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A New Man

ManWithSkull

A NEW MAN

Gumoc nodded. At 43 he was old enough to know of the catches and fine print with any transaction.

“What’s the total cost of the deal?”

The saleswoman began itemizing. “Well, with the three weeks of induced coma, round the clock care -”

“I asked for the total cost,” Gumoc repeated.

“You’re looking at $150,000 complete out of pocket.”

Gumoc held the skull up to the light. He held it with both hands, nearly caressing it. For a moment in this world there was only Gumoc and this skull. He’d admired this head for months. This was the skull that Gumoc felt best represented his mind, his character, his essence. Finally his brain, his eyes, everything he was would be within this skull.

Okay, not this skull, it was just a Showroom model, but this design, grown especially for him and free from the bone disease closing his throat, pushing out of his face and into his brain.

He would kill to be free of the pain. He had killed to raise the money for the operation and would kill again if he had to.

‘Well,’ Gumoc amended to himself. ‘Within reason.’

Gumoc felt guiltless in committing murder as his victims were as vicious as himself, only without his personal empathy.

They brutalized people because they enjoyed the suffering of others. Gumoc killed only for the money to cure his agony.

He turned the skull around in his hands, getting to know what would soon be a part of him.

The saleswoman stayed silent, as this was part of the sale, allowing the customer to sell themselves on the product.

Gumoc stole money from only two well-heeled criminals, but such people have their walls of security and Gumoc was required to murder 14 to rob two.

With so much death, Gumoc, in his single minded zeal, came to enjoy murdering people. Death after death, there grew a sense of accomplishment and pride in the work ethic of it all. This enjoyment was tempered with a casual sense of justice: these were brutal thugs who harmed innocent people. They were the only two truly bad people he knew, though the city must be full of them.

‘No, wait,’ Gumoc thought. He set the skull on the saleswoman’s desk.

She looked up to him ready to finalize the deal, only to see that Gumoc’s expression was unreadable.

‘I don’t enjoy murder.’ Gumoc told himself. ‘It’s the disease talking. The bone squeezing my brain like a sponge, twisting me into cruelty.’

A part of him didn’t want this skull anymore. It no longer represented his true nature.

Gumoc scanned the other skulls in the case behind the Saleswoman. He looked for something, something… tougher. Hard set. Something to match the face reflected in the glass.

‘No,’ he self-corrected again. ‘That face is not mine. That face is the disease.’

The bone of his thickening skull was fractioning his personality, making him work against his better judgement.

“I’ll take it!” Gumoc nearly shouted. The saleswoman nearly jumped. “How soon can we begin?” he asked.

“If you sign today we can set the surgery for two weeks from now on the…” she double checked her calendar. “18th.”

Gumoc pounded his fist on her desk. “No! It must be sooner!” He was a human being, damn it. Not a cog, not a piece of equipment to be fitted in at the “right time”.

The saleswoman was clearly taken aback. “It can’t be any sooner,” she protested. “You’ve only now made your choice. We have to take your tissue sample to grow your DNA for your new skull. Even with accelerated growth you can only push human biology so far.”

Gumoc, breathing heavily, worked to calm himself.

“Of course,” he said. ‘Of course,’ he repeated in thought. ‘What the saleswoman said made sense. Perfect sense. All the sense in the world but, holy shit! Two more weeks!’

His emotions were all over the place and he rested his gnarled hands upon his knees to contain himself. He wanted to curl up right there on the salesroom floor and cry. He wanted to cry because a frightening ugliness was growing in his head. An anti-Gumoc ugliness that was becoming him. This Gumoc that once stood in the shadows was confidently stepping into the light. It mockingly looked upon Gumoc’s sense of self, his personal code of honor, with smirking disdain.

This new Gumoc, emboldened by so much murder, didn’t draw the line between the innocent and the guilty. Such matters were arbitrary facades to him.

Where old Gumoc was a massive but gentle giant of a man, this new Gumoc reveled in his power over others. He noted the effect that slamming his fist on the desk had on the Saleswoman. He saw how she went from fixating on her sale and her commission to shrinking back in her chair and just wanting him out of there. He made her remember that she was a frightened animal of the woods, one who hides in silence when the bear approaches.

