Archive for November, 2012

Fantastique: Episode I

Posted in Fantastique with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2012 by Single Malt Serials

Episode I

Waves lapped the sandy shore as if a water dish were exacting revenge against the cat’s bristly tongue. Zhellar d’Or lowered her eyes from the energetic sea and stared down at the No Smoking sign nailed to the railing that barricaded the beach from the boardwalk. She palmed a cigarette from inside the folds of her faded black hoodie. She lit it with a paper match from a book with the name of a bar on it. After a long, slow drag she exhaled the tobacco cloud lazily down at the metal sign.

“Excuse me?” a voice strained with curiosity spoke from behind Zhellar.

Shit. Zhellar dropped her cigarette and stepped on it covertly as she turned. Once behind, now before her, stood a baseball-capped man with an expensive looking camera in his hands half extended in offering.

“Excuse me, sorry, do you think you could take a picture of me?”

Zhellar examined the man for a moment. Fresh faced but with a couple days stubble, an expensive but slightly wrinkled plaid shirt, and gray baggy shorts. A heavy duty backpack was slung over both shoulders and he wore thick socks inside cross trainers. Another harmless tourist.

“Sure.” Zhellar reached out for the large-lensed camera. She pointed it at the man’s face but before she could snap the picture and make her exit, the man stopped her.

“Would it be okay if you got the ocean behind me?”

Zhellar lowered the camera and spun back toward the ocean without waiting for the peppy tourist. She took three steps back as the man practically dove to where Zhellar had just been standing. When they had switched places, Zhellar lifted the camera and counted to three.

“One. Two. Three.” Snap. Zhellar extended the camera across the three foot chasm. The tourist met her halfway with another question.

“Could I take a picture of you now?” Zhellar’s eyes narrowed and her posture tensed. “I’m not a creep,” he replied hurriedly. “I just like to remember who was nice to me on my trip. Never mind. Sorry. Thanks for the picture. Have a nice day.” The man turned and started walking back the way he had come.

“Wait.”

The man turned.

“That’s fine. You can take a picture of me.”

The man smiled and jogged back as he prepared his camera.

Zhellar stood like an amateur sculptor’s awkward masterpiece. “Right here?”

“Wherever.” The man raised the camera to his face, took a breath, and quick counted to three.

“One, two, three.” Snap. “Thanks again!”

Zhellar turned to go.

“Oh wait, what’s your name?” the man asked as an afterthought.

Over her shoulder, Zhellar called back her name.

The man paused, confused. “How do you spell that?”

Zhellar swung around on her heals and sauntered slowly back. The man was digging into his pockets for a pen and paper. She waited impatiently. The man pulled out a creased pocket-sized notebook and a bright orange mini-golf pencil. “Ready.”

“Z. H. E. L. L. A. R.”

“That’s beautiful.” The man looked up from notebook the sun glassed face.

“Thanks.”

“Is that like, Turkish, or something?”

Zhellar sighed and jammed her hands into her hoodie pockets. “Or something.”

The man looked down, rebuked. Zhellar decided to be nice and make small talk. She pulled off her sunglasses.

“What’s your name?”

The man looked up, straight-lipped but with mirth in his eyes. “Tom. Thomas. Either or.”

Zhellar smirked. “Nice to meet you, Tom Thomas.” She extended her hand. Tom clumsily juggled pen, notebook, and camera around his arms until his right hand broke free and firmly shook Zhellar’s.

“Where are you from?” she asked mechanically.

“California.”

“LA?”

“No, actually. Santa Rosa.” He replied proud to not be from LA.

“Cool. Are you on vacation?”

“Yeah. I’ve been bumming around the country all summer. New York is my last stop before I head back home. I’ve wanted to come to Coney Island since I saw Big. Kinda cheesy, I know. But it’s pretty cool on its own anyway. You live in Brooklyn?”

Zhellar looked up at Tom from under her hood, he was younger than she originally thought, maybe freshly graduated from some small, beachy community college.

“You talk fast for a West Coaster.”

“Sorry. I haven’t really talked to anybody in a little while.  That sounded weird, but it’s not. I just mean, I was on a bus for a couple days and I’ve been running around trying to see as much as I can here in New York, so I really haven’t had an opportunity to talk to anyone.” He had almost run out of breath at the end. He inhaled loudly like a diver coming up for air.

