was worth it. My version of the Olympic Dream. One of MANY examples of her sacrifice.

Well, I got thinking that any time I was running on fumes, one, or both of my parents were there to cheer me on. Someone was ALWAYS there, saying “You can do it…. just a little further… Try it…”  Things have certainly changed. I’m older, have more trepidations, my parents, and my Fred are with the Lord…. No cheers, just fumes. 

So, how does one keep going? How do u just jump, sans net? Moreover, why is it so easy to figure things for others, and not yourself.

God is now, and had ALWAYS BEEN my greatest inspiration. He loves me more than anyone, wants me to be happy, and can refuel my tank like nothing else. He places amazing people in my life. So, what’s the problem? What’s the point, Cryss? 

Glean what u will. Told u it was random musings. Should u get anything, know that I’ve always got enough to cheer you on, even if it’s fumes. Thanks to those who’ve patted my back, even when I didn’t realize.

An Abusive Shadow

On fighting my shadow:

It wins. It always wins.

How is that possible? What does my shadow know of me, that it can strategize so well? How does it render me helpless with such ease?

The punches are brutal. Fast. Quick. Painful. Lingering. 

My shadow smiles knowingly; teasing, bullying, taunting….

Sometimes, I don’t even fight back.

A Great Gift, and The Delayed Opening: No Wrapping Required

Over a decade ago (2000-2002?), my Cousin and I were talking about his commitment to God, his new Church, and his new found love for Christ. I admitted to him that, while I attended Church frequently, prayed, tithed, etc., I never really read the Word. He suggested that I get a Life Application Bible (Tyndale). He said it really have an excellent explanation of the Word.

Maybe as much as a two years later, I was out with my Mommiekins, riding aimlessly, as we did on occasion.  We came upon a local Christian store called Lifeway.   I said, “let’s pop in and take a look”, as it had been some years for me, since I’d been. As we browsed, I recalled my conversation with my Cousin, and went looking for The Bible he suggested. Not only did I get one, but I got one for Mommiekins, too. Mine in black, hers in burgundy.

I guess you’re thinking I went home and read, and was so enlightened, my world changed, etc. Nope. I did not begin actively reading the Word until 2016. It started with the You Version Bible App on my phone. I installed it, and began to get daily verses. I started posting the ones I enjoyed most to my Facebook page. As much as I comprehended the verses, I needed to read the entire Scripture, in order to ascertain the context of the message. The more I read, the more I enjoyed, but there still existed a disconnect- How does this apply to my daily life? That’s when I remembered the Life Application Bible.

Each verse, with its explanation began to come alive for me. I could reconcile the ancient text with my everyday life. WOW! Now, I crave it. Sometimes, eerily, I feel like I’m reading a current news story, as a great many things are still the same. There are wars, and rumors of wars, false prophets, terrorism, racism, people turning away from God, and attempting to justify it with His Word….. Mommiekins was right; “there’s nothing new under the sun”. 

God’s Word is also the written manifestation of promises that will never be broken; promises of salvation, of wisdom, of peace, of joy. It’s teeming with examples of His protection, His teachings, the forgiveness of sin, through Jesus, the Christ, and of His unwavering love for each us. Each and every word, verse, chapter, and book of The Bible is the heart and soul of God. The Word is our life’s blueprint, and our battle plan for defeating the enemy. It’s the place with which He wishes to commune with us. How can we live without it? How did I, but for His Grace and Mercy?

I thank God for using my Cousin to lead me to His Word. Thank you, Cousin Glenn, for being obedient to the Holy Spirit, and mentioning the Life Application Bible, all those years ago.

I guess you’re thinking, ” well it took long enough for you to get it!,” Normally, I’d agree, except God’s timing is always perfect. Every good and perfect gift comes from God, no wrapping needed.

Vizionairee ©2017