Today is release day … sort of! My latest story, ‘The Bridesmaid,’ is featured in Siren’s Call’s newest anthology, Legends of Urban Horror: A Friend of a Friend Told Me. In addition to my entry, there are some great spooky tales in here, so I highly recommend checking it out. Here’s a short synopsis:
We’ve all come across them. The warnings told by a friend of a friend – don’t go in there, I wouldn’t if I were you, did you hear about…? Or perhaps your mind leaps to the cryptozoological realm – creatures barely glimpsed, and yet to be identified. Other spheres of existence – they can’t be real… certainly not until you’ve experienced one! Maybe the real horror lies in the minds and hearts of others just like you. People with a slightly bent perspective that feed on the fear in others. Twisted souls that would take advantage of the weak, or vulnerable. Those who believe they are doing good for a higher power, or to gain power simply for themselves. Petty vengeance that breathes a life of its own once unleashed. Whatever your poison, the ten stories in Legends of Urban Horror: A Friend of a Friend Told Me are sure to intrigue, and perhaps bring back fears long forgotten.
As an additional incentive, I’m posting a very short excerpt of the story for your enjoyment. Check it out, leave a review, let me know what you think!
Excerpt from The Bridesmaid
I don’t think about the place again — honest, I don’t — until a few nights after that. I wake up screaming, all sweaty and gross, and turn over to look at my clock. It’s three in the morning. Em’s snoring next to me, completely oblivious. I guess I wasn’t loud enough.
It wasn’t the scariest nightmare I’ve ever had, by any means. The bridal shop is there, I go inside, run down a seemingly never-ending hallway that finally opens up into the art studio, and I see him there. Mister Painter. Only this time, he isn’t smiling. His face is all twisted up with fear. He holds up a hand to me, and for a minute I’m scared he’s going to have a gun. Instead, he shows me his palm. In the middle of it is a pulsating green light, buried into his hand like someone just hammered it in. The skin around it is the classic grotesque shade of red and white that just screams infection. I ask him what he wants, but he doesn’t say anything. The dream ends. See? Like I said, hardly Freddy Krueger.
I decide not to wake Emily and instead get up from bed and pull on a pair of pajama pants. We don’t have any roommates, but I still feel weird going out to the living room in my skivvies. The fridge beckons me over, so I open it up to see if anything inside calls to me. Milk, juice and leftovers. Bleh. I just pour myself a cup of ice water and lean against the sink while I hydrate and cool off. Em’s school books are there on the table, along with pens and notebooks. I open the thickest textbook, some anatomy thing, and flip through the pages while sipping my water. That bores me pretty quickly, so I close it and look over at the closest notebook, open to a blank page. And I don’t know why, but I pick up one of the pens and start to doodle.
It seems like only a few seconds pass, but when I set the pen down and look up at the microwave, it’s almost four o’clock. My gaze falls down to the paper and I drop my glass. Thankfully, it falls harmlessly onto the table instead of the floor.
Em’s notebook is covered in the horrifying scrawls of Isabella’s Formalwear. Only they didn’t come from Mister Painter; they came from me. Veiny eyes on each corner, a massive black pyramid, incomprehensible equations, and of course, strange, hulking humanoids all around. Blob-men.
I rip the page out of the notebook, crumple it up and toss it in the trashcan. Then something touches my foot. I cry out and nearly upend the table before I realize it’s just the water I spilled. I calm myself down, then grab a paper towel and mop it up. Kneeling down beneath the table, I start to cry, just a little. I don’t know why. I don’t cry. I’m not a crier. I blot the tears and blow my nose into the paper towel, which I then throw away. The picture taunts me from its place atop the heap. I push it down and bury it under banana peels and old homework assignments, then wash my hands and go back to bed. It’s the nightmare, I tell myself. It must have bothered me more than I thought. I fall asleep angry at my own brain.