S-Drive by @AlexChaseWriter @CoffinHop 2013


Hello Travelers,

If you’ve been reading my work thus far, thank you! Your continued readership means more than I can say. Double thank you to all who’ve commented routinely. If this is your first time reading my work, no worries, I love you too. This marks the end of my piece of Coffin Hop 2013, so I’ve decided to go out with a bang.

Today I bring you the opening to a novella I’ve written, and though it’s on the back burner, I do want to revise and publish it, so you won’t be seeing the full story here. In this, I managed to blend all my favorite themes- horror, science fiction, and psychology. You’ll see why I say that…

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Jack Trelawney leaned against a crumbling brick wall, ignoring how the decades-old dust from the crumbling mortar stained his pea coat, and crossed his arms over his chest. Though he kept his ankles crossed and his head pointed toward the ground, pretending to fall asleep from how little he cared, his eyes darted from Zach Burns to Chuck Rawhide and back to the mouth of the alley in which they hid. He thought about their objective, his fingers gently brushing over the metal plate that covered the USB port embedded in his chest, and idly tapped it twice. Zach and Chuck caught sight of this and nudged each other, knowing their boss needed help coming to a resolution.

“Hey, boss,” Zach said, lumbering over. The man had a perpetual slouch, as if as if he had so much muscle that his skeleton could not support its weight. “Who’s this guy again?” He hoped a little Q&A might jar his boss into action.

“Marcus Smith,” Jack said, straightening up.

Zach’s companion glanced over. “But why do we want him again? For research or something? I thought we had enough test subjects.” While he was much more intelligent than Zach, Chuck had a copy of his personality. To be more accurate, they were both copies of some long forgotten person whose personality had been digitized and filed as ‘security personnel type B.’

A gust of wind shrieked to the alley, ripping at Jack’s coat. He smiled knowing that its sleeves covered the goose bumps that raced along his arms. Neither Zach nor Chuck would have questioned him if he showed weakness, but it still made him uncomfortable to know that he might react to things while they sat still, not appearing to have recognized that the wind had blown. Worse still was that the coldness, the way it seemed to penetrate right through to his heart. It was a constant reminder of the monolithic figure whose shadow he had always lived in and whose height he’d always aspired to reach.

Unbidden, his grandfather’s voice echoed in his head. I know you love him, but he will never understand this. He sold his soul long ago and is no longer capable of understanding what it means to love or have family. You need to live for yourself, not for him.

“That’s classified,” Jack said, shaking his head and levering himself off the wall. “Do you see him?”

“Uh, let me check.” Zach leaned out, then pulled back in and began to nod. Jack waved and they stepped out into the deep orange halo cast by the overhead streetlight. Jack looked at it briefly thought of how it looks like the harvest moon, something he hadn’t seen or even looked for since the night he had to say goodbye to the Melissa he loved several years earlier. He followed his escort team, listening to the clack of his dress shoes on the broken sidewalk echo down the deserted Boulevard.

“Marcus Smith?” Jack’s voice was a little sharper, a little colder than he intended for it to be. Maybe it is just nerves, or maybe he was jealous of the smiling man strolling down the street.

“Jack Trelawney? What are you doing out here?” Marcus began to shake as Jack moved behind him. The trio closing in, causing him to press his back against the front of the boarded up toy shop.

“Nothing much, I just been thinking about the Jericho group and all you’ve done to fight my father’s company over the past few months.” Jack remove something sleek and black from his pocket. It only weighed a few ounces, but it was the heaviest thing he’d ever held, as the weight of all that had ever been done with it was dragging it down into the earth. Or maybe straight into hell.

“Yeah, why? So what?” He lowered his hands, flexing them as his voice steadied.

Jack forced his face to grin despite how unnatural it felt. “It doesn’t matter. What matters is why you’ve done all this work for so many people.”

“Why I help those who you’ve destroyed? I don’t follow – do you have something against those who do what’s right because it’s the right thing to do?”