Zhellar smiled at Tom’s embarrassment. “It’s fine. Want to get a beer?”

Surprised, Tom stared at Zhellar for a long moment.

“That would be great.” Tom smiled back. “Lead the way.”

Zhellar opened her sunglasses and once again hid her eyes behind them.

“This way.” Zhellar started off, again, not waiting for Tom. Tom had to power walk to keep up with the black hooded figure weaving in and out of boardwalker clusters.

At one point, Tom thought he lost her. He paused, stood on his tip-toes and scanned the backs of heads and hats. Before he could spot her, Zhellar had snaked back to his side and grabbed him by the elbow. Tom startled and looked down at his invisible assailant with fight or flight eyes. Zhellar chuckled.

“Come on. There’re too many people. We’ll take a shortcut.” She led him by the elbow at a right angle through a wacky souvenir shop. Zhellar marched him straight to the back and through an Employees Only door.

“Wait, won’t we get in trouble…?” Tom whisper-shouted at the back of Zhellar’s head. On the other side of the door, they were greeted by a green-haired girl wearing a purple polo with the shop’s name embroidered on it.

“Hey, Zhellar,” the girl greeted absently without looking up from her smartphone.

“Hey, Charlotte.”

Zhellar continued to lead Tom through the stock room of the shop and out the back door. They descended rain stained wooden steps and Tom realized that Zhellar had led him Behind the Scenes.

“Do you work here?” he asked in sudden awe.

Zhellar grunted. “If only. I live here.”

Tom chuckled at what he thought was a joke but quickly fell silent when Zhellar remained mute.

“Are you serious? You live here?” Tom asked like he had just been ushered into Santa’s Toy Shoppe. “That’s awesome!”

“It’s really not.”

“No?” Disappointment threatened to choke Tom’s reply.

“It’s fine, I guess.” Zhellar tried to recover, for Tom’s sake. She led him around a couple blind corners under a wooden walkway and suddenly they emerged into what appeared to be a beer garden.

“Here we are.” Zhellar informed facetiously. “I need a beer.”

Zhellar led the way to the bar, which resembled a converted fireworks stand with a random assortment of stools bellied up to its warped oak bartop. Zhellar waved to the bartender, a dreadlocked young woman with blazing red hair and blue skin. The blue bartender called out.

“Hey girl!”

Tom stood a little behind Zhellar, still mentally reeling from the recent revelation. Zhellar nodded her head over her shoulder at Tom.

“This is Tom Thomas, he’s visiting from California.” Tom took a confident step toward the bar and extended his hand.

“Just Tom actually. Or Thomas. One or the other. Or whichever.”

The Blue Lady tried to cover her laugh with her blue, webbed, fingers; unsuccessfully. “Sorry. My name is Druid. Just Druid.” She reached out and took Tom’s hand and gave a quick, single shake. “You a friend of Zhellar’s?”

“Uh, yeah. I guess so. We just met.” Tom informed. He thought he caught Druid giving Zhellar a wink, but he wasn’t sure.

“What’s your poison?” the bartender asked Tom.

“Uh…whatever she’s having,” Tom pointed at Zhellar.

“Corona.”

“Two Coronas, please,” Tom recited. A moment later, two cold, yellow beers with bright green limes stuck in the top appeared before the two patrons.

“Fourteen,” Druid informed. Tom pulled out a crispy twenty and set it on the warped wood.

“Keep the change,” he invited. Druid smirked and nodded and walked off to greet new patrons.

Tom shoved his lime down the neck of his beer then plugged the top with his thumb and flipped the beer upside down. He waited till the lime floated to the top which was the bottom, then righted his beer. He raised it to Zhellar, who was waiting somewhat impatiently for Tom to finish his procedure.

“Cheers!”

“Cheers,” Zhellar replied as they clinked bottles and sipped. “That’s quite an involved ritual for a beer.”

“I guess,” Tom conceded as he took another swallow of cold beer. “How long have you lived here?”

Zhellar sighed. “All my life.”

“Wow,” Tom exclaimed. “It must be wild living on the World Famous Coney Island!”

“Like I said, it’s really not. It’s actually kind of a shit hole. And the parks are only open during the summer so after that, it’s pretty boring.”

“So what do you do after summer?”

“I bartend across the street,” Zhellar replied between mouthfuls of beer.

“That’s cool,” Tom offered with too many nods. He was silent for a moment, contemplating the strange encounter he was having. He looked over and noticed he companion was almost done with her beer.

