Review: Dead Rockstar

Dead Rockstar
By Lillah Lawson

Finished: 10/2/2020

When Stormy decides to do a spell on a record album in a drunken haze,s he has no idea what she’s doing. She never expected the enigmatic rock star heartthrob, Phillip Deville, who had been dead for 20 years, to show up at her door.

What starts as a fun and sexy romp with an amateur necromancer and her hot undead rocker boyfriend turns into a much darker game as they delve deeper into the magic behind the spell. The plot is smart, twisty, fast-paced, and beautifully unpredictable. Stormy and Phillip’s chemistry is undeniable and things definitely heat up.

What I love the most about this book is how fresh and modern the writing is. Stormy is a vegan librarian who drinks on weekends with her BFF. She and her friend talk like real people and it doesn’t feel forced. Author Lilah Lawson has a quick and admirable style with witty dialogue and a pair of heroes who are to die for.

I’m excitedly anticipating the sequel!

My rating: 5/5 stars!

The Last Haunt [Day 3]

Today’s prompt: Membrane

I had fun with this one! I guess it’s because I miss going to haunted houses with my friends all the time. I’m always the terrified one at those things. I promise I meant for this one to be short, but it’s one of the longer ones I’ve done yet at 1,434 words. Holy cow, I need to try to keep these shorter!

This is part of the 31 Days of Art Challenge [#31DaysOfArt2020]. Go check out the tag on Instagram to see all the amazing art being made!

For today I wrote a flash fiction piece titled The Last Haunt. Check it out below!


The car jostled on the gravel road and Kayson grabbed hold of the handle on the ceiling above the car door. Headlights illuminated the windy path ahead along with all the spiderwebs the car plowed through.

“Are you sure we’re going the right way?” he asked as the vehicle bounced from a deep hole in the road.

“Just following where Waze takes me,” Bryan said with a smirk.

“But you’ve been here before, right?” Kayson asked with a small laugh to show he wasn’t nervous, even though he was. He had been dating Bryan for two months and he knew the man loved finding haunted houses, or haunts. Together they had visited almost all of them throughout the month of October, all except this one he found mentioned briefly in one of the many horror magazines he collected.

“Nah, I think this one is new. Might be a haunted hayride or something since it’s so far out here, though.”

They took a right down a dirt path and Kayson could see the empty pasture in the distance, partly hidden in mist. A small farmhouse came into view.

Kayson squinted at it. The place looked like it was from a horror movie. “You sure this is the right spot?”

Bryan pulled the car to a stop and pointed to a small yard sign that was maybe a foot wide. “There we go. It says Fear’s Edge, just like in the ad!”

The sign should have been comforting, but the few vehicles near the farmhouse and the tiny sign that looked like it cost maybe ten bucks to make didn’t encourage him.

Bryan reached over and put a hand on his leg. “Hey, if you don’t like it, we can leave. It’s completely up to you. We can go somewhere else.”

Kayson clenched his teeth and wrapped his fingers around Bryan’s hand, giving a squeeze. “As long as you’re with me, I can get through it. I just don’t have the courage that you do.”

“You’ve come with me this far,” Bryan picked up his hand and kissed his fingers. Kayson felt his cheeks flush. “It’s our last haunt of the year. It’ll be fun, okay?”

“Okay,” Kayson gave a tentative smile.

#

An icy wind blew over the pasture as they stepped out of the car and Kayson zipped up his coat. He looked around at the other three cars parked there, two pickup trucks and a two-door that had seen better days.

“Where do you think we check in?” Bryan asked, stepping confidently toward the small farmhouse.

“I don’t know,” Kayson pulled on his gloves and hurried over to slip an arm around Bryan’s. “Do you think it’s open? There’s hardly anybody here.”

“The night is young!” He cracked a smile. “Nah, this is probably just visitor parking and people haven’t found the turn in yet.”

Kayson pulled on him to slow his pace. “Bryan… it’s almost Halloween. Don’t you think they should be flooded with people right now? This is their prime time.”

His gaze grew stern. “That’s a good point, actually…” He looked like he was almost ready to turn around and get back in the car. Kayson would have kissed him right there if he did.

“Good evening, gentlemen!” A teenage girl with a plucky voice called over to them. She had makeup on to look like a friendly scarecrow and wore a pair of overalls over a red plaid shirt. “Are y’all here for Fear’s Edge?”