“That’s just it, Mr. Smith. You work for those who can’t defend themselves — for those who you claim have been destroyed by Personex technologies. For those people who willingly and knowingly abused an otherwise safe process, isn’t that right?” Zach looked at Chuck and began guffawing, but was cut off by a sharp look from Jack, who then closed in on Marcus.  His right hand began to shake so he dug the nails of his left hand into his palm.

“That isn’t quite how I’d phrase him it, but yeah, that’s my goal: to seek restitution for everyone damaged by Personex industries him. What of it? What do you want from me?”

“What do I want?” It was the first time anyone had ever asked him that before, and for an instant, he’d almost forgotten what he was doing there in the first place. He heard his grandfather’s voice in his head again. I know you can be a good person. Promise me you’ll be one someday.

Jack shook his head and bit back a sudden sting of tears. Marcus opened his mouth to question him again but Jack stepped forward and, with the soft snick of a blade, sliced away the fabric of Marcus shirt, leaving a thin red line across his chest. Marcus was too surprised to feel the pain and realized too late that his assailant had plunged a Drive into the USB port in his chest. It began to hum as Jack pressed the download button, leeching out Marcus’s personality. The thin black strip was soon filled with glowing bluish white light while Marcus his left with a cold desolation that seemed to radiate further with every pulse of his shuddering heart. Unable to fight the process, he sank to his knees as he gradually stopped noticing the cold air around him, the screaming gale that rushed between the buildings, and the fact that he was being attacked. Soon he was no more afraid of the men in front of him as a fish is afraid of water. There was nothing left of him but memory, a name, and organs. A human in theory but not an application.

Jack remove the Drive from Marcus his chest. “Thank you for your donation to Personex Industries. I’ll be sure to put your personality to good use.” The trio walked away, but Jack stole one last glance at the man they were leaving behind, the scraps of his torn shirt blowing in the wind.

***

Walk with me from October 24-31 as I post some of my work in honor of Coffin Hop 2013. Some of this is quite old, some of it not–guess which is which, Traveler. Perhaps a right answer will earn a stroke of fortune for you…

For this tour, I’ll be giving away one signed anthology in which a story of mine has been featured. Which anthology is up to the winner. Keep in mind, I reserve the right to award additional gifts as per Coffin Hop rules. Who knows–if I get a lot of hits, you might see a lot of rewards in the future. Be sure to click the badge at the side of my page and visit the other Hoppers!

The Silence in my Smile @CoffinHop


Hello Travelers,

Today I bring you an excerpt of a story I wrote, the full length of which is roughly 2,500 words. I won’t be including the full text because I don’t want you to spend all your time here. Go, frolic among the other Coffin Hop participants once you’ve finished. If you want me to post the full story, scream your desires in the comment section. Or, if someone would be kind enough to extend a publication offer…

Without adieu, here is The Silence in my Smile.

***

It was a night like any other for me. I wandered the dark streets, with so many homes filled with families that were not aware of my presence, cold and alone. Not a single house light could be seen, but after all, 2 A.M. was not an hour in which most people were awake. The night sky was black and the darkness unbroken, except by a few defiant stars. The frigid wind blew through my chest, but no cold nor isolation could ever compare to the hollow emptiness inside me.

On more than one occasion, my friends had attempted to pry me from my shell with invitations to parties, drinking games at the local bar, or other such menial delights. On all occasions, I responded in the negative. One of my few remaining friends, Donovan, brought me aside on such a night.

“Look, I know you’re hurt. I know that you must be going through some really dark times, but you have to get out and live just a little.”

“Why should I?”

“You don’t do anything anymore, and we haven’t even seen you smile. We would know you’re okay if you could just give us one damn smile. It’s rough seeing such a great guy so miserable.”

Well what did they know? I stalked through the night like a wounded animal- desperate for attention, yet ready to snap at anyone who came close. I soon noticed I was coming close to my street, Darnell Court. I didn’t want to return home yet, so I took the sharp left onto Way Street, as if ready to face the creeping memory of death. I tried hard to repress the memories that ripped at my mind, so I shook my head and continued my somber sauntering.

