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THE EMPIRE FLAMES BACK

giphyLUKE: “Hey Vader, wow, you really kicked ass… before you were 12. But since you’re like, 40 something, what have you done lately?

Tell you what: you know what else I never did? Pop? I never allowed the first woman who ever loved me to die the  slave of Tusken Raiders!”

VADER: “NOW HOLD ON. I MADE THEM PAY FOR THAT.”

LUKE: “Yes, by killing all of them including their children. Took a lot of Force Fu to kill Tusken kids, did it? Pop?”

VADER: “IT… IT SENT A MESSAGE. NOW I AM THE MOST FEARED – ”

LUKE: “A message? What? ‘Oooo! Don’t mess with people I love!’ Speaking of which, You know what else I never did? I never let the love of my life, the second and only woman left in the entire universe who could ever love me, to DIE!

Only two people in the whole universe could ever love you, and you let both of them DIE!

Even worse: You spent the rest of your wretched adult life being a lapdog for your wife’s Murderer!

VADER: “WHAT?!?”

LUKE: “Palpatine was the one who murdered Mom, you freaking matchstick!

Puny as I am? I never lost track of both my children. Hell, I never killed children or helped destroy entire living planets.

In fact, as weak as you think I am? When you and me went One on One? You blinked! You couldn’t protect the Death Star from me!

I didn’t just destroy the Death Star, I personally took the most powerful Weapon of Mass Destruction ever created away from YOU!  And I did it while flying a beat-up rebel fighter patch-job with a damaged droid! It had after market seat covers from Autozone! We had so little money we couldn’t afford cup holders! You had a brand new, top of the line, cutting edge Tie Fighter with all of the latest weaponry and I still kicked your freaking ass, old man!

VADER: “HUFF! YEAH? WELL … WHEN I WAS 10 -”

LUKE: “Hey! Too damn bad you weren’t fighting me when you were 10.

Holy shit! And the cherry on top of all of this is that lying son of a bitch, Obi Wan Kenobi!

You failed to find the One man you searched the galaxy for; the bastard who chopped your legs off and left you to die on a lava bed! And the entire time he was not only living on your home planet within a three hour drive from your step brother Owen, Kenobi was still using his real god damn name!

Great fucking use of the force there, Pop!”

THINGS THE FIRE LEFT US

DragonSkullThe forest fire of the past week flooded to within mere yards of my backyard. I’d used a foot pump to siphon water from my pool and keep the treeline at the edge of my yard wet. It worked.

What most people don’t know about fires is, some plants endure it amazingly well. Many types of pine tree need fire as part of their breeding process.

A few days after the conflagration, I took my new girlfriend, Hope, through the smoky ruins of the forest behind my house.

Everything was damaged to some degree, though I knew by now which plants were killed and which ones would merely heal, adapt, and regrow.

We walked through the smoking, eerie aftermath of Hell.

“My God!” Hope suddenly exclaimed, and I looked to where her fear sharpened eyes were staring.

To her it must have looked like the burnt, thorny stalks of a rose bush. Except where the rose bud would be, there was miniature human skull, it’s delicate fleshy covering now burned away to bone.

Terror galloped through her voice, pulling a hayride of Horror behind it. “WHAT kind of a plant is THAT? Hope gasped.

I shrugged, “A face plant.”

RimShot

END

Photograph – I searched extensively around the Internet, but though I found many websites with this photo (Bored Panda, Pulptastic), none had – or knew – the proper credit. If you are the photographer and can prove it, I’ll link your name here.


PerpetualBulletPB2014Want more? Get my book
PERPETUAL BULLET: A Science Fiction Collection
A trove of previously published Science Fiction Horror Thriller – plus bonus stories
Featuring: Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem!
By E.C. McMullen Jr.
Now on sale for $9.00 in Trade Paperback and in eBook for $1.99 and available for your Android Tablet, iPad, Kindle, Nook, and every other “E”!
Find it at (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Diesel, !ndigo, iTunes, KoboBooks, Smashwords, Sony, WHSmith, and more).

Also look for my story Cedo Looked Like People, in the anthology, FEAR THE REAPER, edited by Joe Mynhardt and available in Paperback and eBook.

MESSAGES FOR STAN

ANGSTMESSAGES FOR STAN
Copyright 1998 by E.C. McMullen Jr.

Call him Lucifer, or Nick or even ‘Ol Scratch. Everybody knows that you are talking about Satan, but to us what knows him, he just goes by the name of Stan.