Bryan visibly relaxed but Kayson couldn’t There was something off about all of this and he couldn’t explain why. He had almost gotten his boyfriend to turn around without having to admit his terror of the place. If the girl hadn’t come out of nowhere and said something, they would be in the car right now. It wasn’t the first time he had gotten cold feet at a haunt, and he always felt silly for it after it was over.

With a reassuring smile, Bryan headed over to the girl and paid her. She was short but had a big smile as she insisted on cash only. That wasn’t unusual, but this whole place still felt off. The few cars that had parked, the empty field, the lack of any other Halloween decor to even show it was a haunted house, it all felt dangerous.

Finally Bryan returned with two tickets in hand as he swept an arm around Kayson’s waist. “You look scared shitless and we haven’t even gotten inside yet. You okay?”

“I’m trying to be,” he admitted, “But this place gives me the creeps.”

He pecked a kiss on his cheek, warm and soft, and Kayson blushed. “It’s their job to make this place spooky, you know that. It means they’re doing a good job.”

They went around the building to the front door. The wood of the building was old and warped in places. It didn’t look safe, but then again, it wasn’t supposed to look safe, just like Bryan said. He caught the faint scent of mildew in the air and frowned. Maybe not everything in the place was fake.

“Okay, here we are,” Bryans said and pulled away.

“Wait, what are you doing?”

He pointed to the door with a smile. “She said it’s one-at-a-time entry. Unless you want to go first.”

Kayson shook his head in mute terror. “No way. I can’t deal with this place alone.”

“Are you going to wuss out on me again? After we already paid? They don’t do refunds.”

Kayson clenched his jaw. For all his talk of being understanding earlier, this was what it came down to when they were at the front door. Suddenly he was a wuss for being frightened. “Yes, I am.”

His smirk turned to a scowl. “For real?”

“Yes, for real!”

“But this is the last haunt of the year!”

“I don’t care. I am not going in without you.” His eyes filled with tears as another chilly wind blew past.

Bryan watched him for a long moment before sighing. “Alright, hold my hand then. I guess if they try to separate us then—”

“Then I’ll just have to hug you closer.” Kayson said with a warm smile.

Bryan blushed and took the lead up to the farmhouse door, holding tight to Kayson’s hand as he lagged behind. Pushing the door open, it creaked on its hinges, and to Kayson the door seemed to pulse in a strange rhythm like someone had the bass on too loud, but there was no music playing.

Inside it was dark, and Bryan stepped in grinning with excitement. “The effects are amazing. It looks so real!”

He stepped further in, pulling Kayson behind him. It wasn’t just the door that was pulsing, but the entire door frame.

“Bryan?” He asked in a terrified whisper. “I don’t know if—”

Something cold and wet touched his hand. He pulled his hand back on reflex, letting go of Bryan.

“What’s wrong now?” Bryan asked in annoyance. “You need to see this place! It looks almost organic.”

“Bryan!” He called, reaching another hand out and colliding with that same cold wetness. He put his hand on the barrier and saw a light shimmer. It was some kind of clear curtain that covered the doorway. “Oh my god…” he whispered, frozen in shock.

Finally Bryan turned around, his confusion turning to worry. “What’s wrong?”

“I can’t go through,” Kayson muttered as he pressed against the barrier, first gingerly, then with a shove, but it was as if he was pushing against a wall of ice.

The door swung to close, but Kayson was still standing in the doorway. It hit him hard. Blood filled his mouth as his teeth slammed into his inner lip.

“Kayson!” Bryan called.

The door pressed him harder against the barrier, which might as well be solid rock. It was difficult to breathe. Inside he could see the organic room that Bryan had described. A dark red wall with pulsing see-through pipes pumping what looked like blood. A structure on the ceiling that could have been a backbone, and a floor that might have felt like carpet but was living tissue sprinkled with what looked like nerve endings.

They weren’t decorations, Kayson realized as his ribs cracked. It was alive. The whole fucking house was alive and Bryan had walked straight into its belly.

He watched helplessly as Bryan pounded on the barrier, trying to get through, but Kayson knew as his spine snapped and blackness seeped into his vision that the house had far worse plans for Bryan.

END


If you enjoyed this and want to read more, make sure to subscribe to my blog! Just click the Follow button on the side menu (or at the bottom if you’re on mobile).

Feel free to share or leave a comment below about what you thought!