This Gumock fantasized about holding the saleswoman’s neck in his powerful right hand and, so he could enjoy her helpless terror, her delightfully agonized awareness of her own death, slowly digging his thumb into her throat until he pinched her head like a mushroom cap right off of her body.

Real Gumoc forced away the satisfied smile that began to curl upon his deformed features. Steadying his hand he signed the paperwork.

‘Two more weeks. My God! Two more weeks!’

– E.C. McMullen Jr.

Inspired by the Jusepe de Ribera painting, Man With Skull


pb300Make a new start with my book
PERPETUAL BULLET: A Science Fiction Collection
It’s a trove of previously published Science Fiction Horror Thriller – plus bonus stories
Featuring: True Love, Weird Sex, Monsters and Mayhem!
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, WHSmith, and more).
Buy the paperback from Amazon and get the kindle free!

Burning for more?

Look for my second collection, WILLOW BLUE and Other Stories
Five critically acclaimed tales featuring my literary twist on Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem! $8.00 for the paperback, $1.99 for the kindle reader or app. As always, buy the paperback from Amazon and get the kindle free!

Look for my story Cedo Looked Like People, in the anthology, FEAR THE REAPER, edited by Joe Mynhardt. Available from Crystal Lake Publishing and available in Print for $12.99 or eBook for $2.99.

Also available from Crystal Lake Publishing, the film making guidebook, HORROR 201: The Silver Scream. Reap the rewards of movie making experience from the likes of Myself as well as Ray Bradbury, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Tom Holland, Jeffrey Reddick, George A. Romero, Keith Arem, Richard Gray, and many more. $19.99 in Print or $3.99 in eBook.


Not My Last Brush With Death

BaconBombMeatloafMe: “Embrace me sweet death – but first, try a bite of this delicious Bacon Bomb meatloaf!”
DEATH: ‘YOU KNOW I DON’T HAVE A TONGUE.”
Me: “But you talk like-”
DEATH: “I HAVE NO FLESH AT ALL.”
Me: “But you talk like a person with lungs, vocal cords, the whole nine yards.”
DEATH: “DO YOU SEE A TONGUE IN THIS MOUTH? DO YOU?”
Me: “No, but- wait. Then how do you see?”
DEATH: “THROAT? STOMACH? ANYTHING?”
Me: Well no, but how… I mean-”
DEATH: “NO NOSE! I CAN’T EVEN SMELL WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. SO HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO TASTE IT?”
Me: “I’m sorry. But I thought-”
DEATH: “YOU THOUGHT? YOU THOUGHT YOU’D OFFER SOMEONE WITHOUT A NOSE OR TONGUE A TASTE OF SOMETHING?”
Me: “Really, I’m sorry.”
DEATH: “YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE, YOU KNOW THAT? A REAL BENIGHTED JERK!”
Me: “Sorry.”
DEATH: “YOUR VERY PRESENCE REVILES ME! I’M NOT EVEN GOING TO TAKE YOUR LIFE. I’M GOING TO LET YOU LIVE AND SUFFER. AND I HOPE YOU’RE SUFFERING THROUGH SOMETHING REALLY PAINFUL RIGHT NOW!”
Me: (sotto voce): “…just this conversation…”
DEATH: “WHAT?!?”
Me: “Nothing.”

Image from Amarillo Globe-News
February 17, 2014 at 9:12am
Submitted by Delonda Dunn

Bacon Bomb: a bacon weave wrapped around a mixture of sausage, cream cheese, jalapeños & cheddar cheese.


wb2016My book is the bomb!
WILLOW BLUE.
It’s my second collection of critically acclaimed Supernatural and Drama Thriller short stories with all of the Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem, you’ve come to expect (or should by now). Available in paperback for $8.00 or in Kindle for only $1.99. Buy the paperback at Amazon and the Kindle eBook is free! The tales will last you longer than latte!