“Can I get you another one?” he offered.

Zhellar looked down at the nearly empty beer in her hand. She thought about it for a long time.

“If you have to go, it’s cool,” Tom tried to recover. “I’m not trying to get you drunk or anything. . . unless you want to.”

Zhellar chuckled. “It’s not that. You’re very nice but I think I’ll just have the one, thank you. I should probably be going. It was nice to meet you Tom Thomas.” Zhellar stood and extended her hand. Tom took and shook it.

“Maybe I’ll see you around,” he just about begged. Zhellar smirked again before she turned away.

“Maybe. Have a safe trip home,” she called over her shoulder.

Tom bellied back to the bar and finished the last half of his beer in one pull. He set the bottle gingerly on the bartop as the cold liquid cascaded down his throat. Like a ninja, Druid appeared.

“Another one?”

Tom looked back toward the direction Zhellar had disappeared.

“How about a shot? On me.”

“Sure,” Tom answered.

Two shot glasses appeared and immediately brown liquid began to fill them. Tom grabbed his and raised it to Druid.

“Thanks. Cheers.”

“Cheers!”

The bartender and the patron slammed their shots and dropped the glasses on the counter. Tom’s face contorted with whiskey burn, Druid smiled at the warmth.

“She liked you, you know?” Druid spoke with a sly smile.

“Yeah right.”

“She’s my best friend, I think I know. Why do you think she ran off so quick?”

“Because she had to leave?” Tom guessed.

“She doesn’t work ‘til seven thirty, she didn’t have anywhere to go,” Druid informed. “She was here fifteen minutes ago; she just went for a smoke break. I’m telling you, she liked you. You made her nervous.”

“I didn’t mean to make her nervous,” Tom replied, mortified. “Did I come on too strong or something?”

Druid threw her head back and laughed. She laughed longer than Tom thought was warranted. When she had regained herself, she poured them each another shot. They raised their glasses and took their shots. Tom exhaled like a seasoned fire-eater, Druid smiled again.

“You’re a nice guy. She’s not used to nice guys. Most of the guys who hang around here are dirtbags, except the sideshow guys, they’re cool. So she doesn’t know how to act around you, hence her being nervous. Don’t worry about it, you didn’t do anything wrong,” Druid reassured the over-worried Tom.

Then Druid smiled her signature sly-smile as the wheels and gears in her head turned and churned. She started nodding silently to herself all the while staring at Tom.

“What?” Tom’s face went ashen in anticipation of unfortunate news.

“What are you doing tonight? Do you have plans yet?”

“I thought about going into the city to check out some bars…” Tom trailed off.

“She works tonight across the street, that’s a bar you could check out, then we’re going to a house party after. Want to tag along?” Druid asked mischievously.

“Is that okay? I don’t want to be the dopey tourist crashing the party,” Tom replied wide-eyed.

“You’ll be with me, don’t worry.” Druid set the whiskey bottle down under the bar then looked back at Tom. “You might want to change though. Put on some jeans and a t-shirt maybe. Yeah, that will work.” She nodded in satisfaction.

Tom smiled. “Cool, what time should I meet you?”

“Leaving so soon? Stay and have another beer. I’ll be off soon, we’ll walk over together,” Druid answered.

Before Tom could reply, a fresh Corona appeared before him. He nodded to himself and got comfortable. After his beer/lime ritual completed, he sipped his beer and thought about the black-haired girl he had just met, her blue-skinned bartender friend and the unknown possibilities the coming night would bring…

Chapter Three is up!!

Posted in Misc with tags , , , , , on November 21, 2012 by Single Malt Serials

Hey all,

Sorry it’s been a few days since I’ve posted, my wife and I moved. And what an ordeal let me tell you! Two people moving an entire apartment in one day? Yeah, we did that on Thursday. But we got it done and today was the first day I was available to do some computer work. Hopefully you enjoy the latest chapter in The Last Normal. Leave me some comments, I relish all feedback. (Seriously, I do!) So say what’s on your mind, your impressions, your thoughts, your concerns.

Turkey Day is coming soon and I hope you’re all thankful for something, I know I am. Remember to take a moment and be thankful, it’s good for the soul.

 

Chapter Three: Haunted Shadow

Posted in The Last Normal with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2012 by Single Malt Serials

“What do you mean: ‘no one’s left’?” Ana-Maria spat.

