Category Archives: Halloween

Carcass at The Flash Fiction Offensive

FFO BADGE 2017OUT OF THE GUTTER ONLINE’S FLASH FICTION OFFENSIVE have kicked off their GUTTERAL SCREAMS series of  Halloween yarns with a slice of Punk Fiction from me called CARCASS.

Ava drove her battered, old Ford Escort to the edge of the forest and parked beneath a pine tree. As she sat and watched the autumn rain batter the windscreen, she listened to the Siouxsie and The Banshees CD that Martin had given her for her birthday’

You can read the rest HERE.

Advertisements

13 Shots Of Noir only 69c!

Out Now: 13 Shots Of Noir by Paul D BrazillAs part of UNTREED READS‘ Halloween sale,  my flash fiction collection  13 SHOTS OF NOIR is only 69c for the next couple of days.

Grab it here.

And check out the rest of the sale.

30% OFF All Mysteries
Up to 50% Off Paperbacks, Hardcovers and Large Print
Prefer a printed book to keep you grounded in the mortal realm? We’ve got a great selection of paperbacks, hardcovers and large print titles at prices so good…they’re scary!’

 

#FRIDAY FLASH: THUMP!

THUMP.

 

There.

 

THUMP.

 

There it is again.

 

THUMP.

 

I told you. No, shh. Listen . . .

 

THUMP.

 

Did you hear? Listen. No ….

 

THUMP. THUMP. THUMP.

 

There! You must have heard that!

 

THUMP.

 

See, I told you but you didn’t believe me, did you? She’s down there.

 

Of course I’m sure it’s her.

 

What do you mean?

 

Eh?

 

It stands to reason doesn’t it? When was the last time you saw her, eh?

 

THUMP.

 

See, what I reckon is … Shhh! Toby’s coming back. Neck that and let’s get a couple more pints in while he’s here.

 

How’s the match, Toby? Aye… Aye. Well there’s still time ,eh? Game of two halves and all that.

 

Yeah a couple more pints of Nelson please Toby … Ta.

 

Many in the other room? Oh, aye, him. Well he’s attached to the place like it’s an umbilical cord, eh? Tight as a gnats twat, though, eh?

 

Ta much.

 

Good CD this. Love a bit of Simple Minds, me. Could you turn it up a bit before you go back, Toby. Ta.

 

Aye, pain in the arse having to go outside for a cig but what can we do eh? The law’s the law.

 

Oh, ey Toby. Keith here was asking after your Lisa. Said he hasn’t seen her for a bit. I said a bit of what? Ha, ha …

 

Ey, ey, ey!

 

Ey, only joking mate. Sorry! No offence. Just making conversation, like.

 

Aye.

 

She still in Jockland then?

 

Aye, well as long as she’s alight then. Yeah. Yeah.

 

Aye.

 

Aye.

 

Aye, we’ll give you a shout if anyone comes in.

 

Right.

 

Shh. . . Wait . . .

 

Right.

 

THUMP.

 

See. Told you. It’s her, Keith.

 

It is.

 

Think about it. She was always hanging around here in them jeans so tight you could read her lips. You could see Toby’s face when anyone tried chatting her up.

 

Aye, only natural. But you know, the little green – eyed idol and that …

 

What? But she hasn’t been in for …

 

… Yeah, I know. I know he said she’s off with her aunt in Scotland but it’s not what I heard.  I heard she was banging that Gypsy bloke that was sniffing around her and .. .

 

Yeah, I know. Only sixteen, but old enough to bleed old enough to breed, eh?

 

THUMP. THUMP.

 

Now you must have heard that?

 

See, that Gypsy bloke, you remember him, all gold, tattoos and hairy arms? Aye. Pentagon medallion dangling round his neck.

 

That’s the lad….

 

Shhh … Ahh, Don’t You Forget About Me… this is the stuff… Simple Minds biggest hit, you know? Broke them in the US of A …

 

Yeah, well Toby was ever so protective, eh? That lad must have been forty if he was a day…

 

May to December relationships, eh? Call it what you want Keith, I doubt Toby was too impressed. They reckon he covered Lisa’s neck with some nasty love bites … Yeah, she was smitten and that. Walking around like she was hypnotised. Spaced out, like…

 

Nah, doubt she touches the wacky backy, all fitness and health and safety, her.