I’ve also got a YA Horror novel coming out at the end of this month called The Seeking that’s been called a mixture of A Quiet Place and Hunger Games. I also have a pre-order giveaway going along with it! If you enjoy my horror flash fiction, be sure to check it out too!

The Maze [Day 2]

Today’s prompt: Winchester

I wasn’t sure if I was going to get this written today! Life has been crazy lately for a number of reasons, but I really want to keep my momentum going cause the challenge just started. This is part of the 31 Days of Art Challenge [#31DaysOfArt2020]. Go check out the tag on Instagram to see all the cool artsy things getting made!

For today I wrote a flash fiction piece titled The Maze. Check it out below!


Got the correct hashtag this time! Haha

Up the stairs, to the right, through the doorway and down another flight of steps. Mary could never remember her way around the damn place. Each hallway looked new, every door the wrong one, and despite her best efforts she couldn’t seem to find the woman who owned the place.

Mary didn’t recall when she came to this place, only that she was here now and the only way to escape was if she found the one responsible. It was a game she didn’t ask to be part of, but was locked in all the same.

She came to a space with three arched doorways before her, and Mary hesitated. Which path did she take? Which would send her on another wild path? Down one hall with a plush crimson rug she saw a man leaning against the wall, an unlit cigarette clenched in his teeth and a dusty Stetson on his head. She ran over to him, so grateful to see another person in this endless maze.

“Hello there!” she cried, but he only glared at her as he clenched his jaw. “You’re lost too?”

He grunted and avoided looking at her.

“I feel like I’ve been wandering for ages,” she gave her kindest smile, but it didn’t shake him. “Have you had any luck finding her?”

His eyes went wide in outrage and Mary could see dried blood glisten on his temple.

“Do you think I’d still be in this hell if I had?”

She unconsciously took a step back. “No, I suppose not.”

“I figure there is no escape from this. That’s the answer. We’ll roam these hallways until we don’t know our right from our left.”

“That can’t be true. There has to be a way out. I don’t belong here.”

He smiled and showed off his yellowed teeth, “Sure you do. You’re here, aren’t you?”

She shook her head and retreated to the archways and take a different path. The man was outrageous.

“It’s no good,” he called after her. “You’ll never find her. You know that.”

Mary balled her fists as she walked down the hall with the blue rug, putting as much distance between her and that coarse man as she could.

Mary refused to stand still and just fade away. She couldn’t listen to him; she knew there was a way out of this. There had to be.

Time passed, she had no idea how long. She had no way to tell time, and she couldn’t recall where she had been and where she hadn’t. Still Mary walked, determined. She refused to give in to his lunacy.

One day she came to a window that let her see the trees again. The sky was a beautiful clear blue and icicles hung from the tree branches, dragging them to the ground. A thin layer of powdery snow covered the ground. She had never seen snow before. It never snowed where she used to live. She looked at the icicles glisten in the beautiful sunlight. She pressed a hand to the glass and felt nothing. It was false, just like the rest of the wretched place.

Stumbling backward, she sat down on a stool and let her tears finally fall. They slipped down her cheeks and between her fingers. She cried for so long that the tears didn’t come any longer, so she wailed instead.

“Come now,” a woman spoke from beside her and Mary turned in surprise. “There’s no need for all that fuss.”

She was an old woman with wispy white hair and dressed all in black. Her skin was frail and pale, like old parchment. She smiled and Mary knew who she was instantly.

“You’re her,” Mary sniffled. “You’re the one who built this place: Mrs. Winchester.”

She beamed, “I am. Though I’ll let you call me Sarah, dear. And I promise there’s no need to be carrying on so.”

“Please, Sarah, you must release me, let me leave. I don’t belong here.”

Her smile hardened. “And what makes you think I’m keeping you?”

“The others, they told me you control us.”

“Others,” Sarah grew pale at her words. “You can see the others then?”

Mary shook her head, “Why does it matter? Please, I beg of you.” She dropped to her knees on the hardwood floor, toppling the stool behind her.

“There’s no need for this! Don’t beg!” A sternness entered the woman’s voice.

Mary reached out, trying to take her hand, but Mary went right through her. Sarah shivered and stuffed her fingers into fox fur muff in her lap.

“I hate that feeling.”

Another sob was coming, Mary felt it, but she pushed it down, knowing that this could be her only chance at freedom and peace.