“I’m the last one, the last Normal,” Adam whispered.

“You’re lying.”

“When was the last time you saw a Normal?” Adam queried. “I haven’t seen one in over a year.”

“Maybe you haven’t seen one because you’re too busy hiding. Maybe you should get out more,” Ana-Maria mocked. She lay back against her plump pillow, sighed and examined the ceiling again.

“Are you still thirsty?”

Ana-Maria snapped her head toward Adam and shot malice from her irises. “I’m fine.”

Adam didn’t move but kept his watchful physician’s eye on his patient. Her breathing was steady and her hands no longer twitched. Her eyes darted across the ceiling, following ghosts and shadows. He could tell she was wandering in thought, down what roads and to what hidden cities, he could only guess.

“Aren’t you curious why you aren’t thirsty anymore?” Adam ventured.

“That tube stuck in my arm? The red bag?” she answered without looking at him.

“Do you know what it is?”

“It’s blood, right?” Ana-Maria propped herself up on her good arm and sneered at Adam. “You must think I’m pretty stupid, don’t you?”

“I don’t think you’re stupid,” Adam countered quickly.

“What then? An animal? A helpless little girl?”

“Neither; I’m just trying to figure out how your body is taking the transfusion.”

“You want to know if I’ll bite you again,” Ana-Maria corrected. Adam started to speak but the words caught in his throat like gnats on fly paper. He just sat there with his mouth open, numb and dumb.

“T-t-that’s not it,” he stammered, finally.

“Don’t lie to me. I can see it in your eyes. You’re terrified of me. Admit it!” Ana-Maria barked.

Adam balked. Ana-Maria kept going.

“I have more reason to be afraid of you than you do of me. I’ve spent my whole life hiding from people like you; from doctors and the military and the government and normal people. And now you tell me they’re all gone? I don’t believe you. You’re all liars and murderers and you all hate us.”

“I don’t hate you,” Adam offered softly.

Ana-Maria scoffed at him with a wicked chuckle and continued ranting.

“Maybe not but I’ll tell you one thing for sure. Humans didn’t kill my sister but they might as well have. Drinkers didn’t make the Disease, humans did. Humans cooked up this shit and set it loose on innocent people and then hated them for it. Scientists and doctors and politicians! As far as I care, you’re all the same and can all go to fucking hell!” Ana-Maria’s chest heaved as her lungs begged for more air. Her forehead dripped acrid sweat. She fell back on her pillow and tried to burn a hole in the ceiling with her eyes.

“You need to rest,” Adam practically begged. “You’re still very weak.”

“What do you care? I’m just a science project to you,” she sneered.

“It’s not like that, I want to help you, I swear. Aren’t you tired of always being sick? Having to drink blood to live?”

“Do you honestly think you can cure me? You’re a fool! There is no cure! They would have found it years ago and if they did, they hid it away and forgot all about it. Either way, you’re wasting your time, especially with me. I didn’t ask for your help,” Ana-Maria was overstraining herself. She was still lying on her back but her hands were trembling and her breaths were coming shorter and quicker. Her pillow was now soaked with sweat. Adam noticed this and tried to calm his patient.

“You’re getting too worked up, you need to relax,” Adam pleaded.

“Go to hell!” Ana-Maria screamed. “Let me out of here! I want out, I want to leave!” She sat straight up but suddenly her rage turned to nausea and the room folded up on itself. Her vision tunneled and twisted, her brain screamed, her lungs sealed and her stomach purged. She woke face-down in vomit. She couldn’t move.

“Get off me!” she cried weakly, thinking Adam must be holding her down. Then, she was weightless and hovering. She saw the puddle of red bile she had just been prostrate in slide out of her vision and her bed come back into view. Strong arms lowered her onto softness and gently rolled her onto her back. She found herself looking up into melancholy, broken eyes. The fear was gone; instead, defeated concern stared back at her.

Adam pulled the blankets back up to Ana-Maria’s waist and stood tall over her, gazing down. She glared back up at him, too weak to even raise her arm to push him away.

“I’m sorry this happened to you, all of it. Please believe that all I want to do is help you. I don’t hate you or your kind. Yes, I’m afraid of you, just like you’re afraid of me. I don’t want to be but I am. I’m sorry. Now please rest, you’re very weak.” With his words still hanging in the air, Adam turned and walked off toward his desk.