Lots of folks leave messages for Stan and I should know since he drops by my place about once a week or so to check and see who has called for him.

Contrary to popular opinion, Satan doesn’t have an office since work and punctuality are the earmarks of a solid and industrious person. Instead he just hangs out with folks, drops by the crib, smokes some weed (after all, it’s HIS weed!), and generally shoots the shit. The devil may find work for idle hands, but it usually entails my rolling him a joint while he watches TV. He prefers watching Televangelists and whenever I ask him why, he just gets an irritated look on his face and waves a hand at me to be quiet.

The other day Stan came over and asked if there were any messages for him. I said, “Yeah, they’re all on the KMFDM Album.” He started going through my record collection. “Which one?” he hollered to me (I had walked into the kitchen).

“Angst!” I hollered back.

“Sha . . . “ I heard him say. “Had it in my hand the whole time. I must be psychic or something.”

When I came out to the living room, Stan was setting the needle on the record.

“Ugh. I hate this time consuming crap,” he said. “You all have had CD players for ages now and you still haven’t made one that will play digital music backwards.”

“Don’t look at me,” I said. “I had nothing to do with making the damn things.”
“Yeah, yeah,” he replied, which was his way of saying that he wanted to complain, not converse.

Everybody knows that Satan is the biggest whiner in the whole Universe. I mean, this guy was a ruler, a Prince in Paradise  – THE Paradise! The ultimate everything-you-could-wish-for kinda Paradise! – and he still bitched so much about how he wasn’t getting this, and he should be doing the other, that they threw his silly ass out of there.

Hey, just because I like him doesn’t mean I’m fooling myself.

I once brought this up to him and his reply was, “Yeah well, don’t believe all the hype about it kid.” He wiggled two fingers on both of his hands to signify a quote. “If “Heaven” was so great then why did God get bored and decide to create all this?” He waved his arm in an arc, encompassing my trashed living room. I’m certain that he really meant the world.

“Hah?” He demanded. “Answer me that! Hah?”

“I dunno,” I said. “I wasn’t there. Still, it’s gotta be better than hell.”
Stan blew a dismissive “P’shh!” and waved me away. It’s one of his stock trademarks.

Once when I was having a party at my house, someone made a stupid remark and I went, “P’sh!” and waved my hand like a bird wing, like Satan does. Immediately everybody shouted “STAN!” and we all laughed, just as Stan was coming out of the bathroom. Well he got all embarrassed and turned red, and you never saw someone turn red until you see Stan do it. I immediately felt kinda bad about it of course, and naturally when there are bad feelings in a room, Stan is helplessly drawn to them like flies to shit.

So he came over and gave me a big hug everything worked out.

Anyway, despite the popularity of using Satanic backward messages on Rock albums, Stan never really got the hang of sitting there with his finger on a record and spinning it backward at just the right speed. He was always a little too fast or a little too slow which was yet another irritation for him. “Argh!”  I heard him say. “Was that a message or just a lyric? Damn this stupid machinery. I must be cursed or something.”

He finally got a pace going and the messages started coming through. At first there was a drawn out and watery “beep” followed by the background noise of the music on the record. Then there was another, then another, and then another after that. Stan was getting riled. After the sixth beep there was a real message.

“Hi Stan, are you there? Pick up the needle if you are.
Stan? Are you there? This is Eddie! Pick up the needle if you are there man.
Come on Stan, I know you are there! Pick up the fucking needle already!”
Then a voice in the background said, “So what’s happening?” and Eddie replied, “I guess he’s not there.” followed by a click.

Stan twirled his finger on the label. Round and round the record spun backwards: but there were no more messages.

Stan’s already ruddy complexion turned more livid if you can believe that.

“That’s IT? he said. “I came all the way from Hell for this?”  He roared “FOR THIS?”  and when he gets in these moods even I get on edge.

“What Is Today?” his voice crackled thunder

“Uh . . . Thursday.”

“I MIGHT HAVE KNOWN!” he shouted in Caps Lock. “I HATE THURSDAYS!” Then he drew up his arms, his wings tearing out of his clothing as he cried out. “I DAMN You, Thursday! No One Shall Ever Pen A Hit Song About YOU!”

Sure enough, for those watching the news that day, stories of catastrophes ripping through the world pushed aside dull puff pieces on celebrity divorces and politico-sexual shenanigans.

That’s how the damn day started, and the rest of the afternoon was shot to Hell.