“Fine,” Sarah snapped, reaching into one of her many pockets. “If you’re going to be so insistent, then I suppose I have no choice.”

She pulled out a vial, smaller than a finger. Inside, Mary saw a lock of her own red hair and a red ribbon she had worn the day she died.

“I’ve had you for a while anyway,” she said as she uncorked the vial.

Mary felt a lightness filling her, bright and more beautiful than anything she had felt before. “Thank you so much! You truly are a kind soul.”

Sarah shrugged, “Don’t be too hasty, child. I’ll just have to find someone to replace you.”

Mary gasped but couldn’t form words as the brilliant light enveloped her.

END


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The Scab [Day 1]

Hey folks, it’s October, one of my favorite times of the year! I get to embrace all the horror that I love so much. To celebrate, I’m taking part in a fun challenge this month hosted by my friend Lynne Hansen titled: 31 Days of Art Challenge 2020 (#31DaysofArt2020). One of the things I love about this challenge is that it can be applied to anything: poetry, flash fiction, photography, cosplay — you name it, somebody is trying it!

For today I wrote a flash fiction piece titled The Scab. Check it out below!

Warnings for gore and lots of swearing! Let’s just say I had a good time writing this one!


The scabbed wound was long, running up her forearm and ending at her elbow. If she hadn’t caught sight of it as she stepped out of the shower, she never would have known it was there. Verna dragged damp fingers over the jagged line, probing it. Her skin puffed up around it, but it didn’t hurt at all.

“What the fuck did I do to myself?” Her mind poured over every fumble, trip, and bump over the last few days. None of it could explain the black scab that ran up her forearm like a jagged bit of charcoal on her pasty skin.

Mesmerized by the strange wound, she reached down to scratch at the bottom near the dry skin of her elbow. But then her phone buzzed. That was her thirty-minute warning alarm. She was going to be late for work… again.

“Shit!” She pulled on her long-sleeved cardigan over a camisole and yanked on her dress pants. She would have to worry about it later.

#

Late to work and late to leave meant it was dark by the time Verna stepped through the front door of her tiny two-story home. Her orange tabby cat, Oliver, was at her feet in an instant.

“What the heck is up with you?” She asked, bone tired from the day, before realizing she was in such a hurry earlier she forgot to feed him.

“I’m sorry, Olls.” She dropped her purse near the front door and took off her shoes as she walked. The bra was the next to go, hung on the handle of the closet as she made her way into the kitchen. She normally was far more careful and organized. She hated making a mess, so she knew in the back of her mind how unusual this was, but she couldn’t help it. Work had drained her far more than normal.

She opened a can of cat food without even bothering to put it into Oliver’s bowl. The cat looked confused as she placed the can on the ground near the normal food bowls, the jagged lid sticking up from the can.

“Here you go, handsome.”

He trotted over, intent on his food, then froze. Instead of going for the cat food, Oliver sniffed her arm, right where the strange scar hid beneath her sleeve. His eyes went wide as he arched his back up.

“Olls, what’s gotten into you?”

Oliver screeched and swiped at her arm. She felt pain spread out just above her wrist and hissed in a breath, pulling her hand away in an instant. Oliver ran off, completely ignoring the fresh cat food.

“Damn it, Oliver, I don’t need your bullshit tonight!” She pulled up her sleeve to see three claw marks crossing the strange scar and slowly puffing up and blossoming with blood. With more cursing, she mounted the stairs and pulled off the cardigan. She pulled out some cotton swabs, alcohol, and Neosporin. It wasn’t the first time Oliver had scratched her, but that wasn’t like him at all. He was a very food motivated cat and a lap cat. He never intentionally attacked her. Would she need to take him to the vet? Get him checked out? Or was he just being a weird, hungry cat?

She turned to the mirror, alcohol soaked cotton swab in hand, and froze. Blood seeped out from the claw marks Oliver had left, except where he had clawed the scar. It bled black and slow, like a thick batch of syrupy coffee. She blotted it with the cotton and pulled it back to see blood with a thick splotch of black in the middle.

Her heart began throbbing in her ears. Instead of tackling the cat scratch, she worked on the scar, picking away at the scab inch by inch, using the mirror to see. As she went, black syrupy tendrils of gunk slid down her arm and dribbled into the sink. The scar didn’t end at her elbow like it had that morning, it went up her bicep, over her shoulder, and up her neck.

