Steampunk Tales #6: “A Town of Crows” – (eBooks & Kindle)

The scarecrows are finally here!!! Steampunk horror, Neo-Victorian literature, and pulp adventure and mayhem during the post-Civil War. A tale with a twist.  An invasion of epic proportion! A novelette! Characters we care about, and an unexpected plotline. Hundreds of pages worth of Penny Dreadfuls for your pocket: PDF Format, iPad and iPhone, Mobipocket, and through Amazon Kindle! Featuring more than 500+ pages of fiction. Only $1.99 in most formats (Kindle prices may vary).

Steampunk Horror and the Post-Civil War!

Digital Novelettes and Thrills and Chills!

THE SCARECROWS ARE HERE!!!

"A Town of Crows" by Lawrence Dagstine

*eBOOKS & KINDLE:*

Apple iPhone – iPad – iPod Touch – PDF Version – Amazon Kindle

“A TOWN OF CROWS” by Lawrence R. Dagstine

www.steampunktales.com

Hurry Up! Buy Now!

AUTHOR LINE-UP: G.D. Falksen, Joe Goodson, Lawrence Dagstine, Katherine Isham, Arkwright, Karl Custer, Larry C. Kay, John F. Montagne, Andrew Singleton.  Cover Art by Brian Bowes.  Steampunk Marketing, Evelyn Kriete.

Past Dagstine-Featured Editions!

"The Freak from the Past" by Lawrence Dagstine

Author’s Note: ‘probably one of my scariest novelettes to date…’

Other New Entries: “eBooks & Kindle” and “Magazines”

Lawrence Dagstine: “Happy Halloween 2009…”

TRICK OR TREAT

HAPPY HALLOWEEN 2009

from Lawrence Dagstine

(I love scarecrows; had to go with a scarecrow theme this year)

However, in case you love zombies, werewolves, vampires, and lizards…

Still Available from Sam’s Dot Publishing & The Genre Mall:

 

http://www.genremall.com/anthologiesr.htm#freshblood

Lawrence Dagstine: “Classroom of the Dead…”

Welcome to DAGSTINE’S HALLOWEEN! Did you ever wonder what it would be like to teach undead children? Did you ever wonder what the scientific, psychological, and moral implications of something so eerie would be like? I mean, dead kids with some thought processes still intact being taught and experimented on.  

Ever since 28 Days Later, every few years zombies have this funny way of making a comeback (perhaps too much).  From the Dawn of the Dead remake to Diary of the Dead and Land of the Dead.  From foreign masterpieces like [.REC] to hilarious films like Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland.  It’s as if we truly are a “zombiefied” culture.  For this year’s fiction sample and Halloween story, I’ve decided to present to you one of my more widely accepted tales — mags ranging from Necrotic Tissue to Atomjack  — entitled, Classroom of the Dead.  Have a wonderful holiday and enjoy!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN 2009 – FREE FICTION

CLASSROOM OF THE DEAD

by

Lawrence R. Dagstine

The room was huge.  A cavernous, old turn-of-the-century affair, with twelve-foot-high ceilings and magnificent, large windows that looked out on absolutely nothing worth seeing: a brick wall and the smokestack of the chemical plant next door, a well-sized piece of land fenced off and secluded from outsiders—most called it a playground for the stiffs—and it was just how the government wanted it.  A hefty chunk of the room had been partitioned off with gray steel industrial shelving units, used to store the supplies of safety such a learning environment would require.  The T-shaped area that was left belonged to substitute teacher, Howard Tressy. 

Windows ran the length of the wide, long arm of the T, where the chairs and work desks were; the narrow, shorter arm of the T contained the blackboard on one wall and the titanium emergency hatch at the opposite end.  It was an adequate amount of space—he had taught in more cramped, dangerous conditions—but it was a quirky arrangement.  The blackboard was useless because it couldn’t be seen from the work area, and the children didn’t have the skills required to pay full attention to it anyway.  And short of standing like a guard at the junction of the two arms of the T, he saw that he could not monitor the hatch.  Most eccentric, and morbid, however, was the government’s decision to combine a classroom for undead children with regards to furthering their education even after their pulses stopped.

They called it HOS (short for hostile, or Homicidal Outburst Syndrome).  You know, one of those biological “Oh, shit, it’s the End of Days” diseases which turned a whole nation of little boys and girls into half brain-dead monsters, flooding them with super strength and unbelievable rage.  It was to be one of the first official self-contained classrooms in the state of Colorado for zombies, ages twelve and under, who could be instructed and mentally reared since the No Kill Act had been passed in 2018.  For Howard, walking back into a schoolroom with musty children that early September morning, having been gone from teaching almost three years, had provoked a sense of intense déjà vu.  Looking at the twenty or so decomposed faces, it seemed as if he had been away forever and yet had never left at all. 

He put down his briefcase and studied the features of each of them.  Their pale white eyes caused a shiver to run up his spine to his shoulders.  As a precautionary measure, those who were extra vicious were handcuffed to their chairs, and if they were caught escaping or attacking the teacher, an armed guard, usually a Marine, would hear an alarm go off and hurry inside, then blow the ravenous child’s head off. 

The six through eight year olds came with the kind of profile that was almost a cliché: borderline death IQ, short to almost non-existent attention span, no verbal skills beyond a grunt or a moan, overaggressive and violent behavior when in large numbers.  In his entire short career as a substitute, Howard achieved virtually nothing.  Yes, some could talk.  But most could neither read nor write, or understand even the most basic of math.

