Daniel Brewster tries not to panic as he paces around the corpse of the old woman. He could hear Mike’s voice in his mind… “Get the job done, Danny-Boy! What’s done is done.” His brother’s voice doesn’t help to calm him down, though.
With his brother is in jail, and his mamma – who resembles this old woman in a remarkable way, off in the home where Mike sent her five years ago, Danny is lonely.
At home, he sorts through the meager haul that he lifted from the old woman. He’d even removed the ring from her slowly cooling finger.
Thirty bucks. Thirty measly dollars, and a few trinkets that couldn’t be worth much of anything. The ring he took off of the old woman’s finger, though… THAT was pretty snazzy.
Was it worth her life?
Danny is feeling woozy. He forgot to eat, and his body was chanting ‘pay the price, pay the price…’ Mike said that big guys like him needed to watch their sugar. Mike said that low blood sugar would make him feel really bad.
As he reaches out to grab an apple, his hand brushes across something else, something that’s definitely NOT an apple!
He touches …wth?! The old woman’s face?!
That’s not possible!
She’s dead! I killed her!
Danny Boy cries, and cries, and cries. He misses his brother, and wants him to come home – he’d get that old woman to leave!
When Danny answers the ringing phone the next morning, he’s relieved, and surprised, to hear Mike’s voice on the other end. Mike has a big surprise for his baby brother!
Danny Boy lowers the phone in his hand, and slowly turns to look down the hallway – and at the bloody footprints .
The links for this issue, the ones that I’ve had for ages, just decided to NOT work anymore. They were working a week ago, but… Not anymore. ::sigh::
You can see all the info about this issue HERE, but the download link on that page is also broken.
E-mail Katherine Tomlinson for magazine information, or connect via Facebook
ABOUT DARK VALENTINE ~
Dark Valentine is a quarterly journal devoted entirely to dark fiction, which we define as any story in any genre that is disturbing, provocative, haunting, scary, dangerous, or any combination of those things.
Think of classic stories like “The Mummy’s Paw,” “The Open Window,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and “The Lady or the Tiger?” Think of Jack London’s “To Build a Fire,” William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily,” Harlan Ellison’ “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream,” J.D. Salinger’s “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” and Tanith Lee’s “Because Our Skins are Finer.”
The world is a dangerous place, as full of shadows and moonlight as it is sun and blue sky. We want the stories that come from the dark places—words that sear and scar and bewitch and bedazzle. Words that are as dangerous to hear as they are to tell.
Tell us a story.
After accidentally killing, and assuming the identity of local serial killer ‘Grandson of Barney‘, the narrator follows a personal ad in ‘his’ wallet and finds himself in a room with 18 other serial killers. It’s a club, a place for killers to share stories, and make sure that nobody is targeting the same person. (It’s happened before – awkward!) When you’re surrounded by every notorious serial killer from the surrounding areas, each one looking at you expectantly, waiting to hear your story… you’re gonna make some shit up, with a quickness! Everyone in the club goes by an alias. They choose their names from classic stars, (eg. Errol Flynn & Carole Lumbard), and our narrator becomes Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Dougie falls into his roll headfirst, and the club becomes his life. He’s finally found a place where he belongs, among friends. The trouble is, Dougie isn’t a real serial killer. Other members have started to notice that there haven’t been any new Grandson of Barney victims since he joined them – ‘Why is that, Dougie?’ He’s suffering from ‘Killer’s Block’ – that’s a thing, right? If this isn’t enough of a problem, the mysterious stranger who has been following him around reveals himself as the lead agent on the Grandson of Barney case, and he’s got plans of his own. Doug’s certainly stuck between a rock & a hard place, things can’t possibly get any worse. “Hahaha!! You silly man!” – says LIFE. “Let’s see… how can I make your life suck just a bit more…” ::dastardly rubbing hands together:: “Oh! I know!… Watch THIS!“ [Enter stage left:] The Kentucky Killer has come to town. Now – the fun can really begin!
I realized that I didn’t have anything here about HUNGER PANGS, (the cannibalistic anthology that started at ZF, and was completed at MDC). I cannot find any of my old notes or files, so it was the perfect opportunity to read it again!