Verna had to get the black stuff out of her. She had to stop it from spreading farther. Even as she worked, picking off each scab, she saw the scab moving up her neck, creeping toward her jawline.

It didn’t hurt. It didn’t make her bleed, but she knew that if she didn’t stop it, she didn’t know what it would do. If it reached her brain, it might even kill her.

Finally, she reached the end. Even though the black sludge covered her and smelled terrible, she smiled as she yanked off the final bit of scab.

The pain was excruciating, and the scab didn’t come off as easily as the rest had. She adjusted her grip and pulled harder. It was attached to something bigger. Slowly as she pulled she saw the rest of it emerge from the places where she had removed the scab. It was an oily worm that was the color of a leech, and it didn’t seem to end. She pulled on it more and more, moving down her neck, across her shoulder, and down her bicep. Blood poured out of the wound as she removed its wriggling, slippery body from her skin.

She finally had all of it wrapped around her hand, and she did the first thing she thought of: she flung it into the sink and turned on the hot water. It was trying to get away, to climb back into its cocoon, back to its host, but she wouldn’t let it. She grabbed a makeup brush and shoved it into the drain, pushing and breaking its fragile body, but that made it thrash more.

She started crying, feeling fat tears go down her cheeks as her heart thundered in her chest. The makeup brush was slippery in her hands from the gunk and her own blood. Could she even kill the thing? What if it got back inside her again?

Oliver pounced up on the countertop before she even noticed he was there, and he hissed at the worm. It shuddered, then dove into the drain, far faster than Verna realized it could move. She pulled the drain closed, crying, and whimpering at the pain that tore through her.

With a purr, Oliver nuzzled her good arm, careful not to touch the blood or the gunk.

“You’re a good boy, Olls,” she whispered, trying to catch her breath. “You saved Mom today, you know that?”

Oliver gave her a look like: “Damn right I did.”

END


If you enjoyed this and want to read more, make sure to subscribe to my blog! Just click the Follow button on the side menu (or at the bottom if you’re on mobile). I’m planning on posting the short pieces here on my blog every day. I’m definitely aiming to create mostly horror stories this month just cause short and flash fiction format is so perfect for it!

Feel free to share or leave a comment below about what you thought!

The Terror of Glaciers

Photo by Jonatan Pie on Unsplash

So I realized that this is slowly becoming a series on my blog because I really like finding horror in everyday places, and sometimes not-so-everyday ones. I’ve tackled creepy corridors and the dread of the ocean, and I think now that this makes three entries I figured it needed a name. So this is now called the Everyday Fear series, where I tackle this topic and take requests for more areas to explore. Whether it’s something simple like an architecture design or a part of the natural world, I enjoy getting to research and explore the creepy factor!

For this next entry in the Everyday Fear series, I had a fantastic recommendation last week from Priscilla Bettis. (She recently had a horror short story picked up! You should totally go give her blog some love!) She recommended I tackle a location that she herself found frightening, the inside of a glacier.

Now if you’re new to my blog, you may not be familiar with this, but I am a huge wildlife and nature buff. I love watching nature documentaries so my brain is jam packed full of weird little tidbits about nature and unique places around the world.

First, a little bit first about glaciers. They are huge slabs of ice that are partially visible but are mostly submerged underwater. They are also constantly shifting and moving, so you can often hear the movements of the glacier while inside of it. When a glacier calves it can be enormous and incredibly destructive. Here is a short video called “Chasing Ice”, the largest glacier calving ever caught on film.

Chasing Ice: The largest glacier calving ever recorded.

I’ve never been inside of a glacier, but I have been inside of a cave before in a visit to Tennessee’s The Lost Sea. There’s always that fear in the back of your mind that the cavern will cave in. There’s always that fear of how much weight is hanging over your head, and what could cause it to collapse. Being in a glacier where you’re hearing the ice moving and buckling the entire time you’re inside of it, knowing that something as simple as a temperature change could cause it crashing down on you, can be absolutely terrifying.

Now, after everything I’ve said, would you believe that there are glacier climbers as well? They have to be very careful about which glaciers they climb since choosing one that is close to melting or one that is calving would be super dangerous. It’s risky because science can’t completely guarantee that the glacier won’t collapse.

Dani Arnold climbs out of a glacier

What places would you like me to tackle next in this series? Have you been somewhere and felt a little voice in the back of your mind whisper those little words: “What if…”? Share them below and I might include it next!