 

Anyway,  I reckon that he’s got her down there like that Fritz bloke in Austria. Remember him? Had his young un locked up in the basement for donkeys years?

 

Probably banging her himself. Can’t say I blame him, mind you …ey, ey, no need for you to get all touchy as well … only a bit of a …

 

What? Go where? The filth? Grass him up?

 

Not on your nelly, Keith. I’m many things but I am not a grass. Anyway, I think they’re still looking for me for that B&E at the gas works. Nah, you see, I’ve  got a  …

 

Hold on … Wait for the next song to start. . .

 

THUMP.

 

See?

 

THUMP.

 

See?

 

Ahh, Promised You A Miracle. Love this one. Classic.

 

Naw, my plan is to get down there after he closes up the pub and see if she’s there, just to be certain, like …. yeah, I’m sure she is … and then phone the press…

 

The papers!

 

You know, The Mirror, The Sun, News Of The Screws and that … and get them down here when we set her free. I reckon we could make a fortune selling the story. Telly. Book deal. Films. The lot, Keith. The lot.

 

What? The lock? Do you know who you’re talking, to Keith?

 

Piece of piss. Easy peasey, Japenesey. We get in through those double cellar doors at the back of the pub. The ones that the brewery use to deliver the booze.

 

Yes!

 

He’s only got a daft padlock on there, I can pick that in no time, you know that.

 

Yeah, we’ll do it tomorrow might after he closes up.

 

* * *

 

You tosser. I can’t …

 

Of course we need a friggin torch. I left me night vision goggles at home … nah, that was a joke, Keith. Honestly some people …

 

Well, at least we’ve got that full moon dangling  there. Should give us a bit of light …

 

A what? A gibbons moon? If you like, Keith, if you like…

 

Right, now slowly, slowly  .. shh, don’t wannna frighten .. . Jeesus, you reek. How many slices of that garlic bread did you tuck into?

 

Nah, can’t stand the stuff. Don’t like foriegn food, do I?

 

Right here we go. Steady on the ladders. Soon as we see her we phone Col at The Gazette.

 

THUMP.

 

What was that?

 

THUMP.

 

Ehh? Sounded like a bird flapping around?

 

THUMP.

 

… yeah … maybe a scream … sure of … Yeah, I can see it.

 

THUMP.

 

Hold on, it’s landed in the corner… who the …?

 

Nahh, it’s her. It’s Lisa… well of course it’s her.

Alright, Lisa love, only  me and Keith … eh up!

 

Lisa, love, don’t you think you should get some clobber on? Eh, Lisa? Bit nippy down here for …

 

Ey, you’re eyes don’t half look red … What the fu… Lisa, no offence, normally I’d love a snog but …

 

THUMP. THUMP. THUMP.

 

Ey, Keith, where the fuck are you scarpering to? Get your neck back here …

 

Aw jeez, Lisa! No … please!

 

THUMP. THUMP. THUMP.

 

Aaaaaaah!

 

THUMP.

 

THUMP. THUMP. THUMP.

 

THUMP.

(THUMP! first appeared at Thrillers, Killers N Chillers)

A (Halloween) Story For Sunday: The Endless Sleep by Paul D. Brazill

ONE

Anita watches the dowdy girl shuffle through the group of smartly dressed young men, carrying a big green bag and dragging her club foot behind her.

The girl struggles onto the bar stool, making sure that her lank, brown hair hangs down to cover her scars. She vainly tries  to attract the attention of the barman, who is flirting with a beautiful waitress. And then the dowdy girl ties back her hair to reveal the scars that lattice her face and the barman rushes towards her with disgust and fear in his eyes.

Anita feels a shiver rip through her as the dowdy girl smiles. She turns and sees the red faced and red haired man in the expensive suit tumble out of the toilet toward a group of Heehaws. She listens  as they talk about cars and houses and making a killing in The City.  She hears them laugh about the  Ukrainian whore they’d used like a toy, like a blow up doll. They  say they’d covered  her with mayonnaise and pushed her out of the ginger one’s limousine, leaving  her naked in the street.

Anita listens to them talk and bray. She hears them draw straws to find out who is going to try and pork the pig in the corner. The cripple that looks like Frankenstein’s daughter.

Anita watches. She listens. But does nothing. She supposes that’s what ghosts do. That the dead bear witness.

A white flash.

