Cemetery Dance reviews editor/columnist Kevin Lucia is writing a Halloween serial novel one day at a time on his blog. We thought it might be something our readers would enjoy as we count down to our favorite holiday! Check out Kevin’s essay on the origins of The Mask, and follow the links at the end to read along.
Two weeks ago, I found the weirdest mask in our school’s dirt cellar.
The dirt cellar—which began life as a fallout shelters in the fifties—is where all sorts of things get stored. Things like old desks, cabinets, bookshelves, toilets, tables…you name it. Boxes of old textbooks, old televisions, all the things a school might store over the years instead of throwing out, just because they “might” be needed sometime in the future.
I’m down there all the time. I’m a scrounger by nature, (I learned it from my Dad, who learned it from his father, who was a teen during the Depression), and I’m always looking for something to add to my classroom. In this case, I was looking for Halloween decorations, because seasonal decorations are also stored in the dirt cellar.
And I found this weird rubber mask. With bulging eyes, stringy black hair, and a gaping black mouth. Inspiration struck, and I decided to take the mask (its rubber felt weird between my fingers) and hang it on my classroom door in the center of Halloween wreath as my own “Marley Knocker.”
In May of this year, the book won a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection. Instead of an interview, this time we asked the author to provide a story that’s not in the book, as a kind of bonus/addendum, but also to give a sample of the kind of eclectic fiction you’ll find in the full collection. Without further ado, please enjoy the melancholy, romantic apocalypse of “Carmine Lips and a Fade into Oblivion.”Continue Reading
The large, yellow, JCB digger raised its claw-like arm, and brought it crashing down through the roof of the house, sending tiles flying into the air. It looked as if birds were taking flight. The operator adjusted some levers in his cab, and the claw rose and fell again, into the hole that had been made, but this time hooking over the front wall of the house, and pulling it outwards. The wall collapsed in an explosion of crumbling brickwork.
The noise was extraordinary, as bricks fell, and windows shattered. It was like a primeval beast exacting revenge on an ancient enemy: loud, remorseless and final.Continue Reading
Cemetery Dance Online Exclusive Fiction “The True Story of Christmas”
John R. Little
My name is Alexander Malicious of Oz. I am twelve years old, but I was only ten months old when the whole world went kablooey, so I don’t remember any of it. Daddy once told me I had a different name back then, but he won’t tell me what it was. After everybody died, Mom and Dad renamed me. They never told me why.Continue Reading
“The Dungeon of Count Verlock”
(A Budget Studio Production)
edited by Norman Prentiss
This previously unpublished story, an anonymous “novelization” of a movie written and directed by Bud “Budget” Preston, was scheduled to appear in issue 101 of Monster Project magazine. For more information about the history of this story, and how I uncovered it, see my Editor’s Note after the end of the story—and continue reading to find out about my forthcoming novel, Life in a Haunted House, that fictionalizes elements of Preston’s life and filmography.Continue Reading
Today we’re excited to bring readers an exclusive excerpt from Paper Tigers, the forthcoming novel from Damien Angelica Walters (due out on February 29 from Dark House Press). The early word on the novel is that it’s “…a hauntingly elegant portrait of loneliness and longing for healing…” (author Bracken MaCleod) and “Wonderfully creepy and heartwarming…” (editor Sarah Read).
Cemetery Dance Online Exclusive Fiction “The Hands That Hold, the Lies That Bind”
Damien Angelica Walters
The thorn breaks through Callie’s skin, rising from her left shoulder like a small, jagged periscope. There’s no pain, no blood, only a strange sensation creeping the length of her spine. The barb, about the length and width of a fingernail, is a shade darker than her skin, its shape a tiny shark’s fin, the skin around it slightly ridged.
She covers her mouth, holding in a laugh because it’s not funny. It’s not funny at all. She takes a deep breath, stares at the posters—the Avengers and Star Wars—on her bedroom wall for a long time, then at her shoulder again. The thorn’s still there. This time she does let out a laugh because it’s ridiculous. Lots of weird things happen when you’re twelve—pimples, breasts, boys snapping your bra strap in class, your dad leaving and moving to the opposite side of the country—but thorns aren’t one of them. At least they’re not supposed to be.Continue Reading
Cemetery Dance Online Exclusive Fiction “Snakehandler”
Unlike the others of his congregation, Old John wasn’t all that shocked and surprised when the preacher just up and quit the way he did.
“I know this is sudden,” the pastor had told them at the end of the Sunday service. “But I feel like I’m being led by the Lord to greener pastures. Please, don’t take this as a reflection of you folks. Your faith has been steadfast and true, and I appreciate that. I’m sure you’ll find another man of God – perhaps a better man than I – to preach the gospel from this pulpit soon.”Continue Reading
Cemetery Dance Online Exclusive Fiction “Terminal”
Kealan Patrick Burke
“So, would you like my number?” she asked.
Perched on the side of the bed with his back to her, the rumpled sheets still reeking of sex, Adam closed his eyes and sighed silently. “Sure,” he said, tugging on his socks. He would give her his number because that’s how these things were supposed to go, but as soon as he was on the road, he would block hers. Getting whiny texts from some air stewardess (or whatever the hell they called themselves nowadays) would be just what he needed when he got home to his wife. Glenda was already suspicious, and with good cause. He had learned to be careful not to bring any evidence of his exploits home with him after the one time she found a pair of pink frilly panties in his suitcase, put there by one of his conquests while he’d been in the shower.Continue Reading