The nine through twelve year olds had succumbed to the HOS sickness quite some time ago; it was obvious in their pale, sunken cheeks.  They had spent virtually all of their dead time in confinement facilities or walking the red earth.  Their early days were horrible—a litany of bloodshed and brutality.  And while it would take more than the joy of love and learning to conquer their fateful disease, they were diagnosed as being too unstable to ever make a return to society, and had a very poor prognosis for improvement.

Nervous, Howard said, “Children, uhh, inside your desks you will find textbooks.  Open up to the chapter marked PLAGUES.” The school was required to have a certain amount of copies of the same particular book on hand, and he saw that only a select few had the capacity to pick them up. “Start reading amongst yourselves under THIS DAY IN HISTORY: 2012.  I’ll be with you all in a few moments.  Before the day is out, I’ll be testing you on this.” 

Putting his pencils out and searching himself now, he realized he hadn’t meant to be teaching again.  He’d been abroad, living between Baltimore and Bangkok, working part-time as a book translator, and he intended to return to his life in the East, to his little straw shack, his laid-back life and no worries if a zombie was going to turn a corner and jump out at him.  However, a phone call and an insurmountable pay hike from the government—and a less than enthusiastic divorce settlement—had brought him back to the States for good, and before he knew it, he was looking for an apartment outside of Denver. 

A friend of a friend in a top-secret division of the DOD had rang him one afternoon.  He’d never met the military scientist, but he’d heard of him and his breakthroughs in “awakening the mummified cerebrum” in undead adolescents, or, “we mobilize them, you instruct them”.  They had a problem of their own with a new school, it seemed, and since they had both held positions in the Pentagon, maybe they could help one another out.  One of their special education teachers had been taken ill—actually, she’d been eaten at recess—and there was only two weeks left before the beginning of the second trial school year, and they had no replacement.  They asked Howard if he would be interested in substituting. 

No thanks, he said immediately.  He wanted to be able to lead a zombie-free life the instant his wife cleared out.  But the woman wasn’t easily moved, and finding himself almost penniless and without a roof over his head after the lawyers caught up to him, Howard finally said, Okay, I’ll do it.

Reminiscing, he sat down at his desk, the students in the back row frowning and groaning at him.  He was staring out the gated window at the smokestack, dull and purple-gray in the late summer sunshine, when a ceiling light in back of the room went on and the hatch slid open.

“Mr. Tressy?” a female voice called.  He couldn’t see who it was from where he was sitting, so he rose.  An undead girl, deceased at maybe six or seven, was holding a torn Dora the Explorer doll.  Her head and neck was twisted and decayed, practically snapping what was left of her upper spinal alignment and sliding off her shoulder, yet she still managed to poke her head through the hatch and around the left side of the room. “Another one of your students has arrived,” the woman that followed her said. “The parents are by the side of the road.”

“What?” Howard was confused. “Are you the principal?”

“No, of course not,” she said. “There are no principals here.  I’m just a facilitator.” She walked the edge of the room carefully, so as not to rile up the students.  Almost two-dozen pairs of eyes were on her.  Finally, she reached the desk and extended a hand. “Dorothy Wilkins,” she added.  An army brat with an M-16 waited at the foot of the room for her.  He chewed on a saturated toothpick with a smug face.

“Pleasure,” Howard said. “Don’t mind me, it’s been a while.”

“Oh, really? I gather they didn’t give you the refresher course then.”

“No, they did,” he assured her. “Back in Baltimore.  It’s just that… Well, I’ve never seen an arrangement like this so far out.  It’s in the middle of nowhere.” He glanced down at the shy but mindless little girl who, like the others, had fine hair that was now brittle and streaked with gray.  Her right eye was hanging halfway out of its socket, a few tethered veins and a single optical nerve holding it in place. “And what’s your name, darling?” he knelt down and asked her, trying to break the aura of creepiness surrounding him, and blend in as best he could.

This would be Nancy,” Dorothy said, as the girl smiled wickedly through torn cheek flesh and hid behind her legs. “And if she puts what’s left of her thinking cap on, she’s good at numbers.”

“Is she now?” Howard was impressed.  Mildly.

Then Dorothy smiled herself. “Why don’t you come with me? I’ll show you around and make you feel at home in our special school.”

“But the children,” he said, pointing, “they’ll—”

“Oh, they’re going nowhere.  Think of them as well-behaved dogs when you’re out of the room.”

Howard nodded. “All right, then.”

Dorothy brought him to a much older building than the first one, part of an underground complex which looked abandoned since the late half of the 20th century.  Only it wasn’t abandoned.  Much of its interior was no longer used principally as a school.  Instead, it housed a few administrative offices and a training facility for young cadets.  The empty classrooms on the first floor were turned into an indoor shooting range—targeting practice and termination for the misbehaved or hopeless case (roughly one in every three), and to help coach newer soldiers in the art of zombie killing. 

The scientists had the second floor, to work, sleep, and eat—they even had a recreation room with pinball machines, a pool table, and a dartboard—and as Dorothy gave him a quick tour of the upstairs, he noticed a few doors marked, EXPERIMENTAL TRIALS, GROWTH CHAMBER, and BIOFEEDBACK.  The rest of the rooms were used for storage.  In fact, there were only a half-dozen real classrooms there: the one he was going to be teaching in and a few turned laboratory two floors below, in the basement.  Save for the occasional gun-toting soldier passing through, the building’s halls were hauntingly quiet on this first day of school.

Sublevel, however, he realized that the elevator system and intertwining tunnels connected with the old smoke-piping plant next door, and this interested him very much.  Every corridor they turned down there were blue steel walls, reinforced metal or concrete, low rocky ceilings, and unusual looking cameras mounted above them.  So unusual that he decided to question his tour guide on it. “Just wondering, Ms. Wilkins, but what is this place for?”