❝From the ravenous Donner Party expedition to the twisted mind of Albert Fish, and verily even the fictitious Hannibal Lector from Silence of the Lambs to the recent rampage of carnage spawned by the Florida Face Eater, fascination with cannibalism has always been intense. How hungry do you have to be…or how sick to eat another human? You are cordially invited to dine with some of the finest authors in the horror genre as we savor the delights of these tales; dress code is relaxed, bring a friend, regrets only, RSVP not required.❞
FOR ELISE by Evan Roy
After a seemingly never-ending series of tragedies, finding the broken fuselage of what was once a military aircraft felt like a miracle to Eric. He knows that they wouldn’t have survived the winter without it’s shelter, and the meager supplies found inside. But, the supplies didn’t last. As spring approaches, Eric knows what has to be done to keep his daughter alive. While he mentally prepares for the task, he remembers the days, and the events that led them here.
FOR ELISE is a heartbreaking story. While Eric defends his family from the things that are hunting them, he learns that humans can be the most frightening monsters of them all.
MEAT DOCTOR by Cal Miller
When times are hard, and the food is scarce, you need to be able to use every bit of the meat that comes from your livestock. So, if the animal died on it’s own, and wasn’t butchered for it’s meat, you called your local vet to tell you if the meat was infected or good to eat. Hence the nickname ‘The Meat Doctor’. But, these days are harder than ever before, livestock isn’t as easy to come by, people are getting hungry. Behind closed doors, you call on the Meat Doctor to look at your dead family member. Meat is meat, and, you need to eat to survive. It didn’t take long for people to start nudging the sick or the elderly toward the Meat Doctor, or his cleaver, one less mouth to feed is also protein for the rest of the family.
This particular case that the doctor is called to… this one is a little different…
END OF TRADITION by Trevor Smith
Silent rage & sweet revenge.
This story, told in verse, is about the brave man who rebels against tradition, in his own way.
STILL LIFE by Dave Jeffery
A highly secretive scientific experiment [‘Project’] gone wrong, leaving a city full of human statues in it’s wake. One man awakes to find his town utterly still. While trying to make sense of the surreal scene before him, he feels the beginnings of the changes within him.
THE SMOKEHOUSE by Kim Krodel
Ellie gazes longingly at the empty smokehouse while trying to nurse her babies. Her husband, Kenny, is basically useless is this new world. The only bacon he manages to bring home these days is his own inadequate member, and Ellie has begun to find that thing just as useless as the rest of him. When he forcefully planted another seed in her belly, she makes a decision; one way or another, he WILL provide the meat to place in the smokehouse.
COMPROMISED MORALS by Rebecca Besser
William was brought-up with beliefs that he never thought to question – until now. Raised from birth to think one way, challenging these ideas was an alien concept to him. Now he’s forced to rethink everything he has ever known to be the truth, and more than just life & death hang in the balance of his decision.
JUST ONE DAY by TL Decay
Sometimes, just one day makes all the difference in the world.
This piece of poetry from TL is very unsettling.
Needless to say… I love it ❣
RUMP ROAST WITH A SIDE OF THIGH by S.P. Durnin
Freelance Zombie Eradicator & Death Dealer, Van, has more to deal with than just maggot heads on this job in Reeves Crossing!
This ss by S.P. Durnin, (KEEP YOUR CROWBAR HANDY), is pretty damn witty, and I appreciate the originality of the outbreak.
PREY by Shaun Phelps
There are tales of a world where humans are not hunted, nor are they hunters. A place of hope, not of despair. Talks or questions of Pilgrimage were forbidden while growing up, thus making it even more desirable.
If Pilgrimage were real, would it be the utopia that you so desire, or would it be an unimaginable nightmare with no escape?
MR. PAKOOL’s SPICE by JZ Murdock
Jake is an amazing father. On the run in the woods of Oregon, he is keeping his son & daughter safe, and teaching them the skills to survive in this new, post apocalyptic world. While they try to search for a new place to call home, and avoid the *PUDS, they cross paths with another survivor. He has a name that’s hard to pronounce, and they start referring to him as Mr. Pakool, because of his odd cranial accessory – his pakool hat.
When Jake is able to fit the pieces together, he realizes that he knows who this man is. The PUDS aren’t the only things he needs to protect his family from. *Poor Unfortunately Dangerous Suckers
SAFETY IN NUMBERS by Alan Wismer
It’s hard to survive on your own. After a while, though, ‘on your own’ is all you know.
Readapting to NOT being alone is difficult, but it’s harder for Cal because he cannot speak. He couldn’t decide whether his uneasiness in this new camp of survivors was due to his lengthy period of solitude, or if there was something more sinister afoot.
Safety in numbers comes with a price, and he’ll soon realize it’s a price he’s not willing to pay.
DEEPLY DISTURBED by Jeremy Peterson
This is the journal of Sidney Stout.
