FREE FICTION: “Love Story” by Bruce McAllister

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Love Story
by
Bruce McAllister

When I was forty, I had a girlfriend who was a lot younger. She had red hair, like me, and the difference was enough that some people thought she was my daughter. It didn’t bother me then, but it does now, with all the time I have to think about it in this house, trying to hear what she might say.  What was it like for her, our being together? Did she feel as important in our relationship as she was to me, or less, because I was older? Was she unhappier than she seemed but didn’t want to tell to me? Did it remind her of other relationships she’d had? Maria didn’t have much money, but she was scrappy, and for about a year she bartered with a guy for what she needed — car repairs, appliances, a TV. At one point, she agreed (I told her I’d help — I wanted her to know how much she meant to me) to clean the inside walls of a house off “E” Street, that really tough part of town. Iron bars on windows, cracked stucco, dead lawns, dogs with scarred faces, all of that. There were reddish streaks on one of the walls in the house. We scrubbed and scrubbed, but they wouldn’t go away. A neighbor, a big woman, dropped by twice and stared at us, especially Maria. We heard later that a young red-haired woman who looked like Maria — no husband, a young daughter, miserable in life — had been screwing the husbands in the neighborhood and finally been killed by two of the wives and in this very house. With knives. It was her blood on the walls, we were told, and no one could get it out. “If you can find someone who looks like her and make them do it,” an old woman on the block had said, “it just might work.” The wives wouldn’t let us leave until Maria tried, so she did, and I helped. But even though we scrubbed so hard the drywall finally came off in our hands, we couldn’t do it, and when we couldn’t, when the blood was still there on the walls, the wives killed us, too, with the same knives and with that old woman’s blessings. “You’ve both got hair just like hers,” we could hear her saying as they cut. 

Bruce McAllister is an award-winning West-Coast-based writing coach, writer in a wide range of genres, consultant in the fields of publishing and Hollywood, workshop leader and an “agent finder” for both new and established writers. As a writing coach, he specializes in all kinds of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and screenplays.

FREE FICTION: “The Canyon of Terrible Lizards” (Part 7) by Norman Prentiss

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stop-motion dinosaurs fight!

Haunted Attractions with your Other Father by Norman Prentiss is the sequel to his Odd Adventures with your Other Fatherand continues the horror/fantasy road trip adventures of Jack and Shawn as they fight monsters and homophobia in the ’80s. Cemetery Dance is proud to publish this new novel (with an e-book version now on sale at Amazon for 0.99!), and to celebrate we’re serializing a new novella featuring the characters from the books! Today, we’re presenting the exciting conclusion!

When we last saw Jack and Shawn, they joined another couple on a “Dinosaur Safari” tour, their guide Troy leading them downriver. After finding themselves on a strange beach, the group was attacked by a large dinosaur; they killed that one, but a T-Rex followed…and something worse seemed ready to emerge from the forest…Continue Reading

FREE FICTION: “The Canyon of Terrible Lizards” (Part 6) by Norman Prentiss

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Haunted Attractions with your Other Father by Norman Prentiss is the sequel to his Odd Adventures with your Other Fatherand continues the horror/fantasy road trip adventures of Jack and Shawn as they fight monsters and homophobia in the ’80s. Cemetery Dance is proud to publish this new novel (with an e-book version now on sale at Amazon for 0.99!), and to celebrate we’re serializing a new novella featuring the characters from the books!

When we last saw Jack and Shawn, they joined another couple on a “Dinosaur Safari” tour, their guide Troy leading them downriver. After finding themselves on a strange beach, the group is attacked by a large dinosaur…Continue Reading

FREE FICTION: The Canyon of Terrible Lizards” (Part 5) by Norman Prentiss

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photo from the 1925 film The Lost World
Photo from The Lost World (1925)

Haunted Attractions with your Other Father by Norman Prentiss is the sequel to his Odd Adventures with your Other Fatherand continues the horror/fantasy road trip adventures of Jack and Shawn as they fight monsters and homophobia in the ’80s. Cemetery Dance is proud to publish this new novel (with an e-book version now on sale at Amazon for 0.99!), and to celebrate we’re serializing a new novella featuring the characters from the books!