END

– E.C. “Feo Amante” McMullen Jr, 1998

Story MESSAGES FOR STAN Copyright 1998 by E.C. McMullen Jr.
The Art Inspires the Story
Artwork: ANGST Cover Artist: Aidan Hughes Band: KMFDM


WillowBlueCoverWant more? Get my book
WILLOW BLUE and Other Stories
By E.C. McMullen Jr.
Five tales about –

Willow feels responsible for Deena’s bizarre death.
During a quick stop at a convenience store, Paul faces a murderer.
A government protected agent can’t escape his own guilt.
The Immortal Riessa is forcing her lover’s body to mutate.
A new chilling tale of the child, Ankar.

Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem! A collection of stories about hunger and need – in life and beyond the grave.

Now on sale for $2.99 and available for your Kindle reader and App!
Find it at exclusively at Amazon, for the next 90 days. Free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers until January 2015.

ALSO –

PERPETUAL BULLET: A Science Fiction Collection
A trove of previously published Science Fiction Horror Thriller – plus bonus stories
Featuring: Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem!
Available in print for $9.00 or in eBook for $2.99 at online retailers everywhere for your Android Tablet, iPad, Kindle, Nook, and every other “E”!

Ankar appears again in my short story, “Cedo Looked Like People”, in the 2013 anthology, FEAR THE REAPER, edited by Joe Mynhardt and available in Paperback and eBook.

Another year of Count Chocula GONE!

Count Chocula and Frankenberry since I was a kid (also Boo Berry and Fruit Brute – it was all fruit except the Count). I’m clearly not a kid anymore but damn it! Comfort food is comfort food.

CountChoculaAlso, DC Comics Jim Lee was in charge of the box design for 2014 and hired the artist Husband & Wife team of Terrence “Terry” and Rachel Dodson to do the deed!

But still… a whole ‘nother year…

Okay, one other thing. This year Count Chocula lost his fangs and is now as buck-toothed as Bugs Bunny!

Don’t get me wrong, I get the DC / Warner Bros. connection.

ALONE AMONG THE MISORS

IMPERIA

Artwork: Imperia by Lucian Stanculescu

ALONE AMONG THE MISORS
Copyright 2014 by E.C. McMullen Jr.

Among the Misors, the (translated) Death Sphere, was not a true sphere at all, but a 6th Dimensional hole in 3D space. As such, it punctured our universe from all sides equally, our reality distorting just above a whisper, outside the circle of its unknown physics.

The Wandering Zoroas of the Misors traveled their world, holding the Death Sphere aloft above their multi-fingered heads. Alone among their own kind in this odd biological configuration, even the Zoroas could not tell you why they were genetically built this way. One was simply born a Zoroas with the fully formed tell-tale head-hand. When one came of age – and that age was not fixed – a Death Sphere would materialize, perched upon the hand that grew from the top of their head.

From that moment on, the Zoroas would surrender all their possessions to the Sodalites of Siblings, don their robes, take up their staff, and wander their world, seeking the one Misor among the many who uniquely belonged to this single sphere.

Their wanderings were not entirely random, as the Zoroas claimed that the Death Sphere in some way “Pulled” them to their target. That Misor could be in the same city, kingdom, or on the other side of the world or – in this time of space faring – out somewhere among the colonies.

It was the nearly irresistible compulsion of the Pulling that all Zoroas followed.

Time and distance were immaterial.

It didn’t matter the journey. All communities of significant size had at least one Zoroaster where the Sodalites of Siblings could find shelter and food. And barring catastrophe, no Zoroas could die so long as they held the Death Sphere. In as much as the Death Sphere also held onto them – it was impossible to rid themselves of it.

It was called a Death Sphere because it was instant death to the single Misor who belonged to it. The hole “recognized” only its one specific Misor from among the billions, and would suddenly turn upon its “axis” point, drawing in both the intended as well as the Zoroas who held it aloft, then vanish from our space.

So the purpose of the Zoroas were two-fold, as they were suicidal assassins. In every manner of perception, it was absolutely their life’s calling.

Not all Misors died this way. But as a matter of culture, just as many were happy to die on their own, as were those who looked forward with eager trepidation, to the coming of their own Death Sphere. As it is with the randomness of life, no Misor was given the choice of dying – or not – by Death Sphere; just as no Misor was given the choice of being born into the unspoken covenant of the Zoroas.