35 years old, and the manager of the meat department, aka The Butcher, at The SuperSave Mart in Lincoln, Nebraska.
He started keeping the journal while hiding in the basement after the weirdest lightening storm he’d ever seen. As you read his thoughts, you’ll see that Stanley The Butcher is a Deeply Disturbed man.
FINE DINING WITH OSCAR by Jennily French
This is Alyssa’s account of her time in the Z-Poc.
After leaving the city with her roommate, Waylon, and their friend, Oscar, things quickly went to Hell. Oscar was on a lot of prescription meds, and even with cutting his doses in half, they didn’t last long.
Alyssa is worried about finding food, and Waylon’s increasingly strange behavior. She needs to keep a close eye on him!
THE HUNGER by Scott M. Baker “THIS IS HOW THE WORLD ENDS. NOT WITH A BANG, BUT WITH A MOAN.”
Sure, eating human flesh may be gross the first couple of times – you’ll probably puke. But, after a while… you acquire a taste for it. Janet tries to explain this to Buford, but, he’s being so pissy about it!
This has been on my Must Read list for a while.
Now, I’m going to mark it as one that needs to be read again, to give it another chance.
It’s told from the husband’s POV. After a pretty enthusiastic night with his wife, Sam, he wakes up to find her naked, terrified, and not herself. She says her name is Lily, and although she’s speaking from a fully developed woman’s body, Lily is only five years old.
I was immersed in Patrick’s world, and could feel all his emotions in my gut – the early feelings of loss were quickly replaced with pangs of guilty embarrassment when they were in public, to confusion & shame when his body recognized the familiarity of his wife’s form on a child.
I appreciate the reason that the story ends as it does, but I would’ve liked a little bit more… something. It was a little abrupt, and I was left wanting. The additional bit at the end is Sam’s POV. Take the author’s advice – Let some time pass before reading it. (I didn’t.)
I hate the 3/5 rating, so it’s going on the Read Again list.
I see many 2 and three star reviews for this title, and maybe I can bypass other reviewer’s reasons because I listened to the majority of this instead of physically reading it. Before you go off your nut about the robotic Kindle voice, let me clear up a couple things… The robotic voice is strange at first, but only for a minute. I got used to it very quick – it doesn’t bother me at all anymore. (My husband chalks it up to my imagination.) There was a few hour window of my life when I believed I was getting a KindleHD instead of the Next Gen Kindle, so I was reading up on the differences between them. That’s when I learned about IVONA VOICE SYNTHESIZER. I downloaded the synthesizer onto my phone, with a couple different voices, and it’s really cool. After playing with Kendra’s pitch, and Amy’s speed, I ended up with two voices I like. One American, and one British. (I’m looking for a British dude’s voice – then I’ll be really happy!) So, maybe that’s why I didn’t notice any editing problems, which looks to be the main reason most reviewers gave two and three star reviews. I got to focus on the story about Robert Jenkins, and I really enjoyed it. Robert is skipping back and forth between insanity and reality so much that he can’t decipher which is which anymore. Did he and his wife separate because she cheated on him, or did he bury her in the back yard? When he meets someone new, is he still married, or is he a widower? Do his nightmares have anything to do with the one’s he had when he was twelve? And, does his new apartment hold the key to putting everything back in place – or destroying it once and for all? Possible spoiler here- (view spoiler)I stopped and made notes in a couple spots, because I don’t know if the author was trying to be funny, or if I’m just a lunatic now… There are some points that are very gory and descriptive I laughed out loud while he was dismembering his wife, and he threw up inside of her! Too bad, too, because his sausage biscuit sounded pretty tasty – before it mixed with the contents of her stomach. Another thing that made me chuckle, and might be adopted as one of my new ‘go to’ sayings… “this big yellow crowbar should be just the thing to help her shut the fuck up!” Very nice. (hide spoiler)]
***I stopped and made notes in a couple spots, because I don’t know if the author was trying to be funny, or if I’m just a lunatic now…
There are a couple bits that are very gory and descriptive!
I laughed out loud while he was dismembering his wife, and he threw up inside of her! Too bad, too, because his sausage biscuit sounded pretty tasty – before it mixed with the contents of her stomach.
Another thing that made me chuckle, and might be adopted as one of my new ‘go to’ sayings… “this big yellow crowbar should be just the thing to help her shut the fuck up!”
Check your library, there’s a good chance you might already own this! I downloaded it, on sale, in Feb 2013! I don’t know how I forgot about it, but I wish I’d have read it sooner. I need to check out more work from Eugene Cusie – I know I have at least two more titles in my Kindle TBR queue right now!