Want more? Buy

PERPETUAL BULLET: A Science Fiction Collection.
It’s a veritable trove of previously published Science Fiction Horror Thriller tales – plus bonus stories
Featuring: Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem!
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, WHSmith, and more).
Buy the paperback at Amazon and the Kindle eBook is free!

Crave still more?

Look for my story Cedo Looked Like People, in the anthology, FEAR THE REAPER, edited by Joe Mynhardt. Available from Crystal Lake Publishing and available in Print for $12.99 or eBook for $2.99.

Also available from Crystal Lake Publishing, the film making guidebook, HORROR 201: The Silver Scream. Reap the rewards of movie making experience from the likes of Myself, as well as  John Carpenter, Tom Holland, Jeffrey Reddick, George A. Romero, Keith Arem, Richard Gray, also the late  Ray Bradbury, Wes Craven, plus many more. $19.99 in Print or $3.99 in eBook.


The Young Girl and Death

younggirldeath

Art: The Young Girl and Death, Marianne Stokes, 1900
Text: Feo Amante, 2017


Image

CryptoHistoryDirect


SUMMONING LOVE

normanlindseySUMMONING LOVE
by E.C. McMullen Jr.
Copyright 2016

Water and, of all things, feathers gently fountained from Flutestuf’s pentagram. He slowly shook his head in puzzlement.
‘Well, it’s not like I’m summoning a demon, after all,’ he thought. Those like himself, who practised the Magik Arts, gave a rather simple banner to whatever lay beyond the veil of reality. There was this world and on the other side was the Otherworld.

Flutestuf was part of a small cabal of Mystics who suspected that the Otherworld in truth consisted of many worlds. He’d prepared himself accordingly. Unliked by even the natural beings of his own kind, Flutestuf was determined not only to be loved by another, but to love another.

He would experience the dreams and nightmares of poets.

Witches and Wizards shunned love and lovers, called it a lie, a myth for the weak. Maybe Flutestuf was weak.

He looked to the large mirror he’d set against the wall. It was the best mirror he could find. Framed in lavish gold it revealed every hairy hoary detail of Flutestuf’s wicked face. If the poets told the truth, one day he would stand before that mirror with his one true love and at last, not only see love’s reflection in her face, but see what love revealed in his own.

By the Gods he was sick of his face!

It was time for a change and he wanted, needed to believe that love would cure him of his own repulsion. He needed to be loved. He Needed to Love!

There was the slightest of splash behind him and he turned to see the feathers blanketing the water’s surface, parting. Fingers rose followed by… Flutestuf felt himself involuntarily gasp – just a little – the rising fingers were followed by the loveliest hand he’d ever seen.

Then the loveliest arm he’d ever seen!

Another arm! A back and shoulders rose up without a head, but where the head should be mist swirled around, creating for the creature from an Otherworld, a head and body that could live in this world.

Flutestuf was giddy, his patience tormented. If he was sitting in a chair he’d be on the edge of it. As it was, he crouched down upon his hooves, gazing in wonderment as the rest of the fogbound body rose from the water, draped in the feathers that refitted themselves into the slightest of clothes.

The vapor moved away from him, but no, fog formed flesh into a lovely young woman reclining nude before him. Well, not entirely nude with the feathered clothes, but such accoutrements only accented her delightful nakedness.

His Satyr soul wanted to bray out loud in delight. Flutestuf repressed his goat instinct to savage her innocence. He’d had that before, often, his entire life. He was beyond bored with the disappointed orgasm-aftermath of following his loins over his heart.

Her face formed. Her nose, lips (he felt that he’d cry if he dared kiss them), and eyes. By the Gods her eyes! They gazed at him, in him, surely into the deepest part of where even he feared to look.

He felt his heart beating, punching, bullying his other parts within to get out of its way. This is what the poets said, wasn’t it? When the heart does this, it’s love?

But what was happening to his own body, even while this lovely being formed before him? His Satyr nature joined in celebration with his heart. Flutestuf’s rod was rapidly enlarging, emerging from its sheath, storming out of his hair. He closed his legs over it while it was still possible, before it swung up erect, hard and demanding, as if a sword ready to duel.