Anita is outside the ginger one’s car.  The car park is deserted except  for the limousine. She can’t remember getting there. She never can. It’s like a dream. Except Anita knows that this is real. She doesn’t sleep anymore. She is always awake. Always.
She sees the dowdy girl in the back seat of the car.  On her knees between the ginger man’s legs.

She  hears him abuse her, threaten her.

And then she sees the knife in the girl’s hand and hears the ginger man scream. The snow starts to fall like confetti  and the dowdy girl giggles like a child.

TWO

It’s spring.  There’s blossom on the trees.  It reminds Anita of Japan.  Singing in the karaoke bar with the Japanese rock star.  The nights that never ended.

The dowdy girl is outside a bookshop. Anita sees her tie back her hair, pick up her bag and walk in.

A white flash.

Inside  the shop. The clink of wine glasses. Chatter. Laughter.

The dowdy girl is talking to a suntanned, handsome man. A  writer.  He is telling stories, anecdotes. Laughing at himself. The audience- mostly women- laugh too. The dowdy girl asks a question. The writer laughs. They all laugh.

A white flash.

A hotel  room. The writer is drunk. He sits on the bed with his shoes in his hands. The dowdy girl is next to him. He says:  I really don’t mind the scars. She grins. He lays back. Closes  his eyes. She takes the knife from her bag.

Anita feels cold.

THREE

A suburban  house. Suburban  street.  People are   having barbecues on their lawn. Sunbathing. The man and woman  drive away in the big black car.  They shout: be good. The teenage boy and girl, twins, smile at their parents and then turn and glare at the babysitter. The  dowdy girl.

A white  flash.

The twins are laughing at the dowdy girl. Making  ugly faces.  Mimicking  her limp.

They go upstairs. Screeching  with laughter. The dowdy girl takes a CD from her bag. Puts it on.

She takes a revolver from her coat as the song plays.

Robert Gordon. ‘The Endless Sleep.’

Anita feels frozen. And she wonders if the dowdy girl knows that  she is there. Watching.  This  girl with the limp. With the scars.

This girl. Her daughter.

The girl that she had  tried to drown in the bath one drunken, drug fuelled night. The girl Anita had always  blamed for  men leaving.  For her career ending. For her life collapsing.

The girl that took revenge on her mother in a Phoenix hotel room. Threw  her over the balcony. Broke  her neck . And toppled after her.

A white  flash.

A bedroom.  Messy.  Posters on the wall. Beer cans.

The song plays down stairs.Over and over again.

The twins are cowering on the bed. Screaming. The dowdy girl is smiling. Pointing the gun.

And again, Anita bears witness.

(c) Paul D. Brazill

The Endless Sleep previously appeared at Flashes In The Dark

Halloween Read: 3 Shots Of The Dark Stuff

cropped-cropped-kasianor1a.jpgSince it’s Halloween, here’s a drabble and some micro/ flash fiction for your delectation …

Swamplands

Elvis awoke in a cold, dank sweat, hungover from bourbon and bad dreams. The nightmares had consisted of him being hunted through a swamp by the murderous spectre of Jesse, his stillborn twin. His pounding heartbeat seemed to echo through the mansion. He stumbled into the bathroom, splashed cold water on his face and looked in the mirror, only to be confronted by his own ashen reflection and that of his grinning doppelganger. Jesse tightly wrapped the umbilical cord around Elvis’ throat and pulled it until his brother breathed no more. The king is dead, long live the king, he muttered.

The End.

The Return Of The Tingler

As the bright spring afternoon melted into evening, Dr Shearing’s office grew darker. As did Lee Madison’s thoughts.

“13 Ghosts?” said Dr Shearing. He pulled sharply at his shirt cuffs. “I can’t say that I’m familiar with that particular film, or Mr William Castle’s oeuvre as a director, to be honest.”

Lee Madison cringed as Shearing spoke. The psychiatrist whistled when he pronounced the letter‘s’ and the sound almost perforated Lee’s ear drums.

“Oh it was massively popular at the time. There was even a remake a while back,” said Lee. “All flash-trash and CGI, though.”

The egg stain on Dr Shearing’s paisley tie had distracted Lee so much he’d had to turn away to look at the silent television in the corner of the room. Images of corn fields rolled across the screen.

“But The Tingler was his most famous film,” continued Lee. “He set up a gadget in the cinema seats that gave people little electric shocks when The Tingler appeared on the screen,” He turned to Shearing and grinned, beaming.