“The cameras got you?” she asked.

“Well, yes, I do find it unusual that you have this place so…so monitored…”

“One can never be too safe when it comes to a HOS casualty, Mr. Tressy.  After all, these are not ordinary children we’re dealing with.”

“But I’ve taught HOS victims in the past,” he explained, “and though the tutoring sessions and trials were costly and much to the government’s disadvantage in containing the disease, security and surroundings were still never like this.”

“Oh, that’s right,” Dorothy recalled. “They had you handing out leaflets and crayons from a fold-up table in a giant hangar, a bunch of men in gasmasks and white suits patrolling the corners and exits.” They passed an opening in the tunnel’s rock face, a small exterior shell of a room with no door to bar the outside but plenty of digital monitors and equipment on the inside. “We do things much differently here.  Have a look for yourself.”

Howard stepped inside briefly.  Two men in gray jumpsuits and donning headsets swiveled around a vast circle of television screens, wired through the rocks and pipelines above.  One man took notes in front of a microphone and recording panel, while the other wheeled back and forth mumbling things like “progress” and “stages”. 

Howard moved closer.  He turned to Dorothy and said, “Is all this for real?”

“Why, of course,” Dorothy answered.

Howard turned back and observed the two men at work.

The first man backslapped his coworker on the arm and said, “Hey, look at this.  Monitor no. 34.  We have us a live one, a thinking one.”

“Get out of here,” the second man said. “He’s scratchin’ for maggots again, I tell ya.”

“No, look!”

On-screen, at one of many different angles, a moldy looking child slowly went into his desk and pulled out a crayon and a composition notebook, studying the two objects carefully.  Searching for some kind of meaning, it was as if he wanted to know what they were for.

“That’s my class,” Howard whispered. “That’s one of my students.”

Dorothy smiled. “Yes.”

“I remember gray shelving and a closet there. You mean that’s a hidden camera?”

“One of many, Mr. Tressy.  Also, you have the key to that closet at all times.   There’s a shotgun and a first aid kit in case of an emergency.”

Howard was astonished.

Finally, the first man in front of him said, “That’s the Tarhouse brat.  He’s picking up the crayon, Harry.  Look, he’s opening the book and starting to scrawl.  He’s making circles!”

The second man couldn’t believe his eyes.  Hurrying for the panel, he said, “Holy shit, you’re right! We do have a thinker.” He brought up a school record on the screen in front of him, turned on the microphone, and started taking notes: “Student identification no. 42501236… Name: Billy Tarhouse.  Deceased: St. Louis, Missouri, 2017.  Noted age and race at time of death and reanimation, approximately eight years old and Caucasian.  Child has picked up a writing instrument without teacher present, and appears to be drawing.  At this stage, I’d say motor skills are barely level three.  But it’s a positive sign.  I repeat, there is progress.”

After he’d heard all that, Howard stepped away in disgust. “I don’t want to be here anymore,” he told Dorothy.

“Well, we could—”

“No, Ms. Wilkins.  This is too disturbing.  Take me elsewhere.”

They walked the remainder of the underground halls in silence, until they reached a secure metal door with a window in it.  With a dull expression on his face, Howard quickly peeked at what was going on inside the room.  Much to his surprise an officer, in standard military uniform, was sitting down behind a large table.  His eyes were glued to a teenage girl, tall, thirteen, maybe fourteen, standing with only half her skull visible against the far wall.  To the military official’s credit, a scientist arrived on the scene from a buzz-in door on the opposite side.  They both studied the unfortunate subject, and, while she hadn’t quite managed to shed the undead image, she’d obviously tried.  Her rank face was covered in makeup.  With the help of others, prosthetics and lengthy but seedy looking clothes had replaced the skeletal parts of her body.

“What else can she do?” the uniformed man asked.

The scientist said, “Why don’t you ask her yourself?”

“Will she cooperate this time?”

“Much of the exterior fractures and impact holes are small,” the scientist pointed out. “You’ll also notice her left temporal lobe and hypothalamus are still intact.  So, yes, I don’t see why not.”

The uniformed man took the scientist’s clipboard, then faced the girl again.  Her features, for a HOS victim, were decent; her oozing brain matter, however, was another story.  She’d clipped the cracked pieces of her skull back with large barrettes so that it would stay in place on her head.  Shocked, Howard wondered if it would be enough to convince the officer for whatever purpose his visit required.

Finally, the man nodded. “You look good,” he said. “But can you braid what’s left of your hair back or something?”

Sitting down across from him, she pulled strands of her hair around over her shoulder and began to braid it.  She never spoke.

“Are you quite well now, Tracy?” the scientist inquired when he reintroduced the military official to her. “We don’t want another incident.”

The uniformed man glanced in the scientist’s direction, a questioning expression on his face; it occurred to him that she might have little or no memory of that previous occasion.  Then he gave her a knowing look. “He means when I was last here.  You know, last semester.”

She grinned. “Yes, I remember,” she replied.

Howard was taken aback.  He wondered where this girl’s intelligence and ability to speak and think came from; even more perplexing, how had these scientists succeeded where he had failed?

Through the window, Tracy smiled in a friendly way. “I know where I saw you last,” she said. “You were laying on the ground, protecting that teacher.”

A flush of color filled the uniformed man’s face. 

And of course, there was the scientist and Howard.

“Your men all came outside at once.  You shot me.  Over and over.”