Occasionally a Misor intended for shared death died prematurely. The Pulling would call the Zoroas to their remains, then pull no more. These Zoroas became Elders. There was a grim inevitability to living as a Zoroas, though there was a worse sadness of culturally misplaced shame in becoming an Elder. Yet a deeper respect, truly one without covetous desire, was given to an Elder, who would spend the rest of their life holding a Death Sphere that pulled for no one.

“Death is an experience best shared.”
– old Zoroas saying

So it was on a most particular night of a most particular day, in a colony many solar systems removed from Misorn, that a Tithing named Fanfa – a Misors caretaker of the Zoroas whose own skull fingers failed to fully form and so, never received a Death Sphere – opened the doors to a young Sibling dressed in the manner of Zoroas from the Homeworld.

The Tithing matched the gaze of the young Zoroas, but respectfully looked no further. As with all Sodalites of Siblings from Elders to Tithings, Fanfa averted her gaze so as not to look directly at his Death Sphere. It was there in the periphery above her direct field of vision, and the whispering distortion of our reality around its edge was easily heard.

“Welcome weary Sibling,” Fanfa said, bowing as she intoned the traditional greeting. “All you require is here.”

The Homeworld Sibling moved his staff toward her and back, in the typical Zoroas way of quiet gratitude, yet he stayed by the door.

New to the job of being a Zoroas Tithing, Fanfa wondered if there was some part of the minor ceremony she’d forgot.

“Forgive me if I have failed you,” Fanfa said bowing again, her stumpy head-hand’s webbed fingers opened wide. “I am only a recruit.”

The recruit’s awkward apology drew the attention of the other Zoroas seated in the room. Everyone stopped their drinking, eating, talking, to see what ailed their latest Sibling.

“I am Tatal and the fault is mine,” he said. “As I am also new and not fully accustomed to the ways of wandering.”

An older Zoroas named S’Orcea, who only came of age when her Death Sphere appeared late in life, had acquired experience and maturity long before she began her travels. She approached the two young people at the door to ease the discomfort of her Siblings.

“In this Zoroaster,” S’Orcea said. “like all Zoroasters, no Sodal Sibling is ever a stranger. You are welcome to eat and rest here until your Pulling calls you away.”

The abrupt chest heaving was apparent beneath Tatal’s voluminous robe. Startled, S’Orcea looked to the man’s eyes and was surprised to see the young Zoroas was grieving.

“Please forgive me, my Siblings,” Tatal said. “But the Pulling… the Pulling has drawn me here.”

To S’Orcea and Fanfa’s utter surprise, Tatal’s Death Sphere began noisily turning.

Suddenly afraid, for a Tithing is not a true Zoroas, Fanfa looked for help to S’Orcea, only to see that the elder Zoroas’s Death Sphere was also expanding, turning, the reality of our universe crackling across it.  The stricken S’Orcea needed no mirror to know, she could hear it.

What was the meaning of this? In all recorded history, no Zoroas had ever come for another.

Fighting her fear, Fanfa found herself backing away from the two Zoroas and looking to the other travelers for help. But there would be no help from any of them on this most particular night. All of them could see that every Sibling in the room held aloft a spinning Death Sphere, growing and angrily tearing our universe apart.

END

Story ALONE AMONG THE MISORS Copyright 2014 by E.C. McMullen Jr.
The Art Inspires the Story
Artwork: IMPERIA  Artist: Lucian Stanculescu


WillowBlueCoverWant more? Get my books
WILLOW BLUE and Other Stories
By E.C. McMullen Jr.
Five tales about –

Willow feels responsible for Deena’s bizarre death.
During a quick stop at a convenience store, Paul faces a murderer.
A government protected agent can’t escape his own guilt.
The Immortal Riessa is forcing her lover’s body to mutate.
A new chilling tale of the child, Ankar.

Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem! A collection of stories about hunger and need – in life and beyond the grave.

Now on sale for $2.99 and available for your Kindle reader and App!
Find it at exclusively at Amazon, for the next 90 days. Free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers until January 2015.

ALSO –

PERPETUAL BULLET: A Science Fiction Collection
A trove of previously published Science Fiction Horror Thriller – plus bonus stories
Featuring: Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem!
Available in print for $9.00 or in eBook for $2.99 at online retailers everywhere for your Android Tablet, iPad, Kindle, Nook, and every other “E”!

Ankar appears again in my short story, “Cedo Looked Like People”, in the 2013 anthology, FEAR THE REAPER, edited by Joe Mynhardt and available in Paperback and eBook.

WILLOW BLUE

WillowBlueCoverLike my short stories here?