Painful. He fell to his knees as if in supplication to the beauty before him, but it was really to adjust his engorging member, already straining at its moors.

Resist! He had to resist his bestial nature. He knew all there was to know about mere rutting. He wanted love!

His heart wanted love. His body wanted rut. They worked together to conspire against his mind, so desperate to contain them.

Yet there was his distinctly male gaze.

Flutestuf gazed at those eyes which gazed so warmly, acceptingly, lovingly back at him. Was even his own Mother’s love ever so complete?

Flutestuf gazed at this beautiful creature’s breasts, loving eyes of their own that saw everything and nothing. Oh yes. Surely that was their poetry. He would write poems to his love’s eyes and breasts.

He gazed at her fully formed legs and between them. Her gender was still forming there. Oh please let it not be a penis again.

This was not Flutestuf’s first attempt, and the last time he’d summoned a young Succubus, both nymph and satyr in one form.

He named it Scha and they’d enjoyably dallied for a time, but eventually Flutestuf realized he didn’t actually love Scha. For all of Scha’s youthful femininity, it still emitted a mild yet distinct male spoor.

So one day he looked at himself in the mirror and saw – no love. No amorous stranger cast its expression upon his features. He only saw his face: His foul, unloving face.

His time with Scha was a lie, but it wasn’t Scha’s lie. It was his own.

He’d allowed the beauty and pleasure of Scha to distract him from his heart’s true pursuit and it eventually disgusted him. He sent the broken-hearted Scha back to the Otherworld, wherever that was. Frightened and crying as it sank back into the pentagram, Scha affirmed and reaffirmed its love for Flutestuf: pleaded for mercy even during the act of its transition out of this world.

None of Scha’s entreaties touched Flutestuf, whose heart slept through the wringing emotion while his mind pondered on the mechanics of what he witnessed.

Nobody really knew the nature of transition between the worlds of a summoning. What did these beings do on their own worlds? What daily lives were they torn from when summoned by the Magik Arts to this world? They seemed to have no memory of the other place. Surely they weren’t merely lined up like dolls sitting upon a cosmic shelf, waiting to be brought by the act of a summons.

When Scha left his final scream upon this world, Flutestuf only shrugged and turned away, entirely lost within his own thoughts. ‘For that matter, what place are we summoned from when we are naturally born into this world?’

When his friends heard what he’d done with Scha they were circumspect yet decidedly disapproving. No one openly expressed outrage or offense, of course. No practitioner of Magiks ever does to a sibling of the Arts. The experts may, sure. The Sorcerers and Sorceress may direct their powers at will and for that reason alone are best left to their own devices. But among those who were not the actual source of magik but must coax it into being – the practioners: Witches, Wizards, and Mystics like himself – declaring scandal against another member of the Arts was a perilous indulgence.

“One must have a care when dealing with maledictions.”
– Cugel the Clever

Flutestuf eventually realized he’d lost their company. Not that practitioners were ever fraught with festive bonhomie in the best of times, but his cabal had no time for Flutestuf anymore. The change was clearly chilled.

Flutestuf missed the periodic sharing of new discoveries, but oh well, they too were a distraction from his goals and anyway, practice makes perfect.

No remorse existed within Flutestuf. After all, a bee, to be a bee, must seek out flowers, not other bees. Flutestuf wanted a flower so complete that he’d never return to the hive.  All the better now that the hive no longer wanted him.

The vapor between her legs parted, breaking Flutestuf from his reverie.

Yes! A lovely vaginal cleft! A mons and vulva swelled beautifully around it, sprouting soft down. He looked up to her face. The fog of summoning seemed to be having a difficult time with her hair. It must be creating quite a mane up there, but he no longer worried that the horns of a male would appear.

She smiled at him. Had any living creature ever offered him the kindness of such a smile before?

A worm of thought slithered into his mind. ‘Am I worthy of such wonder?’

Flutestuf brushed the thought aside, ‘No I’m not, and if not I will be. I will make myself worthy of love.’