“A monster that lives on fear, you say? Quite clever actually,” said Dr Shearing, who was sweating even more than usual. “A slightly Freudian shadow cast, eh?”

He took his ballpoint pen and scribbled on a yellow post-it-note that he then stuck inside his worn brown briefcase. He clicked the briefcase closed and looked at Lee.

“So, you said you were about seven when your own particular ‘Tingler’ appeared?”

Lee nodded to himself. Glanced at Shearing.

“I think so. We were on a school day out. I was running down the side of a cliff with a group of other kids when I started to panic. Imagined myself crashing down to the ground below. My head smashed to pieces. And then the panic took control of me. So, I decided to see what would happen if I just let myself fall.”

“And?”

“Everything went black and red. I came to near a swimming pool and a teacher was shouting at me while she bathed my face in chlorine stinking water. I was off school for weeks. Never really got into the habit of going to school after that, to be honest.”

“And The Tingle returned when?”

“Off and on. When I saw the school bus turn the corner, for example. I just wanted to throw myself under it. Or if I saw a sharp knife, I felt the urge to run it across my tongue.”

Shearing repressed a grimace.

“And when did this stop?”

“Well, it didn’t. It got worse when I was a teenager. The Tingler was like a cowl wrapping itself around my head. Smothering my brain. My thoughts.”

“And nothing could stop it? Ease it?”

“Sex took the edge off for a while. But that didn’t last long.”

“So, that is when you started drinking?”

“Yes, the booze helped. And then the drugs.”

“But …”

“Their affects wore off pretty quickly. And then, one night, just after Christmas, I was walking down a path, late at night. It was freezing. I saw an old man shuffling in front of me. Almost slipping over on the ice. In a flash, I realised that I could just kill him. And it wouldn’t matter. No one would know. I could get away with it without a problem. The Tingler almost strangled me.”

“And.”

“And so I picked up a brick, ran up to him and smashed his head to pieces like a soft boiled egg.”

Shearing gulped. His mouth arid.

“And what happened to The Tingler after that,” said Shearing, looking uncomfortable.

“It was gone for quite a long time after that. But, it was always lurking somewhere in the back of my mind. Of course, it crept further forward. Until eventually it was at the front of my brain.”

“And now?”

“A singular truth, Doctor. There truly are no consequences.”

Lee swept up a pencil and stabbed it into Dr Shearing’s eye. Again and again. Pushing it up toward his brain.

And The Tingler slipped away from his body like a shadow during night time. Only waiting for the break of dawn.

The End.

The Tut

After enduring forty-five years of a marriage that was, at best, like wading through treacle, Oliver Robinson eventually had enough and smothered his wife with the beige corduroy cushion that he’d accidentally burned with a cigarette two fraught days before.

Oliver had been, for most of his life, a temperate man and he had survived the sexless marriage – its colourless cuisine and half-hearted holidays – with a stoicism that bordered on indifference. But his patience had been stretched to the breaking point by Gloria’s constant disapproval of almost everything he did.

And then there was the “tut.”

The tut invariably accompanied Gloria’s scowl whenever Oliver poured himself an evening drink or smoked a cigarette. She would tut loudly if he spilled the salt. Or swore. Or stayed up late to watch the snooker. The tut, tut, tut was like the rattle of a machine gun that seemed to echo through their West London home from dusk till dawn until he reached the end of his tether.

Wrapping his wife’s body in the fluffy white bedroom rug, Oliver supposed that he should have felt guilty, depressed or scared – but he didn’t. Far from it. In fact, he felt as free and as light as a multi-coloured helium balloon that had been set adrift to float above a brightly lit fun fair.

Oliver fastened the rug with gaffer tape and dragged the corpse down the steps to the basement. As the head bounced from every step, it made a sound not unlike a tut and he had to fight the urge to say sorry.

He’d done enough apologising.

***

Oliver poured himself a whisky – at eight o’clock in the morning! – and it tasted better than any whisky he had ever tasted before. Looking around his antiseptic home, the sofa still wrapped in the plastic coating that it came in, he smiled.

Savouring the silence, he resisted the temptation to clean Gloria’s puke from the scarred cushion that had been the catalyst of her death. Taking a Marlboro full strength from the secret supply that was hidden in a hollowed-out hardback copy of Jaws – Gloria didn’t approve of fiction and would never have found the stash there – he proceeded to burn holes in every cushion in the house.

