Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Darkness Within Vol. 9

Hi all!!!

Happy St. Patrick's Day all!!!!!  Here's the new edition. Hope you enjoy it! Please comment below to let me know your thoughts.



Vice President & Cover Artist



Sloss Furnace by Thom Futrell
Lore’s Corner: Leprechauns by LM David
The She-wolf of Lake Wildwood: Part 8 by Ronald Edward Griffin
Dead Love Part 5 by Samuel Southwell
The Worm Farm by Helen Bishop
Detective Goodson: Fight for a Friend Part 2 by Brien O’Raighne

2016 All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction of this ezine in part or in whole.


            From 1882 to 1971, Birmingham's Sloss Furnaces transformed coal and ore from surrounding acres into the hard steel that would pave the way for the industrial revolution.
            From skyscrapers in New York's glittering skyline to automobiles being built in Detroit, America came to rely on Birmingham and Sloss Furnaces for providing materials needed to produce thousands of products.  Birmingham grew to a metropolis almost overnight, earning it the nickname of "The Magic City".
            But as with all progress, a price was paid. In the currency of blood.
            In the early 1900's, James "Slag" Wormwood, was foreman of the "Graveyard Shift", the period between sunset and sunrise, where a skeleton crew of nearly 150 workers toiled to keep the furnace fed.
            During the stifling summer months, temperatures throughout the plant would reach more than 120 degrees.  Lack of sleep, the heat, and low visibility made working the furnace literally a "living hell" and only the poorest of workers, desperate for employment, would work it.
            These workers, mostly recently arrived immigrants, were forced to live in cramped housing located on the furnace site, and could be forced at any moment to return to work.       To impress his supervisors, Wormwood would make his workers take dangerous risks, forcing them to speed up production. During his reign, 47 workers lost their lives, ten times more than any other shift in the history of the furnace.  Countless others lost their ability to work due to accidents, mishaps, and even a recorded explosion in the small blowing engine house in 1888 that left 6 workers blind from the burns.
            There were no breaks, there were no holidays, there was only the furnace. And its constant hunger for more and more coal. 
            In October of 1906, James "Slag" Wormwood, lost his footing at the top of the highest blast furnace (known as Big Alice), and plummeted into a pool of melted iron ore.  His body melted instantly.  
            It was reported that "Slag" must have become dizzy from the methane gas created by the furnace and lost his balance--but Slag had never set foot on top of a furnace during his years of employment.
            Many thought that the workers had finally had enough of Wormwood's slave driving, and fed him into the furnace--but no workers were ever brought to trial.
            Sloss Industries soon discontinued the graveyard shift, citing numerous reports of accidents and "strange incidents" that decreased steel production.

Haunted History
            The legend of "Slag" grew each year after his disappearance. Workers complained of an "unnatural presence" they increasingly encountered throughout the work site.
            A night watchman in 1926 sustained injuries after being "pushed from behind" and told angrily by a deep voice "to get back to work."  The man, upon searching the grounds, could find no sign of any other living person.
            In 1947, three supervisors turned up missing. Found unconscious and locked in the small boiler room in the southeastern part of the plant, none of the three could explain exactly what happened to them. All agreed they were approached by a man whose skin appeared badly burned and who angrily shouted at them "to push some steel."
            Probably the most horrifying tale occurred in 1971, when the night before the plant closed, Samuel Blumenthal, the Sloss Night Watchman, who was nostalgically taking a last look about, found himself face to face with "the most frightening thing he had ever seen."  He described it simply as "evil", a "half man/half demon" who tried to push him up the stairs. When Blumenthal refused, the monster began to beat on him with his fists.
            Upon examination by Dr. Jack Barlo, Blumenthal was found covered with intense burns.  He died before ever returning to Sloss.
            There have been more than 100 reports of suspected paranormal activity at Sloss Furnaces recorded in Birmingham Police records. From minor incidents such as steam whistles apparently blowing by themselves, to major sightings and the rare physical assault.  It is interesting to note that the majority of these reports happen in the months of September and October at night, during the old "graveyard shift."
            Some merely dismiss the occurrences as Halloween hoaxes; others believe it is the restless of spirit of the sadistic foreman, Slag.
            In 1988, a study was conducted by the Center for Paranormal Events (CPE) in St. Petersburg, Florida on Sloss Furnaces.   While no events out of the ordinary occurred during the study (which occurred in May), many of the team members, including two psychics, claimed that due to the "violent disregard for and loss of life" Sloss Furnaces should be a considered "a location rife with restless souls."
            In the year 2000, Sloss was studied once again by the Paranormal Team of Fox's Scariest Places who concluded that it was one of the highest rates of unnatural energy they had encountered.
            In early 2002, a skeptical investigative team from CBS Affiliate WJTV investigated the site--they left frazzled and convinced that Sloss was haunted capturing amazing footage that can been seen on their site.
            In addition, another investigation was held in 2003 by the Alabama Foundation for Paranormal Research who quoted that "There is no doubt that Sloss is a hotspot for paranormal activity. During our investigations we pulled data that confirms through our scientific methods and approach that energies are present that cannot be explained. Sloss is one of the most paranormally active places our team has investigated."
            On October 4 of 2003, another assault happened to one of the crew members who had worked at Sloss for many years, suddenly caught fire after seeing a "strange shape." He suffered burns up and down his body and was taken to the hospital--he still cannot recall what happened.
            Strangely enough, this was almost on the exact 32nd anniversary of the Samuel Blumenthal burn attack (night watchman from 1971).
            In 2005, two psychic investigators from the TV show AIRLINE! investigated Sloss Furnaces, in the middle of the taping, one of them began to spontaneously bleed from a cut that appeared on his right hand, halting the investigation. But not before the camera crew caught images of spirits on their cameras.
            The workers were badly mistreated; the mules were given more respect. One supervisor was quoted as saying "Don't lose the mules, they cost twenty-five dollars. The men we can replace."
            You walk through the place, and it just feels wrong. It feels like something is just off. Of course, a lot of it was my imagination, but someone, or something is watching from the shadows. Slag wants you to get back to work. And he will walk out of the fires of hell to make sure you do it.