“Are you sure about that, Tracy?” The man looked up and said, “This isn’t working.  She’s still too corpselike.”

The scientist disagreed. “I beg to differ.  Here, feel her arm.  Touch it.”

“I’m not going to touch no dead girl!”

Touch it.  Feel her arm.  See? See how warm her arm is.  Dead people are cold, aren’t they? Feel how warm she is.  A part of her brain is still sending signals to other parts of her body.”

“Get her away from me!”

Suddenly, she shrieked, “It’s the dead teacher! That dead teacher is here…” She pointed toward the door with Howard staring through it. “She wants her old job back!”

“Tracy, she’s not exactly dead.  Now calm down,” the scientist ordered.

“Who’s that?” the uniformed man asked.

“He’s our new substitute,” the scientist replied. “Ms. Wilkins is giving him a go of the place.”

“No, she’s dead!” The zombie girl shouted. “I killed her.  I made the teacher go away.  Now she’ll be back!”

To say that the two men inside were looking horrified by this point was a vast understatement, Howard thought.  From the other side of the door, even his expression was more horrified than before.  The girl was frozen, unable to pull herself away from staring at him, a maniacal little smile repeatedly coming to her lips.  And though the trancelike connection was eventually broken, she seemed to confuse him for this other teacher.

Dorothy put her hand on his shoulder. “She’s a special case,” she said. “We should go.”

Howard moved away from the window.

“How do you keep them so calm?” he asked. “A girl as challenged as that one should have attacked the door the moment she spotted me.”

“Every morning we prep them with mega-dosages of tranquilizers,” Dorothy said. “Their parents must sign confidentiality agreements and permission forms before the administering begins.  And even then, we have a special selection process as to who gets into one of our classes.  Naturally, those we feel are most gifted are bumped up to the top of the list.”

They took the elevator back to the first floor, and it was here, on their way back to the other building, that Howard stopped to gather his thoughts. “Ms. Wilkins, I never signed up for this,” he said. “I realize not all HOS victims are unique, and all cases can’t be alike, but—”

Dorothy shushed him. “Mr. Tressy, did you know that a child’s brain grows until age twenty? After that, adult brains become atrophic and shrink.  A young person’s brain, however, produces a certain amount of cells and neurotransmitters, and often well through college.  Even in death, these kids sometimes maintain serotonin levels equal to living people.” 

“Listen, I’ve taught zombies before, but never within a factory or military science installation.  What could a child, dead or alive, possibly learn in an environment where purple smog and constant monitoring is the everyday norm?”

“Ah, I knew you’d question that,” she said, “and it turned three other teachers off by the position.  The reason we keep this school next to a chemical mill is not by accident.  The discolored remnants you see coming out of that smokestack, the smog as you call it, isn’t just some industrial pollution.  The science team is releasing a mile-wide toxin that gives parents their wishes and children a second chance at life.  We’re giving mothers and fathers peace of mind, and kids the opportunity of learning and adapting to society.  The toxin tries to tap into a dormant cell in young people.  This cell has the potential of multiplying into millions more just like it, only at a slower pace than the living.  A thinking cell.  It doesn’t work for all of them, naturally.  It’s all behavioral when you observe these youngsters together in one room, and you get to look beyond their musty features.  Speech, logic, reason—in the right-fueled environment, undead children can be host once again to these traits, and many more they picked up whilst among the living.  So yes, in a way, they are like guinea pigs.  But we’re trying to help these guinea pigs, because we feel they deserve an education.”

She reached forward and gave his hand a quick, clammy shake for good luck.  Howard was glancing around nervously, but he still regarded the facilitator’s words.  While his take on the school by now was not precisely negative, neither was it positive.  Once more he studied the environment with the kind of unabashed scrutiny not usually tolerated among substitutes.  Every muscle in his body was taut, and when the woman opened the hatch for him, a strange silence followed.  It was almost as if he didn’t know what to do once he stepped back inside the room.

“You’ll be fine,” she said, urging him forward. “You won’t know unless you try.”

The door sealed behind him and, like an hour earlier, he found himself alone with his new class.

The girl with the twisted head and neck, Nancy, walked over to him.  She seemed the most sedate of the bunch. “What should we do, Mr. Teacher?” she asked, looking up and tugging at his pant leg.

He smiled down at her. “Ah, a genuine talker.  Let’s just leave things and get acquainted for today,” he told her, his mind still gazing off. “Perhaps we’ll feel more like learning tomorrow.” After that, he told the students—the ones that could understand, and the ones that couldn’t—that they could put their textbooks away.

He had an idea.

As had long been his custom in special classes, he opened the day with “story time”.  Story time required a book, which he searched the wall in back for; stories traditionally explored areas that persistently got the children thinking, or took them on brave new adventures—an escape from their horrible disfigurements, their cause and effect behaviors, lack of feelings and moral understanding.  The period was not used for problem solving or problem making, but relaxation and fun. 

He was creating a comfort zone and, once at ease, finally realized that he could make a difference in these young people’s lives, no matter what their ailments.  So much that their grunts and moans were replaced by laughs and smiles.