Let me try that again.

Do you LOVE my short stories here?

Then you’ll be giddy to know that I’ve just released my second collection of stories in WILLOW BLUE and Other Stories.

My first collection, PERPETUAL BULLET, was originally released exclusively on Barnes & Noble for about 90 days, after which, it was available at eBook retailers everywhere.

WILLOW BLUE is released on exclusively on Amazon for 90 days, so it’s available for every Kindle and every Kindle app. The Kindle app is a free download to your mobile or computer so you can read it even if you don’t own a kindle mobile.

WILLOW BLUE has five stories all written in my impeccable style which you have all come to know and endure!

What will you find inside?

Willow feels responsible for Deena’s bizarre death.
During a quick stop at a convenience store, Paul faces a murderer.
A government protected agent can’t escape his own guilt.
The Immortal Riessa is forcing her lover’s body to mutate.
And another chilling tale of the child, Ankar.

Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem! A collection of stories about hunger and need – in life and beyond the grave.


WillowBlueCoverWant more? Get my book
WILLOW BLUE and Other Stories
Featuring five stories of Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem!
By E.C. McMullen Jr.
Now on sale for $2.99 and available for your Android Tablet, iPad, Kindle, Nook, and every other “E”!
Find it at exclusively at Amazon,for the next 90 days.

PERPETUAL BULLET: A Science Fiction Collection
A trove of previously published Science Fiction Horror Thriller – plus bonus stories
Featuring: Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem!
Available at online retailers everywhere

My story Cedo Looked Like People, is in the 2013 anthology, FEAR THE REAPER, edited by Joe Mynhardt and available in Paperback and eBook.

WHEN ZOMBIES ATTACH!

ZombiesAttachWHEN ZOMBIES ATTACH!
Copyright 2000 by E.C. McMullen Jr.

It was right there in carbon black print.

ZOMBIES ATTACH TOWN is how the headline read and it went out across the nation and the world. Newspapers sold more that day than any since humans first walked on the moon. Some may have bought them because the headline was just so impossible, surely a future collector’s item. Others may have bought them to chuckle derisively over the misspelled headline, but it was no mistake.

I live in the town of Bunker, Arizona and fifteen days ago, Zombies attached my town.

There was no preamble to the rising. No apparent reason at all for the dead to Re-Animate. The zombies just came to life one night and like the old Romero movies, on through much of the day.

It may sound odd, but no one tried to shoot them. Everyone was just too stunned to do anything. Many of us thought we might be in on the butt of some secret reality television joke and that the zombies were actors in make-up. Time soon made us realize otherwise.

They never went after anyone, and if you were old, slow, and helpless enough to accidentally get in their way, they would simply walk around you.

Then they went about attaching themselves to various houses and buildings throughout Bunker.

Nobody knows why they attach themselves to some houses and not others. There seems to be no forethought, no plan to it. I live in an apartment complex, for example, and not one zombie has attached itself to it.

I think we are being singled out but I don’t know why.

In any case, its a source of embarrassment to be one of the very few places that cannot boast even ONE zombie.

Not that I like the zombies, they are a damn nuisance! All they do all damn day and all damn night is dangle attached to houses, stores and even street lamps; trying to start an argument about the after life.

You don’t even have to engage them in conversation, just walking past them will do.

“The afterlife,” they say. “Don’t get me started.”

Then they’ll ramble on about the subject until their rotten tongues fall out of their mouths.

I tell you, you’ve never been so happy to see a maggot infested rotten tongue fall out of somebody’s mouth until you’ve seen it happen to a zombie.

END

WHEN ZOMBIES ATTACH, copyright 2000, E.C. McMullen Jr.
Artwork: Zombies Attach. Artist, Feo Amante.


WillowBlueCoverWant more? Get my books
WILLOW BLUE and Other Stories
Featuring five stories of Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem!
By E.C. McMullen Jr.
Now on sale for $2.99 and available for your Kindle.
Find it at exclusively at Amazon, for the next 90 days.

PERPETUAL BULLET: A Science Fiction Collection
A trove of previously published Science Fiction Horror Thriller – plus bonus stories
Featuring: Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem!
Available in print for $9.00 or in eBook for $2.99 at online retailers everywhere for your Android Tablet, iPad, Kindle, Nook, and every other “E”!

My story Cedo Looked Like People, is in the 2013 anthology, FEAR THE REAPER, edited by Joe Mynhardt and available in Paperback and eBook.

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