Author Bio:

Thom Futrell is a horror writer living in Jackson Michigan. He has been in more than sixty publications and has four films under his belt. He writes under the name T.G. Reaper.


            Leprechauns, what are they? Well let’s see what the world of literature says.
A leprechaun is a type of fairy in Irish folklore and usually depicted as a bearded little man, wearing a coat and hat, who partakes in mischief. They are solitary creatures who spend their time making and mending shoes and have a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If captured by a human, the leprechaun has the magical power to grant three wishes in exchange for their freedom. Like other Irish fairies, leprechauns maybe derived from the Tuatha Dé Danann. 

            Leprechaun-like creatures rarely appear in Irish mythology and only became prominent in later folklore. Modern depictions of leprechauns are based largely on derogatory 19th century caricatures and stereotypes of the Irish.

            The name leprechaun is derived from the Irish word leipreachán, defined as "a pigmy, a sprite, or leprechaun". The further derivation is less certain; according to most sources, the word is thought to be a corruption of Middle Irish luchrupán, from the Old Irish luchorpán, a compound of the roots lú (small) and corp (body). 

            The leprechaun is said to be a solitary creature, whose principal occupation is making and mending shoes, and who enjoys practical jokes. David Russell McAnally referred to the leprechaun as the son of an "evil spirit" and a "degenerate fairy" and is "not wholly good nor wholly evil".

            What does a leprechaun look like? Originally it differed depending on where in Ireland he was found. Prior to the 20th century, it was held leprechauns wore red, not green. Yeats referred to them as solitary fairies, like the leprechaun, wear red jackets, whereas the "trooping fairies" wear green. The leprechaun's jacket has seven rows of buttons with seven buttons to each row.
            The modern image of the leprechaun sitting on a toadstool, red beard, green hat, etc., are clearly more modern inventions or borrowed from other European folklore. The leprechaun is related to the clurichaun and the far darrig in that he is a solitary creature. The clurichaun are considered by some to be merely a leprechaun on a drinking spree.

            So think of the little guy when partying on St. Patrick’s Day because you might have an opportunity to meet one of the miniature men. And while you are at it, share a pint with him because he’s probably thirsty from lugging all that gold around.

Author Bio:

LM David has been writing stories since Jr. High School after taking a Creative Writing class. Initially drawn to the genre of Science Fiction, a fascination with Paranormal/Urban Fantasy/Romance drew her back into the dark erotic world of vampires. The more she read about the subject of the ‘undead’, the deeper dark erotic world of folklore and legends of the vampire became. You can reach her at:
Twitter: @LMDavid54