Unfortunately for me, I soon happened upon the town park. I stopped by a thick birch tree, my head suddenly swimming as memories flooded my mind. I fought this, but I could not stop the cruel images from playing in my mind. The colors and sounds mocked me with their unrelenting progression.

I saw the same park, only it was day time. I remembered this scene from just a few months ago; I was pushing my dearest daughter, Emily, on the swings. She had a bright yellow sundress on, and her soft voice was laughing with childish delight. She begged me to push her higher and higher, and soon leapt from the swing, sailing across the play set and landing triumphantly. I couldn’t help but admire her brave spirit. She was always trying to prove she was as mature and as bold as any adult. Sometimes, she actually was, and would prove her bravado despite any danger it might pose to her.

Turning on her feet, she ran suddenly and jumped back onto the swing. Using it like a fulcrum, she swung and jumped once more, this time tackling my chest. I laughed, stumbling, but caught her. She had wrapped her arms tightly around my torso, her narrow arms squeezing tight.

“I love you, daddy!”

That was it. My heart once again shook with pain; my body tensed as I struggled to hold back tears. How cruel must nature be, that I am always reminded of how badly I have suffered? I wrapped my arms tight around myself, praying the other memories would not return as I sprinted for home, unwilling to walk Memory Lane any longer.

My footsteps were loud, echoing through the streets, but I did not care. I shut my eyes, but behind them I saw the darkness in even greater detail. All I could think of was getting home before any other thoughts chose to break my heart again. It almost worked, but I had the growing sense that I could not outrun the pain of my past. I sprinted fast, then faster still, nearly breaking down my door as I slammed into it, but the memory returned regardless.

It had been another bright and warm day. The sun shone brilliantly, with warm air gusting through the streets. Birds chirped merrily, and I smiled up at the pleasant day. Emily and my wife, Elizabeth, had just been out to the supermarket. I couldn’t wait to see them, even though they’d only been gone a short time. I loved them both, and Emily was the spitting image of her mother. They both had wavy, golden hair, a smooth complexion, and an honest, kind, but witty personality. I once remarked that Paradise had nothing on those two.

I waited on my front steps to help them bring the groceries in. I squinted down the road and saw their car driving up Way Street. The bright blue paint sparkled in the sunlight, and I could just make out Emily’s smile from the other side of the windshield. I smiled, stood, and waved to them. I saw Elizabeth laugh as Emily waved back. The joyous expressions were still in place when a black sedan crumpled the driver’s side of their car.

***

Walk with me over the coming week as I post some of my work in honor of Coffin Hop 2013. Some of this is quite old, some of it not–guess which is which, Traveler. Perhaps a right answer will earn a stroke of fortune for you…

For this tour, I’ll be giving away one signed anthology in which a story of mine has been featured. Which anthology is up to the winner. Keep in mind, I reserve the right to award additional gifts as per Coffin Hop rules. Who knows–if I get a lot of hits, you might see a lot of rewards in the future. Be sure to click the badge at the side of my page and visit the other Hoppers!

If Comedy Has No Lady Problem, Why Am I Getting So Many Rape Threats? By Lindy West


Hello Travelers,

With a somewhat legendary second-post-of-the-day, I come to you with the disturbing but, tragically, not very surprising news that yet another woman is being threatened and insulted for speaking out against rape. The act alone is atrocious, but despite the plethora of evidence, I find myself in a state of stunned disbelief that some have the audacity to effectively support rapists by demeaning victims and those who act on their behalf.

There is little I can do to prevent this trend from spreading, aside from blogging about it (at least, for now…), so I am doing what is within my power. Remember: even if the only thing you can do is tweet in protest, that is still thousands of times better than staying silent. Please take a moment to view the link below and stand against the bigotry that allows this to occur.

Sincerest regards,
Alex Chase

If Comedy Has No Lady Problem, Why Am I Getting So Many Rape Threats?.

Damned Words 2


Hello Travelers,

A few days ago, my favorite group of horror writers, Pen of the Damned, released a collaborative post featuring several very short poems or stories by some of their members. It’s like getting free literature wholesale! Be sure to visit, subscribe, and thank The Damned for their generosity.

Damned Words 2.

