Lemme tell you something…

Science Fiction

Waiting Is The Hardest Part

ThePaleThing_WilliamBassoWAITING IS THE HARDEST PART
by E.C. McMullen Jr.

Myrna was old enough to remember how extraordinarily quick old film cameras were, ‘Well, at least compared to modern digital cameras.’

‘With film it was all Point and Shoot,’ she thought, ‘If I’m not mistaken, there was actually a model line of old film cameras call Point & Shoot or Point & Click.’

‘Film was only time consuming when you wanted to do something artsy.’

The Portrait Photographer looked to his laptop, then to his camera, to the meter board for his lights, and back to his laptop.

Something “whirred”. Something beeped a three second melodious interlude. None of it put the photographer at ease and Myrna’s nocturnal pets were getting fidgety.

‘It’s not in their nature to stay still in bright light for so long.’

“Okay!” he announced as if everything was finally underway. “I’ve installed all of the latest drivers.”

‘Which means things are far from underway.’

“Now,” he continued as, one by one he finger shot his equipment, “I just need to disconnect the camera from the monitor, lights, laptop, and board, reboot everything individually, and then I can reconnect.”

Her pet, Tesla, crawled into the shadow behind her ear. Tama was slithering into Myrna’s expensively coiffed hair. Jilly was trying to coil beneath her palm. Myrna silently ticked off all of the time, scheduling, money, and trouble she went through to get today’s portrait.

At the 40 minute mark, the photographer said for the umpteenth time, “Just a few more seconds,” adding, “Could you please re-arrange your pets one more time?”

‘As if my pets are the problem.’

Gently she cupped and cradled them, moving them back into position, back in the light where they did not want to be. They were all getting crabby except for Weeters her crab, who simply drew his eyes and legs shut into his body and went to sleep.

The photographer bowed to his equipment. A stray whisper leaked out of his lungs “come on, come on, come on. goddamn it, what now?”

Under those cold LED lights, Myrna could feel herself growing old.

END

Story Copyright 2017 by E.C. McMullen Jr.

The Art Inspires The Story
Art, The Pale Thing, by William Basso


wb2016Don’t wait another minute! 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.


A New Man

ManWithSkull

A NEW MAN
by E.C. McMullen Jr.
Copyright 2017

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 the 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. ‘I have killed to raise the money for the operation and will kill again if I have to.’

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

Gumoc felt guiltless in committing murder as his victims were as vicious as he, only without his moral code, his personal empathy. Gumoc drew lines he would not cross. His two victims had no such barriers.

They brutalized people for money but also because they enjoyed the suffering of others. Gumoc killed only for the money to preserve his life and 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, crushing 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 commission to shrinking back in her chair and just wanting him out of there. He made her remember that she was a small frightened animal of the woods, hiding in silence, and he was the bear approaching.

This Gumock fantasized about holding the saleswoman’s neck in his powerful right hand. Enjoying her helpless terror, her delightfully agonized awareness of her approaching death, as he slowly dug his thumb into her throat until he pinched her head like a mushroom cap right off of her body.

Real Gumoc virtually punched the anti-Gumoc back into waiting in the shadows. He forced away the hungry smile curling 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.


CAT WATCH

catCAT WATCH
Copyright 2016 by E.C. McMullen Jr.

I don’t believe in magic, so what happened to us after the fire I can only chalk up to a reality I’ve never experienced, that can be rationally explained by science beyond my understanding.

The night before the fire our little house was rumbled by thunderstorms – lightening storms to be accurate I guess. It was all more electric than rain. Living in a farm house about 30 miles from our nearest neighbor and around 100 from the nearest town, we thought it was safest to stay indoors and not attempt driving to a safer place.

The next day we awoke to smoke.

Connie bounced off of the bed, her feet already moving, in air, before she touched floor. She ran to the window, throwing the curtains aside.

“Our farm’s on fire!”

Fearing the worst, we got on the roof. Everywhere we looked our fields of sorghum were ablaze. We were surrounded by fire.

Thinking fast I ran to the tractor to hitch the furrow while Connie got to the water pump and brought it to full pressure.

The fire closed the circle around us, but at a risky, yet not fool-hardy distance, I followed along the closing circumference of the ring, digging a shallow trench of dry moat around our house. Connie tossed the water hoses into the ditch. Then, all we could do was wait as the water slowly filled the moat.

Our house was the axis pin of the approaching fire, our livestock were getting fidgety, and I didn’t want them running into the fire to escape. it. Animals make weird choices in a panic so, except for the chickens, we tied all the livestock to the posts closest to the house.

Firebug embers floated overhead.

“We should have watered down the house,” Connie said.
“I know,” I answered. “One thing at a time.”

I ran to the wheelhouse where we kept all of our fire extinguisher canisters. Though a fire this large was unheard of, crop fire isn’t an unknown quantity on the farm.

The heat created a smoke typhoon, choking us, so back inside the house we went. Either the moat was going to work or it wasn’t. Whatever was going to happen now was out of our hands.

We opened our front door and the cat ran out.

I should correct myself.

At that time in our lives, “a” cat ran out, as we didn’t own a cat.

She ran out of our house, tail in the air like a question, and toward the moat and fire. Not knowing what was going on, but instinctive to me as a man born and raised on a farm, I immediately ran after it to bring her back to the relative safety of the house. You gotta save the livestock.