Already kneeling, Flutestuf bent forward, practically on hands and knees before the awe inspiring goddess appearing before him. He wanted her to have a name and he wanted her to already know it.

‘Please, my goddess,’ he thought. ‘Only divulge this one secret from where you came. Share with me this one part of your past, of a life lived that makes you whole and real and I’ll never inquire for more.’

Instead she slightly pursed her lips, reached out with that loveliest of lovely hands, and stroked his furry cheek.

Flutestuf, disappointed in the maleness of the still forming Scha, never allowed the creature to touch him until long after the completion of summoning. Scha had to goad and seduce him into relenting to its embrace.

Not so with this female creature who wholly defined acceptance and love. At her touch, tears welled up in Flutestuf’s eyes.

A slight blemish appeared on her tummy. A small insignificant mole. Flutestuf pulled himself away from scrutinizing it. No matter. He didn’t summon perfection and who was he to ask for it?

As her hand pulled away he reached for it, grasped it, and brought it to his lips. He gazed longingly, achingly into her eyes as he kissed the back of that loveliest of lovely.

Her eyelids darkened as flesh wrinkled around them. The innocence faded, revealing jaded knowledge. These were an experienced harlot’s eyes, though they clearly loved him no less.

Any human man, real man, would desire such love even more. To be chosen by an experienced lover, well versed in the consequences of  choice, was so much more preferable than the childish choosings of an inexperienced waif.

Flutestuf was satyr not human, so not a real man. His kind did not, could not, appreciate any but nymphs and human virgins.

What was happening to her?

By the Gods it was the magiks!

He touched her before summoning was complete and the still working spell was changing her to suit him. But that didn’t suit Flutestuf at all.

He didn’t want a female version of himself. He wasn’t aspiring to be himself! Flutestuf knew that he was a worthless, miserable grotesque of a creature, rightly shunned by others and even his own kind. His former Cabal, made of various creatures both living and undead, found their past acceptance of him based on a shared common passion for the Magiks.

He pulled back as the fog around her head evaporated, leaving coarse hair like his own. The hair between her legs also grew coarse and long, like his own, and goat hairs sprouted all over her body.

Flutestuf fell back from the change in horror and his hand fell upon the sacrificial knife he used to cast this blood spell.

“Damn it!” he cried out. ‘Everything is going wrong! Again!’

Her knowing, experienced harlot’s eyes saw his terror, knew his thoughts, yet because she still loved him, she reached out to calm his fears. Flutestuf would have none of it. He threw himself forward, half into the circle, and angrily slashed her.

With his naturally inhuman strength and the madness of his bestial urges, he hacked her beautiful flesh from muscle, muscle from sinew, sinew from bone. He hacked deep into her bone, again and again through the heady spray of hot blood and her harrowing screams. Her screams of loss and betrayal cried out, until her brief, tragic life was no more.

There. Her beauty was also no more. Her love was a thing of the ever expanding past. Whoever she was and wherever she was from, she could remain a cypher to him.

“It was lust, not love,” he lied to himself.

He knew he was lying and he hated himself for it. No, hate wasn’t a strong enough word.

He despised himself.

Nearly exhausted from it all, Flutestuf left the bloody circle and wobbled over to the mirror.

He collapsed before it, stared at his mocking ugly self.

“You,” he accused it. He stabbed his knife deep into his thigh. Then he pulled it back out and repeatedly stabbed his legs with every word.

“You! You! You! You! You!”

The pain was nearly overpowering but the exsanguination wouldn’t last. Healing spells are one of the  first things a knowledgeable practitioner casts upon themselves.

“You’re ugly!” he cried to the mirror. “And hateful! Filthy! Cold and remorseless! You aren’t worth love!”

Flutestuf threw the knife away and broke down sobbing at his own wretchedness.

“Nobody has ever loved you,” he murmured. His mumble became a shout, “And nobody ever will! Never until you change!”

He grabbed the mirror’s frame with both hands. “Change you disgusting thing! Why won’t you change?”