The She-wolf of Lake Wildwood
Part 8

Kurt wakes from a loud knocking on the front door. He leans up from the couch noticing that Dr. Phil is on the T.V. with a pair of twins that have been living as prostitutes to support their drug addiction. He shakes his head back and forth while rubbing the back of his neck which is now stiff. The knocking continues and he finally stands up.
            “Hold on I’m coming.” He says while walking to the front door.
            When he opens the door he is surprised to see Tabetha standing there wearing her skin tight jogging outfit again. He gulps hard not knowing exactly what time it was or how much longer it will be before Diane gets home.
            “Hey I am sorry to bother you I just really need someone to talk to.” She says.
            “Yeah I’m not sure that this is a good time. My wife could be home any minute.”
            “Please I promise I won’t be long I am just really worried.”
            He looks out the door and doesn’t see Diane coming from either direction so he reluctantly steps outside closing the door behind himself. He sits down on the steps and pats the spot next to him.
            “So what’s going on?” he asks.
            He keeps his eyes down knowing that he’d seen the detective there earlier but didn’t want to bring it to her attention. She sits down beside him wrapping her arms around her knees as she draws them to her chest.
            “I don’t know what’s happening around here. Ever since I moved here it seems like people are dying all around me. First Bobby and then that girl that night of my interview and I have been having bad dreams.” Tears begin to well in her eyes. “The police think that I did it. They won’t straight out tell me that’s what they think but I can tell. Why else would they send a detective to ask me questions?”
            “I don’t know, maybe they are just searching for every possible lead.”
            “All I know is that I can’t stand this. Another thing I don’t understand is the dreams indicate that maybe I have had something to do with their deaths.” She says.
            “You couldn’t be capable of doing that can you? Besides don’t they think it’s some kind of animal that killed them? Things like this happening could cause anyone to have nightmares.” Kurt says trying to encourage her.
            “I have had these dreams before I even knew they died.”
            Kurt grew silent after hearing that.
            “See now even you think I did it.” She says.
            “I didn’t say that.” Kurt says.
            “Your silence speaks for you.” She says while standing. “I’m sorry I shouldn’t have bothered you with this I should go back home.”
She stands up and walks towards next door and at that moment Diane pulls into the drive way. Kurt swallows hard and covers his head with his hands. Diane stops the van in front of Tabetha. She slams the door hard as she gets out.
“I come home from work to see this! What’s this little hussy doing here?”
Tabetha turns around facing Diane.
“Who are you calling a hussy?” she asks.
“You are for coming over here and bothering my husband. Don’t you know that he is a happily married man? Why do you insist on causing problems with my marriage?” Diane says.
“I don’t want your husband nor am I trying to cause you any problems. I just needed someone to talk to. Neither of my room mates are home yet.”
“Well you run on home and wait for them before I drag you home.”
            Tabetha rolls her eyes in disbelief.
            “Okay sure whatever.” She says while turning around and continues to walk home.
            Diane turns to face Kurt with her hands on her hips glaring at him.
            “Now honey before you get too upset. Nothing was going on.”
            “Why should I believe you?” Diane interrupts.
            “Diane if anything was going on why would I make sure that we were outside? If I wanted anything to happen it would be inside and I would sneak her out the back or something like that.” Kurt explains.
            “Oh so you have thought about it?”
            “No not at all I am just telling you that.” He lets out a deep sigh.” I was just trying to show you that I didn’t want to be alone with her or trust her myself to be alone with her inside so that is why I came outside. I would never want you to come home and catch me with a strange woman in our house.”
            “You know I would kill you.”
            “Exactly my point so why would I be outside with her?”
            “To keep me from seeing you in our home with her.”
            “Exactly, now can we go inside and stop making a scene?” Kurt asks.
            “Well that depends on two things?”
            “What’s that?” Kurt asks.
            “If you can forgive my jealousy again?” Diane asks.
            “Of course I can. What’s the other thing?”
            “How much time we have left until the kids get home from school.” She says with a sly grin.
            The two of them rush into the house shutting the door behind them.

Later that evening.
            Tabetha is out at a bar hanging out with her roommates trying to get her mind off of things. Once they start becoming obnoxiously drunk though she calls a cab to come pick her up. They follow her out to the parking lot where she stands waiting for the cab.
            “Hey you don’t have to go home yet hang out with us a little longer.” One of her roommates says.
            “Nah, you guys go ahead and have fun without me. I am going to go home and call it a night.”
            “Are you sure?”
            “Yeah I will be fine.” She says.
            “Don’t wait up for us.” The other roommate says.
            “I won’t”
            The two roommates go back inside the bar leaving her outside. She stands waiting for the cab and starts rubbing her arms feeling a cold uncomfortable feeling.

A few hours later
            Tabethas’ roommates are the last people leaving the bar. The quiet night makes them uncomfortable as they walk to the car. A growling noise makes them feel uneasy as they look around the vacant parking lot for a dog.
            “What the hell is that?”
            “I don’t know but I don’t want to find out.”
            The werewolf drops down on top of them and within moments the air is filled with the sounds of their screams. Which are soon silenced by wet gurgling sounds as they choke on their own blood.

To be continued…
Author Bio:

Ronald Edward Griffin is a native of Macon, GA where he was born and raised. He is an accomplished Author in his own right and is always working hard on something. He has two children whom he hopes to pass his writing bug on to them.


“An 8.7 earthquake just hit the west coast...”
Jane poked her head out toward the living room. The picture on the TV was showing many areas of California in ruins. She grabbed her phone and dialed quickly. “Please be alright. Please God let him be alright!”
“You have reached the voice mail box of... Mike Roth... Please leave a message. Beeeeep!”
“Mike my love please tell me you are alright. My god I wish you were here with me. Why didn’t you listen to my warning?” She dropped the phone and fell to her knees. “Please oh my lord bring him back to me.”

