Author: Stephanie Ellis

Serial Killers: Single and Looking (Part 3) by Joseph P. Hutchinson

Serial Killers are part of our Trembling With Fear line and are serialized stories which we’ll be publishing on an ongoing basis.

(Part 3)

Now out in the cool breeze of the lake side night, Samantha pulls the headphones over her ears while she pulls out her phone. After flicking the enabling switch connecting the device back to her phone, Samantha scrolls through her library to a playlist. Smiling, she taps play on the song and stuffs the phone in her pocket. Her eyes linger on the receipt, as if it is the key to the universe’s secrets as the first cords of the song kicks in. Samantha walks in time with the beat of the music, disappearing into the night to prepare for the hunt and kill ahead of her. 

With the shredding guitar intro of the music resounding off of her eardrums filling her spirit with renewed vigor, she takes each stride down the concrete path with her motley crew accompanying Samantha. Marilyn and Gabrielle show the definition of childhood by engaging in a game of tag. Trevor walks by Samantha’s side, his little legs not slowing him down oddly enough, playing with his toy Yo-Yo on the walk. Her eyes survey the activities of her cartoon children as her mind ignores the odd stares of passing denizens of the city. Samantha walks to the music in her headphones, taking wide turns at corners and nearly knocking into people without so much as a feigned apology.

The blocks melt together as she gets closer to the studio apartment she found from Air B&B. Samantha’s curved body flowing to the chorus pounding in her ears. A smile on her face joins her hands dancing over her body while she waits for the light turn green. The traffic signal changes to allow the completion of her journey. Pedestrians move on their way after staring at the strange woman feeling herself on a public street corner. But Samantha and her brood’s attention is not concerned with the allowance of avoiding a jay walking ticket.

Trevor was the first one to spot him, just as he released his Yo-Yo for a trick spin. The painted wooden piece of the toy spins as if stuck in space time with his eyes locked on the odd man from the diner. The group exchange looks of analysis; each appraising the situation in an unspoken conversation they all agree upon. The pack turns in unison as the walk signal begins to flash “DON’T WALK”, heading with soft but haste filled steps after this silly little man.

“You know he lives alone, but the question is how stocked up does he keep his cleaning supplies,” Marilyn asks.

“Well we do have a pair of disposable gloves in our back right pocket. Plus that pretty 8 inch Kershaw in our jacket pocket,” retorts Gabrielle.

“Well he has to live alone. No one would let their loved one go out looking like THAT in public,” Marilyn replies.

The gap between Samantha’s troupe and the odd little man has closed to a block now. He keeps walking at his steady pace, no clue of the menace creeping up behind him; planning his doom.

“He’s gotta have garbage bags and we don’t really need a saw to dismember him,” Gabrielle states as she swings around a street sign pole with a smile, “We spent enough time sharpening that knife to avoid that headache…AGAIN.” 

“Which means…”Marilyn states as she looks to Gabrielle with a smile.

“He just needs to live alone. He just needs to live alone. He just needs to live alone. He just needs to live alone,” Marilyn and Gabrielle sing as they dance around Trevor and Samantha who continue to walk towards their prey. 

The night has grown quiet as the hunt has turned off of the bar and restaurant filled streets into the period homes with their modern facelifts. The odd little man shifts his load, fishing out a set of keys from his pants pocket. 

The street lights reflect off of his bald head like a mirror. His neck swivels almost like a rodent, always on alert for a predator that might be lurking around the next corner while remaining oblivious to the danger less than a hundred feet behind. Samantha smiles to herself as her brain runs through the possible scenarios that await the pending revelation of the small detail of her target living alone; each step fueling the adrenaline pumping her heart to almost its strain. 

Had it been that long since I truly let myself go play? The simple sentence floated into Samantha’s mind with such ease and caused such a profound distraction that if it wasn’t for Trevor grabbing her hand, Samantha would have walked into the back of the strange little man she was following. He had stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and was checking his phone. Samantha used all of her agility to dodge his lump of a form and slip past him, not even showing an acknowledgement of his existence. 

“He lied again. He told me Thursday and I got her for him Thursday. I can’t keep her,” the man mumbles while Samantha passes him. 

The huntress reaches the end of the block and turns east toward Lake Michigan, catching a sideline glance at the strange man walking up the stairs of his home. Samantha glances around her surroundings, notices she is alone and runs into the block’s alley with the grace of a cheetah and equally as quiet. Each stride of her muscular leg lands with absolute certainty and silence, reaching the man’s neighbor’s garage, watching him fumble with his keys to find the right one.

The duplex had a sign out front advertising vacancy in the upper property, leaving his home to be the lower. Frustration over whelms the prey. He places his load on the ground, a couple plastic bags now joining his large brown bag of take out. 