Flutestuf sobbed in despair and searched for where the knife clattered off to. He set the mirror back, went for the knife, returned to the mirror, and stabbed himself through the heart.

Almost instantly he collapsed from the blood pressure drop.

When he awoke, he looked around himself, then wrenched the knife from his chest, where his heart had healed around the wound, and collapsed again, as before.

When he came to a second time, he dejectedly stood, tired self-loathing evident in his every move.

Tearfully, Flutestuf pressed his solemn head against the mirror, his horns clacking against the surface.

“Why was I born me?” he sobbed. “And why? Why must I stay me?”

He moved back and stared deeply at his reflection.

“You,” he said pointing at the mirror. “You are not worth tolerating or accepting.”

He tapped the mirror with the point of his claw. “You must be a better person. You must. You must be what you want to be.”

He backed away, turned his hand and tapped himself. “I must work to see in the mirror what I wish others to see in me. I must. I will.”

He breathed a deep sigh that would have been melodramatic to most humans, except Flutestuf was sincere.

“But when?” he asked himself.

Flutestuf shambled off to his room to sleep. So much work and nothing to show for it. So much left to be done. He counted on his precious mirror to one day reveal a real him that he could be proud of: a him that he and the world could respect. How long before he’d see that in the mirror?

Never outside of his self-indulgence.

Flutestuf was forever doomed to a long, loveless, brutally miserable life. For a mirror, like all reflections, only shows us the reverse of what everyone else sees.

END

Copyright 2016 by E.C. McMullen Jr.
Art by Norman Lindsay.


wb2016Increase your worth by buying my book,
WILLOW BLUE.
It’s my second collection of critically acclaimed Supernatural and Drama Thriller short stories with all of the Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem, you’ve come to expect (or should by now). Available in paperback for $8.00 or in Kindle for only $1.99. Buy the paperback at Amazon and the Kindle eBook is free! The tales will last you longer than latte!

Want more? Buy

PERPETUAL BULLET: A Science Fiction Collection.
It’s a veritable trove of previously published Science Fiction Horror Thriller tales – plus bonus stories
Featuring: Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem!
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, WHSmith, and more).
Buy the paperback at Amazon and the Kindle eBook is free!

Crave still more?

Look for my story Cedo Looked Like People, in the anthology, FEAR THE REAPER, edited by Joe Mynhardt. Available from Crystal Lake Publishing and available in Print for $12.99 or eBook for $2.99.

Also available from Crystal Lake Publishing, the film making guidebook, HORROR 201: The Silver Scream. Reap the rewards of movie making experience from the likes of Myself, as well as  John Carpenter, Tom Holland, Jeffrey Reddick, George A. Romero, Keith Arem, Richard Gray, also the late  Ray Bradbury, Wes Craven, plus many more. $19.99 in Print or $3.99 in eBook.


Image

Someone’s Knockin’ at the Door

knock-the-door


MERCY CLOCK

clockMercy had enough. In fact, in her heart she knew she was done with Clay.

It was her name, she realized. Her parents gave her this name and it informed her personality. Knowing this, she would give Clay one more chance, in her merciful consideration that, dealing with a “grounded” name like Clay, may also inform his behavior.

When the weekend came and they were dressed to go out, Mercy approached her lover while holding within her arms a huge battery powered novelty clock. It was no less accurate for the novelty.

Clay slipped on his Saturday mask. A stylized version of a 17th Century Italian plague mask, the long beak kind favored by doctors of the era. Clay’s mask was a cheap piece of plastic imitation. It was face mask only, held on by a rubber band.

Mercy expected it to be one of those days, which is why she held the clock.

Mercy: “See this clock, Clay?”
Clay: “See these eye holes in my mask, Mercy? Of course I see the big fucking clock! Duh!”
Mercy: “I’m dead serious, Clay. I will give this relationship 12 hours. When I set foot out that door you will have only 12 hours to grow up. Only 12 hours to stop your childish crap in public.”

Clay lifted his mask. His brows and eye lids screwed up as if he was preparing a riposte, an attempt to smarmily justify himself.

Mercy was having none of it.