“Mike wake up!”
Mike opened his eyes as the vision of Jane disappear and the strange reality he is in reappeared. He was staring into the eyes of Heather. Sam was holding his arm.
“You were talking in your sleep.”
Mike sat up and saw John holding Martha’s hand as he wiped her forehead with his handkerchief. Next to him was Steve with Emily and Sam.
“What was I saying?”
“I’m not sure something about an earthquake.”
Mike looked around they were inside a restaurant. On the wall was a large clown holding a hamburger and fries. He stares at it for a second and then glances out the window. It was quiet out there maybe a little too quiet. They had walked a few miles before stopping here to rest. They had seen nothing but destruction and an empty street devoid of life. Not even a stray cat or dog. It was just damn strange. The wind whipped a paper passed the window and he watched it for a minute or two before turning back to Heather.
“So what do you think? Should we continue on through this wonderland?”
“Do we really have a choice? After all, there has to be someone else out there, right?”
“I don’t know. There usually is in the movies.” Heather smiled at him.
Mike looked at the clown again. Staring into he’s evil grin wondering how it made kids happy. Then he turned to Sam who was also staring at the clown. Sam was smiling. That’s when Mike notice the picture had changed. The clown had moved and was no longer smiling. Suddenly a hamburger flew by his head. He looked back and the clown was standing in front of him.
“Sam get back behind me.” Mike grabbed Sam and pushed him toward Heather. Heather took him and held him close.
The clown studied them all one by one. As they all watched not knowing what to do. Then the clown laughed a hardy laugh. Sam laughed with the clown.
“Yes the boy gets it.” The clown began to walk toward Sam.
“Hold it right there!” Mike stepped between the clown and Sam.
The clown sized him up. “Oh and what if I don’t Michael? What are you going to do?”
“What are you?”
“Yes there is the question is it not?” The clown did a little dance.
Mike and the others watched him as he danced around the room smiling and laughing merrily. Sam and Emily smiled and laughed with him.
“What am I you asked? Well kids tell them what am I?”
“A clown!” Sam and Emily shouted together.
“Very good children! Yes, I am a clown. But am I a sad clown?” He made a sad face. “Or a happy clown?” He smiled big and twirled in a circle. “What do you think Michael?”
“I think I fell and hit my head and this is all a dream.”
The clown laughed another hearty laugh. “Oh Michael you are a card.”
“What are you then?” Jean stepped forward.
“Oh Jeanie you already know what I am.”
“What’s that?” Steve pulled Emily closer to him.
The clown laughed again. “Come now Steven my boy. I am the mascot of this beloved burger franchise.”
“Yeah and I’m the CEO of Sony.”
“Johnny is that you. Me oh my it is like a family reunion. And Martha? Oh my is she hurt bad.”
“She’ll live. But you didn’t answer our question. What are you and how did you get here?”
“Ah! And now we come to the meat of the matter.” The clown pranced over to the wall. “I came from there and ended up here!”
“Yes clown but where is here?” Mike started at the clown with anger in his eyes.
“Yes Michael. Where is here? Well if English teaches us anything. Here is where we are presently as opposed to there where we were recently.” The clown smiled at him sticking out his tongue.
“Listen clown I don’t know who you are or why you are here...”
“Oh but you do. You all do. That is why we are having this discussion.”
“Fine you win. So why are you here then as in why now?”
“Good Jeanie. Leave it to the young strong woman to ask the right questions.” The clown walked up to her and whispered in here ear. “I’m here to warn you.”
Jean jumped back away. “Warn us about what?”
“Oh wouldn’t you like to know?” The clown jumped at the wall and again he was just a painting.
Steve covered Emily’s ears. “OK! What the fuck was that?”
“I wish I knew.” Mike turned to Heather. “We’re not on another plane.”
Heather covered Sam’s ears, “I know we’re in the fucking twilight zone.”

Mike, Heather, and Sam rounded the corner of the bank building carefully. Behind them were John and Steve pushing Martha with Emily and Jean taking up the rear. Mike held up his hand and they all stopped.
“What is it Mike?” Martha reached out and grabbed John’s hand.
“Not sure yet. You guys sit here for a minute. Heather and I will check it out.”
Jean came up and took Sam’s hand. “Be careful.”
“We will.” Mike turned to Heather. “Ready?”
“No but let’s do it anyway.”
Mike and Heather stopped at the edge of the pit. It sides went all the way down into the darkness.
“What do you think?”
“I don’t know maybe the opening to Hell.”
Just then flames shot up out of it engulfing the pit. Mike and Heather were knocked off their feet landing on the pavement behind them.
“Please stop saying things like that.”
The flames had receded back down into the darkness. Mike stood up and helped Heather to her feet.
“Sorry I guess it could have been a gas main that exploded.”
Heather looked at him with weary eyes. “Yeah let’s go with that.”