“Where are you going?” Ana-Maria croaked after him.

“I have work to do,” he called back over his shoulder.

“Wait, please…”

Adam halted.

“I’m sorry. Please don’t go,” Ana-Maria pleaded. Her voice was small and strained, she was afraid he hadn’t heard her. She was just about to repeat her plea when Adam turned and walked slowly back to his chair. He sat heavily, as if he were Atlas, allowed a ten minute break from holding up the world. Adam looked across a chasm of projected fear, his eyes brimming with the pain of wisdom.

“Do you even know why you have to drink blood to live?” He queried. Ana-Maria just tightened her jaw in silence. Adam continued.

“The Disease consumes your body’s own blood supply. It eats your body. That’s why your skin is sallow and transparent, why your bones are brittle and why your body can’t handle extremes in heat or cold. You’re a sick person who needs help whether you want to admit it or not.” Ana-Maria squinted at Adam skeptically.

“Haven’t you ever wondered why there are no old Drinkers?” he asked quietly. “It’s the Disease; it kills you. I saved you from those creatures but if I hadn’t, it wouldn’t have mattered. You’d still die young. I can say this with all certainty: even if you aren’t killed on the streets, you’ll be dead in five years.”

Ana-Maria glared down a broken doctor pleading with his patient to let him save her.

“Is that true?” she fumed.

“It is.”

But she already knew it was true. She’d felt the inevitability of that truth deep inside herself every day of her life. She hadn’t looked at her own reflection in years. Her face always frightened her; her sunken, blood-shot eyes staring back at her sagging cheeks, thin purple lips and yellow teeth. She never smiled; she looked demented when she smiled.

She always knew Death haunted her shadow, biding time, waiting for her body to shut down or for her to walk down the wrong alley. She could either keep running and hope to outlive Death or she could submit to the uncertainty of hope. The finality of it caught in her throat and she swallowed hard. Ana-Maria inwardly cursed her own weakness. She was out of options. All that was left for her to do now was give up. So she surrendered to hope.

“I want to live,” she admitted meekly. Tears welled up in her eyes but she blinked them back. Tears were for the weak and the weak died violent deaths. “I don’t want to die like this.”

Adam shuffled over and knelt beside the bed.

“I can’t promise it will work, but I promise I’ll do everything I can.” Adam stood and looked down on the invalid woman.  “But you need to rest first, get more strength before we can do anything.”

Ana-Maria nodded and set her jaw in resolution.

“I need to run some tests, you should try to sleep if you can,” Adam suggested and turned back toward his desk. Ana-Maria settled back into her bed and closed her eyes. Before she could get comfortable, Adam interrupted her.

“I just realized that you know my name but I don’t know yours,” he stated. Ana-Maria opened her eyes and looked at Adam.

“It’s Ana-Maria but my sister always called me A.M.” she informed.

“Ana-Maria.” Adam savored the sound like wine, letting it roll over his tongue and linger on his auditory palate. “What was your sister’s name?” Adam asked.

“Marchesca.”

“You both have beautiful names,” Adam replied.

“I hate mine,” Ana-Maria admitted.

“Why?” Adam asked confused.

“It’s boring. Marchesca is so much prettier.”

Adam shook his head from across the room.

“I don’t think you’re name is boring at all,” Adam confessed. “I think it’s very beautiful.”

Ana-Maria dismissed his compliment with a grunt and rolled over into fitful sleep.

Chapter Two: Cryptic Incision

Posted in The Last Normal with tags , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2012 by Single Malt Serials

Ana-Maria woke up screaming. Caustic, boiling sweat bled from every pore. Her chest heaved and begged for air. She tried to sit but failed; pain and fatigue bound her to her back. Feral eyes surveyed a high, dark ceiling where menacing shadows danced across the blackness of cavernous space.

Somewhere to her left, a concerned voice called out: “It’s alright, you’re safe!”

It was a man’s voice, a big voice. Ana-Maria turned her blurry eyes toward the sound. A massive shadow stood from a chair and began to approach.

“No!” Ana-Maria croaked. “Leave me alone.”

The shadow halted and raised its hands in peace.