Mercy: “I’m going for a walk now and I want you to come with me.”
Clay: “Seriously? You want to walk together this time?”
Mercy: “Yes. Clay. I want to walk together. Walk. I want you to Walk with me, not carry on like a jackass. Can I trust you to Walk with me? No antics?”

Clay didn’t answer, only pulled his mask back down so that his eyes were hidden within the dark of it. His top hat topped off his ensemble.

With Clay’s unsatisfactory behavior, Mercy was on the edge of ending it now, yet she heard herself repeat.

Mercy: “Will you walk with me, Clay?”
Clay: “I’ve got 12 hours?”

Not a caveat Mercy wanted to hear.

Mercy: “I’m taking the clock with us.”
Clay: “Oh come on!”
Mercy: “I’m taking the clock.”

It was bitter cold outside, which to Mercy felt emotionally apropos. As she walked, Clay walked beside her, still wearing that idiot mask.

‘Why didn’t I include the mask in the bargain,’ she chided herself ‘Why?’

Maybe she no longer cared. Mercy wasn’t sure if she loved Clay anymore or ever could. She’d reached the point where she wondered why she ever did. The fun of dating Clay was exciting. The fun of being in a relationship with Clay quickly lost its flavor. They didn’t hold hands, as instead she held the grim reminder of the giant clock. It either ticked up toward a new life together or down to the death of their relationship. Mercy felt indifferent to either.

A cold wind swirled the park’s late Autumn leaves around them and she side-eye spied Clay shiver. She knew his vibrato was not from the cold. Mercy looked at the clock. They’d only been walking for twenty minutes.

An unexpected flurry of dry snow whipped around them, shooing the leaves down the path. Birds blew in out of nowhere, fluttering madly to avoid crashing into the humans.

Suddenly Clay’s barely controlled vibrato turned fortissimo as he threw out his arms and flapped them.

“I’m A Bird!” he crescendo’d, leaping into the air.

Tiny chips of teeth ground out of Mercy’s grimace. ‘Fuck! The god damn mask! That’s been the key this whole time. It feeds his stupid alter-ego.’ Why did she never notice before? What was she thinking to let him wear it?

The earth didn’t want to be the ground forever looking up at the wondrous sky above it. It wanted to fly and Clay jumped around her, flapping his arms with all the agile aerial grace of a pig.

“Imma Bird! I can fly! Imma Bird!” he yelled in sing song.

Passerby furtively stared or awkwardly looked away. Clay with his antics, Mercy with her giant clock, she suddenly realized what a quixotic matching set they appeared to be.

Only now regretting having struck the bargain and made the rules, Mercy gazed down at her clownishly huge novelty clock: Eleven and a half more hours of this bullshit.

END
Story, MERCY CLOCK, Copyright 2016 by E.C. McMullen Jr.
Artist Unknown


wb2016Don’t live with regrets! Buy my book,
WILLOW BLUE.
It’s my second collection of critically acclaimed Supernatural and Drama Thriller short stories with all of the Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem, you’ve come to expect (or should by now). Available in paperback for $8.00 or in Kindle for only $1.99. Buy the paperback at Amazon and the Kindle eBook is free! The tales will last you longer than latte!

Want more? Buy

PERPETUAL BULLET: A Science Fiction Collection.
It’s a veritable trove of previously published Science Fiction Horror Thriller tales – plus bonus stories
Featuring: Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem!
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, WHSmith, and more).
Buy the paperback at Amazon and the Kindle eBook is free!

Crave still more?

Look for my story Cedo Looked Like People, in the anthology, FEAR THE REAPER, edited by Joe Mynhardt. Available from Crystal Lake Publishing and available in Print for $12.99 or eBook for $2.99.

Also available from Crystal Lake Publishing, the film making guidebook, HORROR 201: The Silver Scream. Reap the rewards of movie making experience from the likes of Myself, as well as  John Carpenter, Tom Holland, Jeffrey Reddick, George A. Romero, Keith Arem, Richard Gray, also the late  Ray Bradbury, Wes Craven, plus many more. $19.99 in Print or $3.99 in eBook.