Mike and Heather came up to the rest of the group.
“What was that explosion?” Steve walked up to them with Emily.
“Not sure. We think a gas main might have blown. So we need to move out of here just in case.”
“Roger that.” Steve took Sam over to Heather.
Mike walked over to John. “How’s she doing?”
“I don’t know. She keeps fading in and out.” He wiped his forehead with his handkerchief. “I’m worried she is...”
Mike puts his hand on John’s shoulder. “We’ll get her through this.”
“I hope so.”
Mike checked her pulse it was low but strong. “There is still hope. Martha still has you. Take a breather and let me know when you’re ready to move.”

“Thanks Mike.”
A few minutes later they were on the move again.
Mike lead his motley crew through what remained of L.A. His mind wondered back to his beloved Jane. Thousands of miles away without even knowing if she was alive or dead.
“Hey Mike!” Sam was pulling at his arm.
“Yes, Sam! What is it?”
“I don’t know I was hoping you can tell me.” Sam pointed toward something in the shadows.
Mike stared at the mass that was moving toward them at a rapid rate. It was like a sea of blackness.
“Oh my God!” Emily screamed. “Rats!”
They all stared in horror at the sea in front of them.
“We have to get above them.” Steve shouted.
“Good idea!” Mike scanned the area. “There up the fire escape quickly!”
Steve lifted Emily up over his head and she reached for the ladder as the others circled around them. “Hurry Emily you can do it.”
“Got it!” The ladder shot down with a loud crash.
“Everybody up.”
One by one they climbed Emily, Sam, Heather, Jean, Steve...
“Your next John.”
“No I can’t leave Martha to those...rats.” He held on to Martha.
The rats were closing.
“John we don’t have time to argue.”
“Then go I’m not leaving her.”
Mike and John stared at each other briefly. Then Mike grabbed the ladder and pulled himself up disappearing up the wall. Followed by the screams from Martha and John.

Mike sat with his hands in his face tears in his eyes.
“Come on Mike it wasn’t your fault.” Heather put her arm around him while the others stood staring down below.
“No but I should have done something. They were a part of us.”
“Yes they were and still are and always will be. John knew what he was doing. Martha was everything to him.” She put her hand on the side of his face. “You brought us this far.”
Mike looked down at Sam who was holding on to his leg. Sam looked up at him and smiled. “How you doing little man?” Mike put a hand on his head and Sam hugged his leg.
“Mike come look at this!”
Mike patted Sam on the head. Then he walked over to Jean. “What is it?”
Mike looked over the side. Below him stood Martha and John. He watched in wonderment. “John!”
They did not move as if they were in a trance. He stared at them as the others came up to look as well.
“What’s wrong with them?”
“I don’t know Emily.”
“What are we going to do now?”
“Can we help them?”
Mike just stared down at them asking himself the same questions everyone else was asking. Then he saw it and the world went black.
‘Help my mom mister she is ill.’

Author Bio:

Samuel holds a degree in English Literature from the University of South Florida and has been published a dozen or so times. He published his first book “Twisted American Fairy Tales” on Lulu.com and it is still available there today. He currently lives in Florida where he cuts up dead bodies for a grocery chain and spends his free time writing and collecting books.

The Worm Farm by Helen Bishop (Ch. 11 & 12)

When I got back to the farm, I did my chores and fed and watered the worms. Then while I swept up I thought about how to get justice for Denise. When I was good and ready I went down to him.

I went right up to him and with my knife cut off his underwear. He had soiled it, and although I knew he would hurt with it on longer, I wanted him to suffer, not me. I rolled up the soiled clothing in a bunch of newspaper and put some new stuff down. I looked up at him as I did that, and he was playing possum. I could tell from his breathing that he was awake.
"Are you ready to tell me why you hurt your wife?" I was close enough to spit on him.
He shook his head and said nothing. I wanted to have a response, so I reared back and slapped him, as hard as I could. I bet he saw stars like in those old cartoons I saw while in the hospital.

"Okay," I said, "I guess you've made your choice."

I went over to the shelves and picked up a utility knife, sort of like a box-cutter. Jerry's eyes got really wide and he seemed to shrink back to the wall when he saw it coming. I laid it on his inner arm, right below the shoulder and carefully and quickly turned it and brought it across his bicep. His responding howl was muffled by the tape I quickly slapped over his mouth. He was shaking as much as his ties would allow, and was screaming into his gag. Then I reached over to the cut bicep and carefully pried up the sliced edge of skin and quickly pulled it up then down, tearing about a three-inch-wide piece of skin all the way across his now exposed inner arm, then off his arm completely. I picked up the knife again, and he sagged in his ties. I waited for him to come around, because of course; there can be no lesson if he was unconscious. I guess I was a nicer guy than he was, because according to all the reports, whoever had beaten his wife had kept the beating up long after she fainted.

Jerry pretended to be out for a while. I watched him ease his eyes open and look around, then quickly shut them again when he thought I was looking. I took a piece of paper from my pocket and unfolded it, facing me. I read, from memory now, because the paper was blank-"multiple contusions, old fractures, 5 broken ribs, 2 fingers broken on left hand, broken wrist on right...guess you have quite a lesson to learn, don't you, Jerry?" I said as I ripped the tape off his mouth.

