Something Bad Always Happens
You may have heard parts of this story before. It begins with a young martial artist forsaking violence for a peaceful way of life. He has a hot temper, and this always seems to get him into trouble, so the young man goes to the temple to study under the wise monks to learn their simple ways, and to learn how to keep his anger under control. The young man continues to train in the martial arts, of course, as that is part of his holy life. He uses kung fu to keep his body as fit as his mind. He struggles to remain chaste and pure, doing his best to ignore the sweet advances of a young woman he sees in the village on his rare visits into town (but fails — several times).
As you are probably aware of the tragic plights that befall most of these young men, then you know something always happens to rip the young martial artist out of his peaceful life. Always. Either his sister gets murdered, or a monster made of straw nearly decapitates him, or the village he grew up in gets destroyed, or a one-eyed dragon stalks him, or an ancient warrior made of stone attacks him, or a demon torments him, or his brother monks in the temple get slaughtered, or a skeleton army assaults him, or an entire school burns down with the children still inside. Something bad always happens to rip the young martial artist away from his idyllic life in the temple, forcing him to embrace the violent creature that exists deep inside himself.
Usually, though, not all of those horrific things happen to the same guy. Except this time they did.
The Black Market For Memories
The black market for memories was a scary place. What was really scary to Paulo was how pristine and pure the whole place looked, despite what was being sold here. Everything was polished and shiny, chrome and whiteness, gleaming with cleanness. Yet he knew many of the memory sticks sold here contained dark and horrible things, twisted and macabre activities, heinous events and horrid crimes, terrible tragedies, and the pain-filled end to many lives. So what are you doing here? he wondered again. God, he hated this business. He hated everything about it, yet he couldn’t stay away. Nobody could stay away from the memory sticks anymore. Everyone in the world seemed addicted to them. Yeah, but most of them stick to the legal memories. The happy family memories. The adventurous travel memories. The triumphant sports memories. The movie star memories. The sex memories. Oh, but not you. No. You’re never happy with what normal people do. You always gotta have more. You’re here because you are a sick, twisted fuck.
The Dead Man In The Coffin
Blake Goldwin stared at the dead man in the coffin, trying to figure out how he could get the suit off Robert’s corpse without anyone finding out. How the hell do you get a suit off a corpse? Blake had no idea. But somehow he was going to figure it out.
Robert always had said that the suit was the real source of his wealth and his sex appeal. He had said it was indestructible. He couldn’t rip it. He couldn’t cut it. He couldn’t even burn it (and Robert said he had tried). It was some kind of super suit.
Scared For Their Eternal Souls
Those Jap soldiers out in the Philippine jungles, they were scared for real. Scared for their eternal souls, which was far worse to them than being scared about dying from a bullet from an M1 or a Springfield, or dying from the stabbing slash of a trench knife. The flesh and bone of your body eventually rots away to nothing no matter how you die, but your eternal soul goes on forever. Even their macho bushido code couldn’t protect them from the everlasting dishonor and damnation from a vampire’s bite.
We used nails the first time on a Jap that was dead a few days. We had to dress up the holes and smear some blood around them to give them that authentic touch, but they looked pretty good after we were done. We decorated him real nice. Greely was too scared to do it. He didn’t have the stomach for desecrating the dead. Me? I didn’t give a shit. Not after what those Japanese savages did to McDowd and Valentino. You ever see a man with his dick cut off and shoved into his mouth? I have. More than once. No, I had no problem at all picking up a rusty nail and stabbing a few holes into that dead Jap’s neck to simulate a vampire’s bite. No problem at all.
Written In Blood
Marla opened the notebook and stared. She had a hard time believing what she saw in the leather-bound journal. There were words on the page. Words she didn’t remember writing. Words she knew she had not written. Because they were written in blood.
She slapped the notebook shut and immediately pushed it off her lap, standing up quickly to get away from it. What the hell? She stared down at the notebook sitting on the carpet, feeling her heart pounding in her chest. The notebook lay motionless on the floor. She half-expected it to growl at her like it was some possessed creature, but it wasn’t making any noise. It wasn’t moving. It wasn’t slithering across the floor. It just sat there.
Waiting for her to pick it back up.
Dead For Weeks
“How could the guy be dead for weeks and still rob a bank yesterday?” Hagan Broome puffed on his cherry e-cig and looked at the coroner. Hagan was a gruff man in his fifties, grizzled, his hair kept short and neat. Lines of wrinkles creased his forehead. He had frowned so much in his life that his lips were perpetually curved down at the corners.
“That’s your job to figure out,” the coroner said.
A Pair Of Dark Eyes Glowed In The Moonlight
“You didn’t have to run over that animal,” she said. “What was it, anyway? A possum?” She opened her legs a bit wider, giving his fingers room to continue their roaming down the inside of her thigh.
“I don’t know. Whatever it was, it was fucking stupid and it deserved to die.” Trevor laughed.
The car sped off down the dark rural highway.
A pair of dark eyes glowed in the moonlight as the half-crescent orb slid out from behind a veil of wispy clouds in the night sky above to illuminate the road. The dark eyes watched the red taillights of the car recede into the distance.
Another pair of eyes joined the first, they too watching the car disappear into the gloom.
They both turned to gaze with a growing rage at the grotesquely flattened remains of one of their kits that was smeared across the road.
A Bullet With Your Name On It
“I got me a bullet with your name on it.”
Alvin Chaddock stared at the bullet. His name was etched into the side. The five letters of his first name were tiny, crudely carved into the small cylinder, but it was his name sure enough.
Harvey Posson rolled the brass cylinder in his fingers.
The smug look on Harvey’s face made Alvin want to plant a tightened fist seed into the fleshy soil of his cheek. Alvin also wanted to grab one of the long curls of Harvey’s mustache and rip the waxed length of hair right off his self-satisfied face. “Where in f#@! nation did you get that?” Alvin asked.
The first few months after the soulstones started appearing had been absolute madness. No one knew what was going on. No one knew how widespread it had become. It was mind-boggling how many people died every day, and the manner in which they died. Car crashes were common causes of death, but so were other accidents, and illnesses, and natural causes. Though I don’t why they call them natural causes; there is nothing natural about death any more. People died stepping out of their bathtub. People died straining on the toilet. People died in their sleep. People died having sex. People died from disease. People died from gunshot wounds or stab wounds. People died from drug overdoses. People died from allergic reactions. People died from all manner of unpredictable accidents. And they died in every conceivable place. They died in their living rooms, ironic but true. They died on their stairs. They died in the streets. They died in their cars. They died in stores. They died in parks. They died in hospitals. They died on the ocean. They died in the air. It was like a twisted Dr. Seuss story from Hell come to life.
Brock Knew Who The Man Was
Despite the murky moonlight shadowing the man’s features, Brock knew who the man was. He could tell by the long black hair that curled around the man’s broad shoulders. He couldn’t see it because of the dim light, but Brock knew the man had a long jagged scar on his face, running from beneath his right eye down across his cheek and under the right side of his nose. The scar pulsed when the man was angry. Brock wondered if the man was angry right now. Then he realized that was a foolish thought. Of course he was angry. The man was always angry. Isn’t that what I had named him? The Angry Man? Brock struggled to remember, but the fog of the rum and the lingering effects of too little sleep muddled his thoughts for a moment. Yes, the Angry Man. That was it, he thought. That was the man’s name. Angry Man.