The End

Other New Entries: “Fiction Sample”

Damnation Books: “Visitation Rights” by Lawrence Dagstine

Welcome to the Internet premiere of my paranormal story in digital format, Visitation Rights.  It is available for download to practically all manners of reading devices, and at a very affordable price.  Read it on the bus, the subway, in your bed, or in the park.  Visitation Rights (a different kind of ghost story; you’ll never see the ending coming), published by Damnation Books: www.damnationbooks.com

"Visitation Rights" by Lawrence Dagstine

"Visitation Rights" by Lawrence Dagstine

 
Damnation Books: 
 

www.damnationbooks.com

AMAZON KINDLE (order direct):

http://www.amazon.com/Visitation-Rights-ebook/dp/B002LLNFUI/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1251364206&sr=1-4

MY eBooks & Kindle page:

https://lawrencedagstine.com/ebooks-kindle-dagstine/

ISBN 13: 978-1-61572-008-1 
ISBN 10: 1-61572-008-1

With that said, join Damnation Books at KILLERCON 2009 this September in the biggest convention state in the U.S.: Las Vegas, Nevada.

Other New Entries: “eBooks & Kindle”

Lawrence Dagstine: Halloween Aftermath…

Boo! So another year has passed, and another Halloween.  Spent about four and a half hours outdoors trick-or-treating with the little one and extended family.  It was a beautiful day in New York.  Got a haircut before the festivities began so I’d be sure to scare the dickens out of everybody.  We got a lot of candy this year, compared to last.  Better candy, too.  Last year we found Hall’s cough drops mixed in with the Tootsie Rolls.  Last stop, as always, was Starbucks.  Pumpkin spice lattes and caramel salt-flavored hot chocolate.  I dressed my son up this year as a skunk; his cousins were either ninjas or Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (I think that’s what they were).   

Halloween 2008

Halloween 2008

Halloween 2008

Halloween 2008

Halloween 2008

Halloween 2008

Halloween 2008

Halloween 2008

After my son finally went to bed, it was time to break out the movies.  On Halloween, it’s a tradition at my house to watch horror flicks.  But this year there were only two.  First, THE STRANGERS Unrated Edition on DVD.  Then, from Asia, SILK.  Silk wasn’t that bad.  It took place in either Taipei or Taiwan; I was exhausted, so I may have to watch it again to better understand it.  It focused around scientific and paranormal-based disturbances. By the way, MOVIE SPOILERS ahead.

Halloween 2008

Halloween 2008

Halloween 2008

Halloween 2008

Halloween 2008

Halloween 2008

Halloween 2008

Halloween 2008

However, I was very disappointed in The Strangers.  I mean, this stalker-esque movie barely even creeped me out.  There were the people with the masks, the sense of tension around the house.  But that was about it.  Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler were decent as a couple who want to get married but don’t due to relationship problems, and we see them staying at a friend’s place in a rural area for the night.  The movie is built mainly around tension, echoing sounds, incidental noises, and low-key dialogue rather than a film with a well-grounded plot.  Actually, there is no plot.  And I hate it when someone puts together a good film backdrop and ruins it with a lousy script (or lack thereof).  Even worse, if it’s an unbelievable one… but this was believable.  The near-ending was very interesting.  Did the director shoot the near-ending on purpose? Seconds away from being stabbed to death (horribly, might I add), Speedman sees Tyler wearing his engagement ring and she says I love you… As if it’s telling us life is short, so say “I do” to that loved one, because you might get tied up and killed by masked stalkers or nutcases tomorrow.  There was definitely an analogy there.

Otherwise, that was pretty much the whole film.  Yeah, there were some sick scenes.  If you like movies such as… oh, High Tension or Cabin Fever, this might be up your alley.  Rent it, don’t buy it.  Cheers.

Other New Entries: “Family Album”

HAPPY HALLOWEEN 2008… (Trick or Treat!)

From Speculative Fiction Writer/Horror Author, Lawrence Dagstine…

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Wishing you a wholesome day of chills and thrills, and other candy-corned frills!

Happy Halloween 2008

Happy Halloween 2008

October 31st, 2008

TRICK OR TREAT!

Other New Entries: “Fiction Sample”

Lawrence Dagstine: Hardcore Halloween Story Bash…

HARDCORE HALLOWEEN Story Bash…

HORROR STORY: “Victimizer”

by Lawrence R. Dagstine

Suggested Rating: 18 and Older, for sexual & extreme content.

[“We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones” ]

                                                                       -Stephen King

“VICTIMIZER” by Lawrence R. Dagstine

 

If someone were to ask me if my life has changed dramatically, I’d have to say that it has in only one way, and it came years after my victims requested it.  If they were to ask me what I do for a living, I’d tell them that my job entailed a certain obsession of mine, and I treat my work with great enthusiasm, immersing myself in it.

Who am I? Well, I could be any one of millions of people with occupations just like you, living in any small town or city around the country.  I could be the janitor in your child’s elementary school, the guy who drives the ice cream truck at your neighborhood playground, the man behind the counter at your local video store, or the 7-11 clerk who works the Slurpee machine.  I could even be a police officer retiring soon with a nice pension.  I might have a family that I come home to and love just as much as you—we’re all animals or creatures with carnal desires when you look at the big picture—which kind of makes us no different.  And, walking down any ordinary street, I could be brushing up against your sleeve at this very moment. 

I’m the kind of guy who talks your daughter into taking off her clothes for me before her sweet sixteen and spreads her wide open, just so she’ll be ripe and experienced for her real boyfriend.  I’m the kind of stain on humanity that tells little boys to bend over for me, or push women into dark alleys or doorways late at night.  If society only knew how much I enjoy what I do, they’d throw the book at me.

I’m a swarthy male with a strong, tall, virile frame that causes adult heads to turn and children’s faces to smile whenever I walk by, which makes my work all the easier.  A healthy, muscular body that is the envy of all the male eyes that stare at it just as much as the female ones, and a pinpoint of forbidden desire and mystery to those who welcome it.  During the night, however, I prowl the streets and nightclubs, looking for someone to break up the monotony of wanting something I cannot have.  And if I don’t look for it in the club scene by night, then I hunt for it in the schoolyards by day.