"How do you know my name?" he blurted out, all faking apparently over.

"Oh, I know all about you, friend, and those like you. You feel justified to beat your wife, because she made a bad choice."
"Yeah, well, she makes me do it; I don't want to hit her! She's stupid, she makes bad choices like you said, and I get tired of showing her how to do everything every day! I only hit her when I need to make a point. Then she gets it!"

"The bad choice I was talking about, was marrying you. I guess she didn't understand that 'for better or worse' meant no better and only worse," I said.

He glared at me and shook his head as much as he could. "You're wrong; I'm the best thing that ever happened to her. She was lucky to catch me!"

"Have it your way, once more Jerry, but for the last time. Now, let's get started."

"Started? What are we starting?"

"You are going to be the husband you should have been, a good husband. A good husband protects his wife, right? So now, you will protect her by taking her beating. Not that we can take her beating back, but we can make sure you know exactly how she feels." I went over with fresh tape and slapped it over his mouth.
"Let's start with something easy."

I went back into the tunnel for the tools I had arranged there. Taking hold of the small sledge hammer, I came back and hit him a good one in the right wrist. I swear I could hear him scream around the tape. While he was focused on his wrist, I took the hammer to the fist he had made of the other hand.

"Okay, that's the wrist and probably most of the fingers on the left hand. What's left?" I said as I consulted the paper again. "Are you beginning to understand how she really felt, Jerry? Is it getting through?"

Jerry was hanging in the ties and moaning. Blood from the piece of skin I had removed was starting to clot. I had done a job on the wrist because there were shards of broken bones coming through the skin. Good.

I decided to let him try to come to terms with his pain.
"I'll be back later. Maybe you can convince me that it was right to beat her. Maybe we can talk about the baby."

"There's no baby," he mumbled around the tape, "not anymore. I made sure."

I stopped just outside the room. I had figured he would deny his role in her lost baby, just like he had denied his role in her beating. I turned suddenly, and lashed out with the sledge. I swung wildly, but got him right in the crotch. This time he screamed so hard the tape ripped off his mouth, taking skin off his lips and off the bottom of his nose when it did.

I pressed my hand hard over his mouth to shut him up. I stood there and pressed, leaning into him while I did it. I looked him straight in the eye.

"Now we don't have to worry about any more babies, do we?' I said, and dropped the hammer onto the shelves and walked out, taking my chunk of skin with me.

Outside, I took a couple of deep breaths to get his stink out of my nose.

I walked up to the worm bed and laid that skin right on top of the pile. If I had blinked, I would have missed it leaving. A mass of worms seemed to separate and suck it in. Gone.

Thank goodness I had thought to put the dungeon so far down under the barn! I stayed away for overnight to give him time to do whatever he had to, bleed out, get numb, or get a handle on it, whatever. The fact that he was proud of the fact that he had 'taken care of the baby' screwed me up. I myself had apparently been an unwanted child, and while it was true that I had it bad, and very bad, but at least I had it. This guy had murdered that baby before it even got to be a baby, and he was proud? I had to stay away. I couldn't give him a lesson and the time to learn it, if I just killed him outright, and I was mad enough to do just that now.

I knew, of course I knew I was going to kill him. That was the whole deal. But I was hoping to get him to admit he had made a mistake, before he had to go.

I mean, I too, was a killer, at least technically. Is the executioner responsible for killing those he kills? It is a job, like being a soldier, isn't it? Aren't I just a soldier, or just like a guy weeding the bad stuff out of his garden? I want these people to see what they are before they try to explain to the guy upstairs. I'm not killing them for a thrill, not like those guys on the news, I am trying to help the world, or at least my part of it, have a happier future.

It wasn't as if I enjoyed giving them pain and then feeding them to the worms, in effect making the whole circuit of the food chain. These people were only going to cause someone somewhere pain. That was their role in life. I was only here to interrupt the cycle.

His wife would have a happier future, if she lived. And if she didn't at least she'd be with the baby that she'd tried to protect, that had to be worth something. He wouldn't be with her and their child; I don't think there's a bright, welcoming light when your path goes through worms first, but I could be wrong.  For that matter, I don’t think there’s one if you’re exploded out of existence either, especially if you were bad first.

I did my chores, emptied the old worms out and dipped out some new ones. During the dipping, one of the hugest worms attached itself to my gloved thumb and made a pretty good try to get through it. Apparently the mass was starting to know that I meant food. That reminded me; I wanted to go into town for some heavier gloves. Before I did that though, I went down to check on my guest.