“I’m not going to hurt you. My name is Adam. You’re in my home,” the shadow replied. “Do you remember? You were attacked…”

Another coughing fit constricted Ana-Maria into a fetal ball. Adam hurried over to a large white box next to a table. He pulled on its handle and as it opened, Ana-Maria saw a yellow glow bleed out from inside. He removed a clay jug and poured a clear liquid into a glass. Then the white box swallowed the jug and the door snapped shut with a hiss and click. The man carried the glass toward the bed slowly.

“It’s water. For your throat,” he explained as he extended the glass cautiously.

Ana-Maria took the glass suspiciously and sipped. The cold liquid knifed her throat. She choked and dropped the glass. Adam tried to catch it, but it slipped through his fingers and shattered on the floor. When Ana-Maria finally reclaimed her breath, she spit weakly toward Adam.

“What are you trying to do to me?” she croaked.

“It was just water,” Adam contested. He bent next to the bed and began picking up the broken shards but was clumsy. One of the jagged little pieces sliced into the flesh of his finger. Ruby beadlets lifted out of the cryptic incision and dropped delicately onto the concrete floor.

Ana-Maria didn’t even have to see the blood; the scent of iron slapped her in the face. She inhaled sharply then lunged for Adam’s neck. Her inhalation was Adam’s only warning; he barely evaded her attack. He fell onto his back and kicked himself away from the bed.

When Adam looked up, Ana-Maria hung haphazardly off the edge of the mattress and had weakly braced herself against the floor with her good arm. She was trying to lick at the tiny puddle of blood but was too weak to reach it.

“Don’t do that!” Adam warned. “There’s broken glass, you could swallow it.” He stood awkwardly and took a step toward Ana-Maria. She twisted her head up toward him.

“Touch me and I’ll kill you!” she growled.

“Are you going to let me help you?” he asked her.

Ana-Maria hissed in answer.

Adam hesitated for a moment, calculating the risk. After a moment, he sighed and walked back to the bed. He scooped the weak woman up and laid her gently against the pillow. He pulled the quilt back over her and stepped back. She made no move to assault him.

“Not going to restrain me?” she inquired through clenched teeth.

“Do you think I should?” Adam asked.

“I just tried to bite you, aren’t you afraid of me?”

“Probably more than you are of me,” Adam answered.

Ana-Maria turned her head away and growled. It was then that she realized that her right arm was bandaged tightly and secured in a sling. A transparent plastic tube ran from her left arm into a bloated scarlet bag suspended from a metal pole. Adam straightened the tangled tubing.

“You’re safe here,” Adam reassured. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

To prove his goodwill, the man lifted his hands and backed away slowly, keeping a watchful gaze on the injured woman. He sat down in his chair and waited. Ana-Maria glowered up at Adam; rage dancing underneath soft blue oceans. Not a blink passed between the two for many moments.

It was Ana-Maria who broke the stalemate. Her nimble eyes swept the room like a manic cyclone. The man’s chair was dark velvet, possible scarlet or plum, and high-backed with wide armrests. Behind the chair, a fireplace wreathed the man in a shifty, golden halo. Above the brick mantle hung a massive picture of a blurry landscape.

To the right of the fireplace was a wooden desk cluttered with papers and unfamiliar objects. Beside the desk were three shelves filled with a kaleidoscope of different colored boxes lined across them. Above the shelves and the desk, pictures of chubby naked women and ballerinas and forests and city skylines crowded each other and covered nearly every square inch of the wall. The opposite facing wall was much the same. Pictures of odd shapes with eyes and others of colors splashed haphazardly spread from corner to corner and floor to ceiling.

Behind Ana-Maria’s head the white box towered above a lonely table. The table was empty except for a single, unlit candle drooping like a sleeping watchman in the center.

The room was long and narrow and void of windows. The only light flickered from half-melted candles and the popping fireplace below the stone mantle. A heavy steel door to the left of the desk marked the only means of ingress or egress. It was short and near perfectly square. Three forbidding steel bars stretched across it.

The bed Ana-Maria lay in was pushed right up against the fourth wall. Ana-Maria turned her head to her right. Above the bed, in the center of the wall, hung a solitary picture with a beautiful hand-carved wooden frame. The warm brown of the frame contrasted starkly with the dull gray of the concrete wall behind it. This particular picture wasn’t blurry or distorted or formless like the pictures that adorned the other walls. It was a sharp, gray-scale picture of a beautiful, young woman with dark hair and mysterious eyes. She seemed to be looking right down on Ana-Maria, examining her knowingly. The mysterious woman in the picture frightened Ana-Maria. She turned away quickly but the image of those piercing eyes was branded against the back of Ana-Maria’s own vision.