I remember that cool spring evening a few months ago, thinking I might just yet find it.  But all I found were lonely people searching for the same thing, and me, I’m rather picky.  There had been plenty of overtures for sex from both males and females, but I had concluded that I was more or less impotent for the evening.  I was positive that any sexual contact after Rebecca would be anti-climactic, so I almost ignored all attempts to catch a new victim’s attention.

Ah yes, thirteen-year-old Rebecca Wenderschmidt.  The little after-school Lolita with the perfect puberescent tits and ass.  She rocked my world, and always for a piece of candy; talk about innocence lost.  The only time I had really lived was when I was fucking her.  And that had been more than once and only for hours.  Hours out of years of not living, and yet those minutes far outweighed the years before her.  They were far heavier, far greater.  More seductive.  And I still had trouble shaking her from my head. 

Rebecca had never been in complete command of my brain until I killed her and chopped her up into little pieces.  I drove out to the wilderness and dumped her body parts in the swamp.  I had to.  She said she was going to tell her mother in detail about all the things we had done together.  Soon afterwards, I started thinking about her all the time, and whenever I saw other girls her age, suddenly her ghost was there.  That perfect image, grinning back at me.

Rebecca had been a study of passion every time I got a hotel room with her: wide-eyed and openmouthed, her young lips searching for mine, her tongue acting as if it had a mind of its own.  She tickled and licked me in all the spots I knew were arousal zones, and a few others a girl her age should not have known about until she finally touched and found them out.

She always insisted on undressing me, tugging at my clothes with a fury until she managed the T-shirt off my back.  But no apologies ever came and instead, she wrapped her skinny arms around my chest and explored my muscles with her lips and tongue, biting me around the nipples and neck as we toppled backwards on the bed. 

Always holding on to me with one arm, she slipped the other between our bodies and undid my belt and pants so she could push her small hand all the way in; sometimes I thought she was more of a predator than me.  Her fingers tickled my throbbing penis and gently caressed it with the touch of talented experience—that was the part that got me.  Gently, tenderly, yet sensually, they ran up and down my shaft, causing it to bulge against my clothes.  Bulge and throb until it was about to burst through them.  Then she’d let go and ease off me, and I’d tear at her Catholic school outfit while I slipped out of my pants and boxers. 

I really thought things would never be the same after Rebecca, until I spotted the woman in the trendy restaurant.  She wasn’t thirteen, or eighteen, or even twenty-one.  Perhaps thirty-five, but she looked like the kind of female I could connect with.  Small, tanned, and almost frail looking.  With finely-honed muscle power hidden in her long legs and slender but shapely body, she stimulated urges in me.  Urges that I assumed had died in that swamp with Rebecca.  Desires that had been ripped apart and burned in a turpentine-filled garage.  It wasn’t that she resembled Rebecca, though she did, but what turned me on was the vengeful “fuck me hard” look that glittered out of her dark eyes.  Rebecca had had that same appealing radiance.  That “I’m ready for what you are” type of attitude.  So I moved in.

Later, back at the hotel I had used for the hundreds just like her, she told me her name was Sally, and that she was a nymphomaniac. “Sally,” I said, playing with the name softly between my lips. “I like that.  I like that you’re a sex addict, too.” Smiling back at me, her long legs curled seductively as she wiggled to get comfortable on the bed.  She had been an enjoyable partner during dinner, a perfect drinking buddy afterwards and now, staring at her, I admitted I liked the way she coiled on the bed, making her slim but supple body fit the contours of the mattress and pillows. 

I liked the way her medium breasts hung and wriggled when she laughed, and I loved the way she undressed me with her eyes as if I was her victim.  The same, dark eyes that were now glued on me as I dropped ice cubes into a glass and washed them down with scotch.  Swirling the cubes in the glass, I felt her eyes slowly creep up and down my body, exploring the muscles and bulges just as Rebecca had.  Her eyes had a way of caressing a man’s frame, lighting the fire that burned until it was extinguished by an orgasm. 

Without looking back, I switched off the light.  Streaks of soft moonlight played in her hair and around the curves of her body so that even the shadows seemed to beckon me, call me to the bed.  Begging for satisfaction as well as demanding the right to give satisfaction. 

Unbuckling my belt with one hand, I watched as she placed her empty glass on the nightstand and settled back against the pillows.  I wondered when I had last seen such perfect tits.  There were so many victims, it was hard to tell between pairs.  But Sally, no.  Hers were soft and alluring, not too spongy for her age.  They hung like half-inflated balloons.  Large but not so big that they swayed back and forth like pendulous parodies.  Full, lush breasts that were white, matching her white buttocks, and presenting a stark contrast to the rest of her tanned body.  Then I remembered.  Rebecca had had breasts like that.  Proportioned for her body and age.  The image of Rebecca settled in my stomach like cold fire again, and I tried to shake the memory with several quick swallows of alcohol that burned my throat and watered my eyes, as I finally stepped out of my pants and shorts.

By the time I wriggled next to Sally, Rebecca was in possession of my every thought.  The woman wrapped her arms around me, pressing her wet, warm lips against mine; it was Rebecca who I was embracing and kissing.  It was Rebecca’s tits I fondled.  And it was Rebecca whom I was soon going to melt into as I shared a few moments of my existence.  Shared them with a ghost.