He looked a little grayer, hanging there in the ties. Apparently sometime during the time I was gone he had come to, and vomited all over himself. The vomit had run down his body and mixed on the front of him and on the floor with the urine and feces from before and the blood. He looked like something I imagine a first-grader could do with finger-paints and oatmeal. The stench was kind of thick, so I went off to connect the hoses. I rolled out a thick newspaper covering onto the floor below where he hung and ran the papers out to as far as I thought the splash might go. I decided to use the nozzle with the hard spray, so the cleaning off would go fast.

He came to as the water first hit him, and he roared out a word so guttural that it wasn't until later that I actually recognized it. He had called me a prick. He had stood there, attached to the wall with his ruined prick and called me one! I didn't know whether to be amused or upset, so I decided just to be thorough in my cleaning.

I stood pretty close to Jerry and sprayed the cold well water all over him. Some places didn't want to come clean, so I scrubbed at them with the carwash brush, and then sprayed more water. He kept up the screaming for most of his wash, and it was hurting my ears. I stopped the water.

"Do you want some more scrubbing? I can keep this up as long as you can," I told him. "Your screaming is getting old fast. Face it, the water isn't warming up anytime soon, now tell me, more scrubbing, or do you think we are done?"

"Done," he said, weeping. "Please, please, can't you stop?"

"Okay," I said, "You only need to ask."

I put the hose away and rolled up the soaked newspapers and carted them outside and around and into the grinder. They got sort of mashed together, being all wet, but I forked some of the compost into the grinder with it, and eventually everything was ground up and mixed together. I threw buckets of the mixture onto the top of the worm beds and suddenly the beds came alive with worms rolling over and through the whole mass.

When I went back down later that day, Jerry was awake. He stared at me from his place against the wall, and mumbled something from inside his ripped up lips. I got closer to hear him, but was careful not to get within grabbing distance.

"Is she dead?" he mumbled, "Please God, tell me she's dead. I did love her, I think once I loved her, but I'm sorry, so sorry. I didn't realize what I was doing, or I did realize, but didn't care. She always forgave me; she always came back. Tell me, is she dead? Let me go to her, let me apologize. Untie me, and let me go, and she'll give me another chance."

I leaned toward him, hanging there on the wall. He stared at me and waited for my answer, when it didn't come, his eyes got wild-looking and he mumbled again. I had to get closer to hear him.

"You had her, didn't you? That’s why you think you have to do this!  Right! I knew she was a whore, I guess she thinks I will just take her back, the lying whore."

"Wow," I said, "your apology didn't last too long, did it?"

"I've been trying to think why you'd care about her, why it matters to you about the damn baby, all I can figure is that it was your baby that I killed. Good, the lying shit. Screaming out that it was my baby, screaming even though I nearly beat her to death. I knew she was a liar! Well, she's done it now, the ungrateful bitch! We are over, over. My mom was right! She wasn't good enough for me-the lying small-town cunt!"

At that word, Jerry screamed out his rage, his wide eyes seeing his wife's imagined cheating. Understanding deep down that all the stuff he had accused her of had at last been proven.

I went up very close to him, and slugged him in the cheek as hard as I could.

"Ass! The DNA testing said the baby was yours! I never met her before I read about your crime in the newspaper. I see where you get it; your mother is obviously brain-damaged too. Who are you to offer then change your mind about taking her back? Why would anyone want you back? I want you out of here! You stink up the place!"

With that, I went to the storage shelves near the doorway, picked up a tool and returned to Jerry.

Jerry's eyes got really big as he focused on the tool in my fist. He started to say something, but his words were drowned out by the gushing noise his blood made spewing from the side of his neck. I brought the box-cutter across his stomach then, pushing hard to slice him wide open.

As Jerry bled out, I kept pushing more and more of the newspapers under him. He wasn't done dripping when I began to remove parts of his flesh, putting them into a trashcan to take out to the worms.

Over the next few days, I took Jerry out, a few pieces at a time, and gave him to the worms. It was a treat for them to get the meat fresh and not from the grinder. I sliced off as much of the boneless bits as I could, knowing the heaviest stuff would need to be ground up.

A few days after Jerry left, I went into town to get new gloves and stock up on supplies. While there, as usual I looked in on the Sheriff. We talked about this and that, and then I asked about the lady in the hospital.

"Oh,' Dan said, "she never regained consciousness, and passed yesterday morning. Doc said that she had too many internal injuries. Damn, I'd like to find that no account husband of hers and rip his head off!'

"Don't worry," I said, "That guy is probably long gone by now!"