“How are you feeling?” the man asked from his chair.

Ana-Maria’s spun her face toward the man and glared at him in silence. Terror and rage burned simultaneously in her blood-shot eyes. She could smell the man’s pulse from across the room. Hunger burned in her throat.

“Can you understand me? Do you know what I’m saying?” the man queried.

“I’m not stupid,” Ana-Maria replied.

“Of course not, I’m sorry. This must be very frightening for you.”

“You’re a Normal. Why didn’t you kill me?” Ana-Maria asked.

“I don’t like killing,” Adam replied soberly.

“You killed those other Drinkers,” she retorted.

“I was trying to help you and your…”

Ana-Maria’s eyes swelled in debilitating rage. Memory stabbed her in the chest and twisted the blade. Her anger found a resting place on the ceiling. She tried to bore through the roof with her hate, but the ceiling held fast. Her entire body trembled with inexpressible anguish.

“I’m sorry,” Adam mumbled awkwardly. “I tried, but I was too late…”

Silence filled the space like acrid smoke. Salt water welled in Ana-Maria’s eyes but froze and retreated. Marchesca wouldn’t have cried for her. As the malice in her eyes subsided, Ana-Maria turned back to Adam.

“Where are we?” Ana-Maria inquired.

“In my home, it’s an old fallout shelter,” Adam answered.

Ana-Maria examined him malignantly, searching for signs of potential treachery. She had learned on the street that appearances were often intentionally deceptive. Unconvinced but satisfied for the moment, she continued her interrogation.

“Why did you bring me here? Am I to be your slave? Your little sex toy?”

Adam’s face contorted under the pain her accusation.

“I’m a doctor,” he informed her.

“Gonna try and fix me then?”

Adam hung his head and was silent.

“You fucking snake! You come near me and you’re dead!” she screamed from her parched throat.

“No, no! It’s not like that!” Adam pleaded. “I’m not going to hurt you, I swear! I just want to help you.”

“Why?” Ana-Maria demanded. “Why do you even give a shit?”

The gravity of annihilation burned in Adam’s chest as he replied. “Because there’s no one left…”

Posted in Reviews on November 13, 2012 by Single Malt Serials

Saw this on another blog, thought it was excellent.

Bittersweet Romance

Scary Comic

This is for all you horror lovers out there!
It may look like an ordinary comic, but I assure you, it’s not 😉 Scared the hell out of me first time I saw it.
Make sure you have your sound on, and just scroll down the comic, picture by picture.
Have fun!

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Walking Dead…OMG!

Posted in Misc, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2012 by Single Malt Serials

That’s pretty much all I can say about this show: OMG! That being said, I have more to say about this show 🙂

So last night’s episode was AMAZING!! Don’t worry, I won’t give any spoilers. Directed by the special effects wizard Greg Nicotero, it was in my top three episodes of that show. My absolute favorite episode is Season 1 Episode 1 (pure terror), and two and three are a tie between this week and last week.

I love zombie movies. I love shitty zombie movies. But this show unsettles me in such a beautiful way. The thing that impresses me most about Walking Dead is that they always find a way to escalate the horror. Whether the horror is psychological, revulsion to the gore, or the shattered mirror into the soul, this show delivers. I read a quote recently that says, basically: art should disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. Walking Dead hits both of those.

Last night’s episode is replete with paradoxes. Rick and the gang taking refuge and finding solace in a prison? Brilliant. Asking the question: who deserves to live and who should be killed for the greater good of the group? Age old questions presented in a fresh and in-your-face way.

The episode begins with some characteristic gruesome violence. About halfway through the episode I began asking myself the question I ask myself at the middle of each episode: How are they going to climax this? Without giving anything away, I was not disappointed. The end of the episode left me with chills. I’ve never had more fun being terrified.

Updates….coming soon!

Posted in Misc with tags , , , , , on November 10, 2012 by Single Malt Serials

Working on Chapter Two of The Last Normal. I have most of the it written but as any writer knows, now the hard part begins: editting. I should have it done by the beginning of next week so watch for it, it’s called: Cryptic Incision.

Also, I just published a post about Steampunk and Dieselpunk so check that out. I’m really hoping for some feedback on that one.

Have a safe and exciting weekend!

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