She ran through a still dry part of the moat and right to the fire’s edge. Where she approached – and this is what knocked me for a loop so hard I could only stop dead and stand there, jaw agape – the fire stopped, then retreated.

She slowed to a walk and instead of running toward one part of it, she walked along the edge of the ring. The fire backed away, the circle began widening. She walked the large ring around our house and the fire not only retreated, it shrank. That part makes sense to me. It already consumed the fuel of our fields behind it. It had nowhere else to go.

In an hour the approaching fire was out. In two hours the smoke stopped. In the distance, we could make out the rest of the fireline still burning as it moved outward in the opposite direction away from us and into adjacent farms. The circle widened as far as the eye could see. We became an oasis.

The cat that saved us, now our cat, sat on her haunches near one side of the burnt rim. And there she stays to this day.

She never moves away from that rim, even when it rains. And when it does rain, there’s no more lightning.

Year after year, little by little, our crop circle grows, extending further out into the char, and they grow well. That’s good because, for whatever reason, neither Connie or I can step beyond the circle of plant life and into the burnt area. It’s not like we bump against a wall. More like we try to move into the burnt ash and our bodies just won’t obey.

It’s the same with our livestock. Nothing that can walk or fly moves into the ash. Hopefully in time, the ring of plants will extend enough that the burnt circle isn’t there any more. Connie and I would love to see our friends and family again.

In the meantime, at least we’re alive.

Electricity works, but not the phones, the Internet, no communication at all. I’m glad we have so many books.

Another weird thing is our kitchen. All of our food in the cupboard never runs out. Not the flour, the rice, the coffee, nothing. It’s always full.

As for the cat, she never seems to eat. If I go out to her, she appreciates a kindly pet on the head or scratching her back a bit. She purrs, but remains at her post. She stays there at the edge of the circle, staring at the charred rim as if defying whatever is on the burnt side to confront her.

One more thing I should write down here is, we never named her. To us she’s The Cat. The Cat who came into our lives at just the right moment. Considering the circumstances, we feel we belong to her as much as she belongs to us.

Fact of the matter is, she’s the one who chose to come into our lives and she’ll be the one who chooses when to leave.

END

Story by E.C. McMullen Jr.

Art & Artist: Unknown. If you can prove you are the artist, please contact me and I’ll credit you.


pb300Make sure you have enough books for any emergency! Buy my book
PERPETUAL BULLET: A Science Fiction Collection
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.


That’s Vita!

THAT’S VITA!
by E.C. McMullen Jr.
Copyright 2016VirgilFinlay

Vita raised her open hands to her pet bat, Jasper.

On the palm of Vita’s right hand was a magic marker drawing of an insect. Jasper loved eating insects. If he chose that hand, Vita would reward him with all of the delicious insects he could eat in one night.

On the open palm of her left hand was a drawing of a grape. Jasper was not a fruit bat and, even if he was, Vita only grew sour grapes.

All of this was academic, however, because Jasper’s eyesight was quite poor and he relied almost entirely on echolocation and his sense of smell.

Echolocation couldn’t differentiate between the two drawings and his sense of smell only told him that the ink used was alcohol based.

So the odds were 50-50 and Jasper, being a bat, was poor at odds-making. Still, while only able to think with his bat brain, a rudimentary suspicion was dawning on poor Jasper.

‘Vita è una cagna.’

END
Story, THAT’S VITA!, Copyright 2016 by E.C. McMullen Jr.
Inspired by the Artwork of  Virgil Finlay.


wb2016You’ll go bats for 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.


my Rick and Morty meme

There are many Rick and Morty memes, but this one is mine.

Actually, Rick and Morty don’t belong to me and this image may not ever become a meme in the strictest Dawkinian sense of the word.

So just take it for what it is. Use it for whatever bureaucratic waste of life, time, and money applies.

Rick-Morty-BoondoggleAnd yeah, it’s pretty chatty for a meme, but Rick’s a chatty guy.


WHO ARE THEY?

Back in 2012, after decades of searching, I finally found out who They were.

They.

They were so arrogant, so smug in their anonymity, that bypassing their security was a breeze.

They woke to find me standing in the dark at the foot of their beds.

Their brazen over-confidence sold them out and I quickly executed every single one in the house.

They died cowering in screams and tears.

The noise of my unmerciful rampage brought the cops almost immediately, but not quick enough to stop me. I surrendered my weapons without incident and was handcuffed.

The arresting officers took a good long look around at my bloody carnage.

Then one said, “Wait… wait a minute. That’s … this is Them isn’t it?”

I shook my head. “No. This is They.”

“They?” said the other officer. “THE They?”

I nodded. Both officers took a second look.

“It really is…” the first whispered in awe. “Shit. It’s really They.”

A moment passed in silence. I felt the cuffs click off of my wrists.

“Go on…”

“Get out of here.”

I didn’t need to be told again. I got the hell out as fast as I could.

They were finished. All the misery: all the foul, evil things They said and They did was done. They would never control you, me, and the Dostoevskys of the world again.

That was a long time ago, but I’m not through yet.

I’m still looking for Them.

END

(inspired by Alessandra Bava)


wb2016Your search is over! 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.


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.


wb2016Feeling burned by buying the wrong book? Don’t make that mistake again! 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.