When it came to my prey, I was never much of a kisser.  I always tried to avoid a victim’s lips, so it was awkward trying to kiss her back.  However, I surrendered to the images of Rebecca flitting in and out of my mind.  She wouldn’t stay dead and the vibrant, moaning woman became that little girl to me all over again.  She offered me everything I had eliminated a few months before.

My tongue found hers and my fingertips glided over her body, pinching and tickling at the right spots until she groaned deeply in her throat and frantically searched for my cock.  Finding it, she wriggled out of my grasp and slid down so her lips could explore my bulging shaft.  Flicking the head back and forth, she murmured something incoherent.  She stopped licking to suck all of it into her throat; even the way she blew me was reminiscent of Rebecca. 

As my penis slid between those lush lips, I couldn’t hold back a single moan of pleasure.  Squirming and twisting the woman, I moved her around so I could match her sucking and begin playing with her clitoris between my tongue.  She quivered several times and raked her nails over my backside.  She sucked me in deeper and deeper until I thought there was no end to the depth of her mouth.  Several more eternities of oral stimulation continued with each groaning in the moonlight.

Then, as if on cue, I stopped.  I swung her around to kiss her face and lips, squeezing her so hard that her breath rasped out in tiny but happy jerks.  As I squeezed, she worked her hand in between them.  When her fingertips touched my penis again, she grabbed it and slowly jerked it back and forth, signaling me to back away slightly.  Enough so she could guide me in.

Grabbing her shoulders, I buried my face in the soft hollow of her neck and began pumping furiously.  She kept in tune and timed her movements to mine.  When she caught onto the rhythm, we moved in perfect unison and became one entity.  One being intent on experiencing the too-short shimmer of the orgasm.  The shimmer that began suddenly at the base of our spines. 

Moving her on her back, I felt her legs tighten around my waist; the strength of the woman was amazing.  Her scissors grip actually hurt, but again, it was an exquisite pain that just made me want more.  And I got more as I pumped harder.  Harder.  And harder.  Until I was ramming into Sally as viciously as I could. 

Her nails and teeth dug into me in a number of places too numerous to count and too pleasurable to care; she kept struggling for more sites to leave her mark as the ultimate pain hit us both at the same time.  The ultimate pain of being on the edge of cumming.  On the rim but not yet there.  Though it was only a few seconds until we exploded through both of our bodies, it seemed like hours as we pulled and pumped, tugged and kissed, moaned and squirmed. 

Finally, we were swallowed by the pleasure of our mutual climax.  We both drifted off in a dreamy, blissful release—floating, until we settled back to our slice of earth and time, relaxing and tasting the sweet sweat of our ecstasies speckling both our bodies.  Me and Rebecca’s old proxy.

We remained locked together, listening to each other’s hearts pounding away.  I became scared that my heavy bulk might be too much for her slightly built frame.  I reluctantly broke free.  She sighed when I pulled out.  Still half-hard, I whispered, “That was fantastic.  Again.”

Chuckling, I tried to penetrate her a second time; my half-erect penis slid in without any trouble.  As soon as our pubic areas intermingled, she began gyrating in a slow circle, working her hips in perfect timing.  She nipped at my neck and stimulated me all over again.  My once-quelled emotions were soon back to full erection, pumping back with violent rammings of my own.  This time the climax took longer but it was as sweet and soothing as the first one.  Still, it was exciting enough where I’d lost control of my biting, stopping only when she yelped in pain.

I began to act more sadistic towards her, giving her a slap here and a smack there, and she seemed to enjoy it.  Just like Rebecca used to.  However, the only difference was Sally seemed uncomfortable with me inside her while doing it.  When I pulled out she didn’t object.

Standing, I was pleased to see her legs quivering.  I went to the room’s wobbly-legged servicing table.  She skipped into the bathroom while I made more drinks.  When she came out, she looked as refreshed as when I had first spotted her in the restaurant.  Cool, placid, pleased with herself and aflame with the desire to try anything.

She took the drink I offered and put it down, then curled up next to me on the bed, like Rebecca used to, making me decide that I’d never be able to get enough of her supple body moving effortlessly into any position she wanted.  Never.  She took two cigarettes out of her purse on the nightstand and, lighting both, placed one between my lips.  I took a deep drag and, removing it, let the smoke dribble out of my mouth while I stroked her shoulder with my lips.  Her long, auburn hair tickled the back of my neck.

“She must have been one hell of a girl,” she finally said in a hushed voice.

“Huh?” I almost choked on my saliva.

“The girl you just made love to.”

“You mean fucked.”

“No, I mean loved.”

I frowned as if I didn’t know what she was talking about, but she just laughed at my efforts, the moonlight making her features even more fragile, but also questionable.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said. “I’m with you.”

“Don’t play stupid,” she laughed. “I’ve been around long enough to know when a man is screwing me or some other girl.  I can feel that connection, and I know when things are off.  Either a younger lady from his past or one he hasn’t found yet.  There’s a subtle difference but most experienced women can tell.”

Her pert features grew more serious as she added, “I figure you don’t just dream about that certain someone and so you went out and found that love, like some predator.  And then you fucked up.  You let your obsessions get in the way, and you lost her.”

I sipped my scotch nervously and said, “Look, I had a wonderful time.  But I’m sorry, I have no idea—”

“Shh.  Don’t apologize,” she interrupted, hushing me with a delicate finger placed against my lips. “Don’t ever be sorry you found what most people frantically search for all their lives, and don’t ever make excuses.  No matter what kind of girl she was, or how old she was, be grateful you had some playtime with her.  Even if it was only one time, that’s one time more than the majority of the human race has to offer.”

