Update and Masters of Macabre 2012 entry
Hello ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Casa!
I hope you enjoyed the edited version of my first Masters of Macabre story, “The Problem With Neighbors”. The past two weeks have been busy ones between work on a zombie novel, editing two short stories, and (drumroll please) the publication of one of my stories. The story I wrote for the Bump Off Your Enemies contest was included in an anthology of the same name. It is really exciting to finally have a story in print and I look forward to offering more. In fact, here is the short story I submitted for the 2012 Masters of Macabre writing contest. I will be back this Friday with a review of “Anon” by Peter Giglio. Enjoy!
Friends, Lovers, and Enemies
Steven had just settled on the couch for some much deserved television time when the pounding at the front door began. A low groan escaped him as he plodded across the room to answer it. Any feelings of exhaustion and pain he felt vanished after the door opened and Renée marched in. Rather than stopping her, however, he simply smirked and closed the door. “To what do I owe this sudden appearance?” he asked after joining her in the living room. He made sure to sound annoyed to hide the excitement he felt from seeing her for the first time in months.
“I didn’t know who else to go to,” Renée said as she paced like a nervous wildcat. A cigarette emerged from her purse and Steven instinctively stepped forward with a lighter in hand. Her eyes focused on the hand for a second, but she relaxed after taking a long drag on her cigarette. The way the smoke caressed the dark skin of her face brought back memories of happier times between them, but it also reminded him of how things had changed in their time apart. There was a haunted look in her eyes, like she hadn’t slept in a while. A smile tugged at the corners of Steven’s mouth when she said, “I need your help. I think something bad has happened to Jean Phillipe.”
Steven tensed at the mention of his former best friend. He and Jean Phillipe came from the same rough neighborhood and always watched each other’s back when there was trouble. They were like brothers, but that didn’t stop Jean Phillipe from climbing into bed with Renée. It devastated Steven when he caught the two of them together. Now, three months after the betrayal, she was asking him for help in finding the man who stole her away. After taking a deep breath to calm himself, Steven said, “Tell me what happened.”
“I got home from work late last night and the house was empty.” Steven shrugged his shoulders and she snapped at him, “I know that doesn’t
mean anything! It just felt like something was wrong, so I tried calling him, but his phone went directly to voice mail. You know as well as I do that he never turns that thing off.” The bitterness he heard in her voice further fueled his hope for reconciliation.
“Play it simple, act concerned, and she’ll be yours again,” Steven reminded himself. “So, he turned his phone off. I’m guessing there was no note either?” He bit his tongue to curb the urge to gloat when Renée shook her head. The brief hint of blood on his tongue tasted like victory, but not enough of one yet. “I think you need to sit down and have a drink…” he began saying before she pulled his face to hers and kissed him hard.
When their lips parted and his eyes opened, he saw hunger and anger in her gaze. It was a side of her he missed, an animalistic side that made their lovemaking more intense, passionate, and dangerous. “I don’t know why I left,” she whispered. “You warned me about him, but I didn’t listen.” Her fingers traced their way up the back of his neck and began playing with his hair. He grimaced when she grabbed a handful of his dark locks only to smile when she said, “Let me make it up to you,” and pushed his lips back to hers.
Steven pulled away with a growl, and felt a rush of enjoyment as he looked from the strands of hair clenched in Renee’s fist to her grinning face. “Oh, the pain she can inflict,” he thought with glee and leaned in for another kiss. He stopped when he felt her finger touch his lips and looked at her with confusion.
With a wry smile, Renée said, “How about that drink? Perhaps something strong to help me forget about past mistakes?” Steven matched her
devious smile with one of his own before dashing off to the kitchen. Seconds later he re-emerged with a bottle of cognac in one hand and two glasses in the other, but Renée no longer looked playful.
She stared at him with rage and held a doll in her outstretched hand. “Where’s Jean Phillipe?” she hissed. He smiled and tried taking a step towards her, but stopped when he noticed the hair from his head tied around the doll’s waist. His eyes went wide when she stuck a pin into the doll’s right arm and pain flared in his matching arm. The bottle and glasses fell to the carpet and landed with soft thuds. She stepped closer and pulled the pin out of the doll’s arm. “Where is he?”
Through gasps of pain, Steven managed to say, “I thought you only used those voodoo dolls for healing people.”
“Normally I do, but I’ve found that they can also be very persuasive tools when needed. Now,” she moved the pin to the doll’s left leg, “where is
Jean Phillipe? You have the lighter I gave him last week, so you know what happened to him.” The pin jammed hard into the doll’s leg and Steven’s screams of pain echoed through the room followed by a thud and the soft crunch of glass as he landed on the cognac bottle. “Where is he?!”
One look at the fury on Renee’s face and Steven knew the torture would keep going until she got her answer. Death wasn’t an escape since she knew ways to bring him back. Instead, he opted for a reprieve from the pain. “In the basement,” he whimpered, “He’s down in the basement.”
Renée stared at him for a couple of seconds before pulling a string from a pocket and wrapping it around the doll. An invisible force snaked around Steven’s body in a similar fashion, forcing it to straighten with arms at his sides. “There,” she said once the doll was completely bound, “We don’t want you wandering off just yet, now do we?” He waited until she disappeared into the kitchen to try to break free, but found himself trussed up too tightly by whatever curse was on the doll.
When her scream rose from the basement Steven began giggling. “I guess she found what she was looking for.” A shuffling sound followed minutes later and Jean Phillipe shambled through the kitchen door. “It’s about time,” Steven snapped. “Honestly, do you think you can walk
a little slower next time? I’m bleeding all over the carpet.” His former best friend looked down at his new master with a glazed look. “Did you bring the doll up with you?” Jean Phillipe lifted the hand clutching the voodoo doll, the expression on his face unchanging. “Good, now untie the string so I can get free.” As the invisible ropes loosened around him, Steven felt relieved that Renée didn’t know how well he worked with zombies. “Hopefully her body isn’t too damaged to bring back,” he thought as he climbed to his feet.
As always, if you want to leave a comment, please do so below. Let me know your opinion and feel free to share mine with your friends, family, and yes, even your enemies. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and via e-mail at email@example.com. Also, look for my short story “Bully” in the “Bump Off Your Enemies” e-book anthology available through Amazon.
And remember… Why so serious?