When we last saw Jack and Shawn, they joined another couple on a “Dinosaur Safari” tour, their guide Troy leading them downriver. After a (real? fake?) dinosaur sailed beneath their raft, nearly capsizing it, a massive whirlpool threatened to pull them underwater. They escaped, only to find themselves on a strange beach…Continue Reading

FREE FICTION: “The Canyon of Terrible Lizards” (Part 4) by Norman Prentiss

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cover of Haunted Attractions with your Other FatherHaunted Attractions with your Other Father by Norman Prentiss is the sequel to his Odd Adventures with your Other Fatherand continues the horror/fantasy road trip adventures of Jack and Shawn as they fight monsters and homophobia in the ’80s. Cemetery Dance is proud to publish this new novel (with an e-book version now on sale at Amazon for 0.99!), and to celebrate we’re serializing a new novella featuring the characters from the books!

When we last saw Jack and Shawnthey joined another couple on a “Dinosaur Safari” tour, their guide Troy leading them downriver. Unfortunately, Jack is afraid of water, and he’d projected a vision of a vast, malicious ocean into his partner’s mind…Continue Reading

FREE FICTION: “The Canyon of Terrible Lizards” (Part 2) by Norman Prentiss

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Haunted Attractions with your Other Father by Norman Prentiss is the sequel to his Odd Adventures with your Other Fatherand continues the horror/fantasy road trip adventures of Jack and Shawn as they fight monsters and homophobia in the ’80s. Cemetery Dance is proud to publish this new novel (with an e-book version now on sale at Amazon for 0.99!), and to celebrate we’re serializing a new novella featuring the characters from the books!

When we last saw Jack and Shawn, they were visiting a roadside attraction that promised lizards (and dinosaurs!). The proprietor directed them to a back curtain, and proposed an unusual wager. Continue Reading

“My Girl” by Bruce McAllister

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My Girl
by
Bruce McAllister

I suppose I love her. I know she loves me. We’re quite a pair at night, walking the alleys of the old parts of the city, the junkyards, the tougher residential areas, where the dogs are bigger and meaner—which is what she likes.

She likes me to watch.Continue Reading

The Mask: A Halloween Serial Novel by Kevin Lucia

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.

 

The creepy mask that inspired Kevin Lucia's serial novel The Mask.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.”

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CD eBook Spotlight: That Which Grows Wild by Eric J. Guignard

Coiver for That Which Grows WildWe’re devoting this latest eBook column to Eric J. Guignard’s story collection, That Which Grows Wild.

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

Fiction: The Road That Takes You There by Jason Sechrest

Meet George Tinker. Each day, George fires up his ’57 Thunderbird and drives down the road in his small home town—the same road he’s been driving since he was old enough to get behind the wheel. 

But, for the first time in his life, George is about to come to the end of that road—and he’ll finally have to face what’s waiting for him there.

Cemetery Dance is proud to present “The Road That Takes You There” by columnist and author Jason Sechrest. Continue Reading

Free Fiction: Malignant Ghosts (Part 1) by Maynard Sims

Malignant Ghosts
(Part 1)
by
Maynard Sims

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

“The True Story of Christmas” by John R. Little

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“The True Story of Christmas”
by
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

“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

Exclusive Excerpt: 'Paper Tigers' by Damien Angelica Walters

Paper Tigers Hi-ResToday we’re excited to bring readers an exclusive excerpt from Paper Tigersthe 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).

If you want to know more about the novel, check out our recent interview with Walters. For now, we hope you enjoy this special peek inside its pages.

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"The Hands That Hold, the Lies That Bind" by Damien Angelica Walters

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“The Hands That Hold, the Lies That Bind”
by
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