And then he started on the sofa.

Oliver’s brief burst of pyromania was interrupted when he thought he heard a tut, tut, tut from the hallway. His heart seemed to skip a beat or two, but then he gave a relieved laugh when it was just the sound of the letter box, flapping in the wind.

***

Disposal of Gloria’s body proved much easier than Oliver would have expected. On a bright Sunday morning in April he hauled Gloria’s corpse into the back of his car, keeping an eye out for nosy neighbours, and drove towards Jed Bramble’s rundown farm, and the village of Innersmouth.

Jed was an old school friend and fellow Territorial Army member whom Oliver occasionally used to meet for a sly drink in the Innersmouth Arms’ smoky, pokey snug. He was also a phenomenal lush. The plan was to get him comatose and then feed Gloria’s body to his pigs. Oliver knew the farm was on its last legs, along with most of the livestock, so he felt sure that the poor emaciated creatures would be more than happy to tuck in to Gloria’s cadaver.

Perched on the passenger seat Oliver had a Sainsbury’s bag stuffed with six bottles of Grant’s Whisky. Just in case, he had a bottle of diazepam in his pocket, which he’d used to drug Gloria.

Just outside Innersmouth it started to rain. Tut, tut went the rain on the windscreen. At first it was only a shower but then it fell down in sheets. Tut, tut, tut, tut, tut.

Oliver switched on the windscreen wipers but every swish seemed to be replaced by a tut. He opened up a bottle of whisky and drank until the rain resumed sounding like rain.

Outside the dilapidated farmhouse, Jed stood with a rifle over his arm, looking more than a little weather-beaten himself. His straggly hair was long and greasy and his red eyes lit up like Xmas tree lights when he saw Oliver’s booze.

***

The cold Monday morning air tasted like tin to Oliver as, hungover and wheezing, he pulled Gloria’s body from the car and dumped it in the big sty. The starving wretches took to their meal with relish. Watching, Oliver vomited, but he didn’t try to stop the proceedings.

Back at the farmhouse Jed was still slumped over the kitchen table, snoring heavily. Oliver collapsed into a battered armchair and started to sweat and shake. He’d decided to stay with Jed for a few days, keeping him safely inebriated until Gloria’s remains were completely consumed. But as the days grew dark the tut returned.

The tick tock of Jed’s grandfather clock, for instance, was replaced by a tut, tut. The drip, drip, drip of the leaking tap kept him awake at night and became a tut, tut, tut. The postman’s bright and breezy rat-a-tat-tat on the front door seemed to pull the fillings right from his teeth. He turned on the radio but even Bob Dylan was tut, tut, tutting on heaven’s door.

***

The usually bustling Innersmouth High Street was almost deserted now. The majority of the local people were cowering indoors – in shops, pubs, fast food joints. Oliver walked down the street with Jed’s rifle over his shoulder. No matter how many people he shot he still couldn’t seem to escape the sound of Gloria’s disapprobation.

Tut went the gun when he shot the postman.

Tut, tut when he pressed the trigger and blew Harry the milkman’s brains out.

Tut, tut, tut when he blasted fat PC Thompson to smithereens as he attempted to escape by climbing over the infant school wall.

Oliver heard the sirens of approaching police cars in the distance and realised there was only one thing left to do.

Pushing the gun into his mouth he squeezed the trigger.

The last sound that he heard was a resounding TUT!

The End.

(c) Paul D. Brazill 

These yarns first appeared online at Flashshots, Shotgun Honey and Beat To A Pulp respectively.Pic (fragment) (c) Kasia Martell. 

My Town Monday -Hartlepool – THE HAUNTED ANCIENT HEADLAND


Hartlepool Headland is haunted. Everyone knows that. My brother Brian even discussed the matter on television after experiencing a haunting in…a pub. Ahem.

The pub in question is The Cosmopolitan Hotel and it is now part of a Ghost Tour.

The tour’s official website talks about the tunnel beneath the pub:

‘The Tunnel area has now been blocked off with a door as staff are too terrified to venture near it. Its got a wicked reputation since activity started back in the 70’s, at least this is on the record. All starting after alterations and the cellars were renovated. Worked stopped and its half finished as workmen refused to carry on near the tunnels.’

Scary? It was for my brother whose boss spotted the TV interview and wondered what he was doing in the pub in the afternoon instead of working!