Author Bio:

Helen Bishop is a native of Pennsylvania and a true fan of the written word. She works as a litigation paralegal; reads on average 20 books a week; writes book reviews for an internet blog; writes stories, poems and novels in various genres; and-just to fill out her dance card-contracts with fellow authors to proofread and copy-edit their work before it goes to the publisher. You can check her out at

thttps://www.facebook.com/HelenBishopAuthor?ref=bookmarks, and 

Rand’s Story: Fight for a Friend pt.2

A Southern Hospitality Companion Story


Brien O’Raighn


Rand contemplates the offer brought to him by Lucifer. He sighs. He knows that it is not an offer that he can refuse. He rubs the burn mark in his chest. A frown crosses his face.
“Damn it!” Rand shakes his head. “I do not want this! You hear me! I DO NOT WANT THIS!”
“No need to shout, Randall.” A melodic voice says from behind him.
Rand turns and glares at Lucifer. There is a smile on Lucifer’s face.
“I am not really giving you a choice, Randall. You do this or I wipe you from existence.” Lucifer is quite calm in demeanor.
Rand breathes a sigh of relief. “I figured as much. I am not ready to die.”
“Good. Good.” Lucifer says. “First thing you should know; I will not tell you how to run your clan. You will not ignore my requests though. Second thing, I know what lies deep in your heart. Don’t forget that.”
“Oh, I am well aware of you, Lucifer.” Rand tells him. “And what you can do.”
“Good. Make sure you keep that at the back of your mind.” Lucifer says. “Now follow me. We have work to do.”
Rand shakes his head. Reluctantly he answers. “Yes, my lord.”


There are multiple Agent Superiors meeting here today. Barnabas, an ancient immortal sorcerer, walks into the conference room. Walter Carpenter taps a pen on the table in the conference room. He sighs.
“Thank you all for coming.” Barnabas says. His silver hair is pulled back into a ponytail.
“We have a major problem. There are new and more powerful groups beginning to emerge in Storm City and the surrounding areas. Quite a few are from out of town.” Barnabas paces back and forth. He taps the clicker in his hand.
A picture of three sisters in dark robes is up on the screen. Barnabas points to them.
“These are three immortal witches from the ancient town of Wardok on the Isle of Mann in the British Isles. They are very powerful. Do not engage these witches point blank. You will need the help of an arch mage or two before you intend to engage these witches.”
Barnabas hits the clicker again. The image of Club Chaos appears. There is a man in the photo. His skin is nearly as black as night. His eyes glow. “This is Szin Diablos.”
“Sir, there’s nothing new about this guy at all. He’s been around for decades.” Walter interjects.
“That is correct, Carpenter.”
He clicks the button again. “However, this is true image.”
There is a gasp amongst the Agent Superiors. They all know who this is. The Prince of Darkness himself, Lucifer Morningstar.
“Are you sure about this, sir?” Agent Superior Sorensen asks.
“Positive, Sorensen. There has been a rise in supernatural activity at Club Chaos.” Barnabas continues to pace back and forth. “I am going to need your teams to send your best agents, in disguise to Club Chaos tonight.”
“Sure you got the right place, boss?” A female Agent Superior named Helena Rickman asks.
“Positive. There are registered supernatural beings that work there.” Barnabas places both hands behind his back. “Any other questions?”
“If this is all you got, then, why call us all here?” Walter asks.
“I need you to fill out the paperwork in front of you. Afterwards, you will receive packets for every member in your offices.”
“What’s the paperwork for, boss?” Helena asks.
“HR needs the information filled out.” Barnabas reminds them.
“All right, boss.” Helena says.
Barnabas walks out of the room with his hands behind his back. He gulps as he walks over to the doors leading to the patio. As he walks out onto the patio, he looks up into the night sky and sighs. I hope I am doing the right thing.


Matt lies in bed with Elise. She is sleeping soundly as he strokes her brunette curly locks. He sighs and smiles as his phone rings.
Matt rolls over and picks up his phone. The caller ID states WALTER.
He swipes his phone right to answer the phone. “Hello, sir.”
“Thomas, I need your services tonight.”
“Tonight sir?”
“Yes, tonight. I need you to infiltrate Club Chaos. You will be reimbursed. You will meet the others there in 30 minutes.”
“30 minutes? That means I need to get dressed and leave now.”
“Then, I suggest you get moving.”
“Yes, sir.”
Matt rolls over and gets up out of bed, He grabs his jeans and throws on a tight black tee. Elise rolls over. Groggily, she looks up at Matt. “Matt, baby? Where you going?”
“Got to go into work.”
“But you are not in uniform.”
“Undercover work.”
“Be careful.”
Matt finishes dressing. He walks over to Elise. He bends down and kisses her on the forehead. “I will be, darling. See you in the morning.”
Elise smacks her lips. “okay.” She falls back asleep.
Matt shakes his head and smiles. I hope nothing goes wrong.

Author Bio:

He is a connoisseur of sci-fi and paranormal films and books. He, also, lives in Houston with his son.

*Anyone looking for a GREAT editor/beta reader should contact Jessica Sawa (same name on Facebook) or at her email: jessisawapromotions@gmail.com. She does excellent work and is even offering specials for Nano pieces!!! Check her out!!!

******If you'd like to contribute an article or become a columnist, please contact me at darknesswithin.jpierce@gmail.com. Also, please feel free to leave a comment here letting us know what you think of the e-zine! We love to hear from our readers!!!!

Keep Writing/Reading!
Jodie Pierce