Stunned by her empathy, and the way she read me and knew me so well, I stared at her and she smiled back.  For a quick moment it crossed my mind that she might have been a cop, or she might have known what I did in my off time.  My sickness, my fetish; call it what you will.  She might have very well known I had spent the last twenty years raping, sodomizing, molesting, and victimizing my own fears away on countless others.  Then again, she could have been just like me.  Only more striking, more ambiguous. 

Looking away from her, I said, “Yeah, well, when I picked you up, I wasn’t looking for a lifetime partner.  Just an evening of fun and pleasure.  Just something to control these urges.”

“When you picked me up?” she asked. “I thought I had picked you up.” She shook her head and laughed. “Good old male chauvinistic bullshit at work again.  No man picks up a woman unless she wants him to.  And I wanted you to.”

“That’s hilarious!” Then I chuckled and asked, “Even if it was to be a substitute for a shadow from my past?”

For some reason that seemed to hurt her and, at the time, I wanted to reach out and snatch back my feeble attempt to be amusing—like I said, at the time—but her words had already registered in her mind and I was helpless to do anything about them, as a pained expression flitted across her face.  The hurt look soon faded and was replaced with the glint of enjoying each other’s company.  Not minding having to take it as it came.  She kissed my shoulder in the moonlight and began massaging my testicles while we both agreed silently to forget everything. 

“Tell me about her,” she finally said.

“Why?”

“Just curious,” she remarked casually, that hurt skidding in and out of her eyes in a blink again.  However, the tone was slightly more inquisitive. 

At first, I did not want to tell her about Rebecca.  I had wanted to keep my statutory love and what it had meant to me inside my head, and selfishly hoard it from the world.  Even from one other person.  Even if she was dead and I couldn’t get over the fact that I was the one who killed her. 

I found myself babbling; I also found myself unusually drowsy. “Her name was Rebecca Wenderschmidt,” I began and she giggled.

“Really?” She began to tighten her hold around my nuts.

“Really,” I insisted, not really irked at her laughing at Rebecca’s name. “She was a…” I stopped and stared at Sally for a brief moment before I continued, “I could explain her to you, I guess, but unless you’re the kind of person I am and really felt it for yourself, you wouldn’t understand why it hurts so much.”

That sad look blinked alive again, and I realized what I was seeing in her expression.  She wasn’t angry or jealous.  She was empathic because she, too, had been envisioning an image of someone close to her.  Someone she had loved.  Someone she had lost. 

“She’s dead, isn’t she?” she asked suddenly.

“What?”

“What I mean is—” She began again. “Well, it’s just that you don’t impress me as the type of man who would let a girl you loved so much walk away from you.  And you’re too habitual to waste that kind of love.  So, she has to be dead.”

But her last remark didn’t ring true to me, and I began seeing through her little act with great suspicion. “You’re in a questionable mood,” I said.

“Is she dead?” she asked again, squeezing my balls harder.

“Why is that so important?” I knew the answer but refused to tell her.

“I want to know.  Is my daughter dead?”

Staring at her half-visible form in the soft moonlight, my mouth dropped in complete awe. “You mean, you’re…you’re…”

“Rebecca’s mother? Yeah, I’m Sally Wenderschmidt.  And I’ve been looking for my little girl for an awfully long time.  My baby still hasn’t come home.”

My eyes suddenly closed and I fell backwards off the bed.  I hit the hotel room floor with a great thud, as the strange drowsiness from moments earlier took full control of my body. “Wh… What did you do to me?” I muttered incoherently. 

I couldn’t get up for the life of me.  My vision was blurry, and I could only see a shapely female silhouette, slowly rising from the bed to put on her bra and panties. 

“I drugged your glass when we first checked in,” Sally said.

“What the fuck! You drugged me?” I heard her going into her purse.

“Yeah, I drugged you.  I picked you up, I screwed you, and now I’m going to find out the truth.  Only the truth will set you free.”

“But how? How did you know all those moves in bed? How did you relate to me so well?”

“Because my daughter told me about you.  She told me what you did to her.  She told me what you liked having done to you.  And she told me what kind of a sick monster you really are.” Sally laughed as she came around the bed and knelt over me with a sharp glimmering object. “Just another sexual deviant who can’t get enough.  So easy to victimize others, but oh so scared when they find themselves on the receiving end.”

“Please, don’t kill me,” I pleaded.

“I’m not going to kill you.  I just want to know… Is my daughter dead?”

Before I could answer her, the swirling blackness from whatever she had drugged me with had taken over.  But then she probably already knew the answer.

After that, the next time I awoke the sun was shining down upon me through rectangular slits in the room’s windows, and I was wearily tossing on the floor.  I sucked in a double lungful of air and found myself alone, staring up at the ceiling.  The blank, empty, white ceiling that resembled my life and that symbolized my existence pre-Rebecca and now post-Sally.

Like I said, the only time I had really lived was when I was fucking the woman’s daughter.  And that had been more than once and only for hours.  Hours out of years of not living, and yet those minutes far outweighed the years before her.  They were far heavier, far greater.  More seductive.  And to this very day, I still have trouble shaking both of them from my head. 

I got up and walked over to the mirror and blinked tears out of my eyes and wondered why I was so emotional.  That night, with Sally, I didn’t want to think of Rebecca or any of my past victims.  Not once.  I was hoping the scar tissue would heal the wound her death had left upon me, and the wound her mother had left.

So if somebody were to ask me if my life has changed dramatically, I would have to say it has in only one way.  Then I’d pull down my pants and tell them to look at where my privates used to be, and I’d say that they disappeared because one of my victim’s parents requested it…

 

The End 

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