Tender is a Cupcake by @JosephAPinto


Hello Travelers,

Good parenting seems to be a rare thing in today’s society, and this is truly a shame. The thing about writers, though, is that when one creates a work with real passion, that emotional strength carries in every line.

Please take a moment to read Tender is a Cupcake and celebrate Joseph’s love for his daughter.

Wishing you the best,
Alex

Tender is a Cupcake.

X by @sotet_angyal


Hello Travelers,

Writing, it is said, is the supreme solace. I cannot help but agree- but need we write in English to experience this? Certainly not. Do we have to use a human language at all?

Well… why don’t you see Ms. D’arcangela’s intriguing new post to find out?

X.

The Coming Soon Blog Tour


Hello Travelers,

This is coming a bit later than it should’ve, but here I am with my entry for the coming soon blog tour. I could go on about how my wandering ways led me down some paths that were far longer than I expected, but that would only delay this post further. You have my apologies, and more importantly, you have my answers to these questions.

What are you working on right now?

That’s a tricky question, because I do so much at once that it’s hard to say… I’ll list everything, then.

I’m currently in the process of writing my second, currently unnamed, novel.

I’m also dabbling in a semi-autobiographical poetry collection.

And in my spare time, I’m crafting a book of stand-alone short stories that also serve to tell one overarching tale. I’m not sure if this is a unique novel or unique in general, but hey, that’s the way it is.

How does it differ from other works in its genre?

My novel will have an equal balance between a male and female lead character. It will also blend science and fantasy (note: this is NOT a science fiction story).

And I think I covered the difference in my previous answer, but my poetry will be wildly experimental and my stories will be equal parts fantasy and realism.

What experiences have influenced you?

Modern psychology and quantum physics are heavy influences in my novel (as they are in my life).

Why do you write what you do?

Because what is life without that carnal drive? The real world isn’t nice and neat. People all over the world are suffering, fucking and dying, with some doing all three at once. If reality isn’t picture perfect, why should literature be? I just take my readers to the darker edges of the world they already live in. Remember: it’s only fiction if you don’t believe.

How does your writing process work?
I sit down, check my emails, tie up my loose ends, then type. Or talk, if I’m using my voice-to-text program.

However, poetry always goes down by hand first.

Overall, everything starts out as a stream of consciousness, which in some instances becomes a series of white-water rapids, culminating in the waterfall that I call ‘editing’ where any debris and unnecessary details are cast into oblivion by the delete button.

What is the hardest part about writing?
Having the time to do it! That and wrist strain.

What would you like to try as a writer that you haven’t yet?
But I already do so much! Ideally, I’d like to write a movie or video game just so see my work on screen, but given the unlikeliness of that happening in the near future, I’d like to try my hand at horror that is more literary fiction in nature. I’m also entering a few contests, so let’s see how that turns out, shall we?

Who are the authors you most admire?
Aside from myself? Just kidding, folks, I’m not that kind of guy. Barker, King and Koontz (not in any particular order) as far as mainstream are concerned. In my little indie-corner of the world, Daemonwulf, Nina D’arcangela, and Blaze McRob (again, in no particular order). There are also a few friends of mine back in the real world whom I believe to be very talented (looking at you, Bill).

Who are new authors to watch out for?
That’s a tough one for me to answer because I’m not certain what qualifies as ‘new’. I could certainly direct you to the aforementioned indie authors, but they’d be ‘new’ in the sense that I haven’t known them for very long. They’ve all been writing for some time now. Even I’m not ‘new’ if you count the fact that I first started writing online and entering contests at writing.com seven years ago. As such, I think I’ll skip this. Sorry, Travelers.

What scares you?

Failure, definitely, is at the top of my list. Thinking that I could give it my all and not get anywhere… that’s one of the most terrifying prospects I could ever face. Spiders, snakes, and serial killers have no such hold on my heart.

The Tagged Authors

I’m calling on the people below to repost this to their own sites one week from today.

Joseph A. Pinto

Nina D’arcangela

 

Check around the internet soon for their participation. Until then, walk on, my long-roaming friends.