“No cameras in the backyard and the bulbs are missing on the motion light,” Gabrielle states.

“No dog droppings either or signs of a recent cleaning up of them,” chimes in Marilyn, “I bet its his short fat fingers that are preventing his egress into his shit shack.”

“What was with that mumbling while he was texting? Dude just begs to be chopped up and left in pieces around the city,” Gabrielle replies.

“It’s not like we can use the waterfronts anymore,” Marilyn states while looking at Gabrielle with an accusing stare,” Thanks to SOMEONE’s lack of following protocol.”

“How was I supposed to know that a homeless lady decided to sleep next to our dump spot,” Gabrielle asks in the most defensive of defensive tones.

“Um…rule #16 ‘Preparation is the key to avoiding detection.’ That’s how,” Marilyn retorts.

“And what do you call this,” Gabrielle chides while pointing at the odd little man.

He has successfully gotten his key into the lock and now struggles with opening the old lock. The odd little man pushes and pulls on the antique door trying to get the correct combination of pressure and pushing to open the portal. Samantha and Trevor keep their gaze locked on to the odd little man as Marilyn and Gabrielle begin to fight, their audio muted for focus. Samantha’s hands have now applied the plastic gloves she keeps in her back pocket and the knife is now in her hand, blade folded.

After what seems like an eternity, the little man finally is successful in opening the door. He pushes it open, leaving the key in the lock and collects his purchases. With his free hand the odd little man struggles to free the key from the lock, cussing softly to himself with every failed attempt.

“I call this proving I am not old and rusty,” Samantha states as she and Trevor move with purpose towards the odd little man.

#

Marilyn and Gabrielle notice the pair moving into attack and scamper behind to catch up. Samantha reaches her prey as he pulls the key free from the lock and steps into the doorway. Before he can turn around, she drives the handle of her against the base of skull with a sickening thud. The keys and his bags fall to the floor of the interior hallway and his hands begin to reach for the site of the strike. His hands reach their goal and the odd little man groans in pain as he pulls one of his hands back to check for blood. His head turns to see who or what hit him, but Samantha grabs the hair on the back of his head and drives his face in the heavy oak door to his house. 

Blood flies as the blow breaks his orbital bones and nose, knocking the odd little man unconscious, his body falling to the floor like a wet sock. Samantha looks down at her achievement, pride gripping her face at her use of stealth and force perfectly. 

“Well, let’s get this party started now,” Gabrielle chimes in as she looks down at the odd little man with the rest of her group. 

Samantha sticks her head out of door slightly, checking to make sure that the noise from her attack had not drawn any unwanted attention. Pleased in herself for remaining undetected by the possible neighbors, Samantha pushes the heavy door closed and latches it closed on the inside.

The odd little man finally begins to wake up, finding that he is tied to a chair in the cluttered space that once was his living room. Through his good eye, the left one, he scans his surroundings while panic and terror grip his senses. He is sitting naked and upright in a padded wooden chair from his dining room on a few sheets of plastic with bungee cords wrapped around his body. He tries to scream but the odd little man finds that he is gagged by what tastes like dirty socks. The flavors run down his throat and cause him to start choking a little bit. Looking up he notices that the only light on is the old chandelier light hanging above him. 

The approaching of footsteps creaking on the old floor boards of the nearly hundred year old house draws his attention to the attached room, what would be considered a sitting parlor in days of old. The brightly lit room shoots a shadow of the approaching figure that turns the corner, which the odd little man could have sworn was joined by 3 children but it must just have been the lights and his fear playing with the shadows.

Into the living walks the most beautiful female form the odd little man had ever seen. Her naked dark brown skin was wrapped in sheets of plastic. The curves of body even more alluring under the clear polymer, the sheets tied off by duct tape at the joints. She had even fashioned herself a pair of plastic boots covering her perfectly painted toes; a nice teal. The woman pauses about twenty feet in front of her victim, reading a manila file folder’s contents with interest and amusement.

“I was really worried that I would be here until morning cleaning up the mess I am going to make of you,” Samantha states as she keeps reading the contents,” but you my friend are one truly sick fuck.”

Samantha closes the folder and tosses it to the ground off of the plastic. With a smile on her face she approaches the odd little man, intentionally shaking her meaty body for added giggle. He notices her breasts bouncing almost too much and nearly misses the knife blade in her hand.

“I never would have thought that such a profitable human trafficker lived in such a shit hole of a house,” Samantha states while she points around the room.” You blend in don’t you. Just like me, huh. Clever really.”

The odd little man begins to sweat profusely. Samantha starts walking around her prey, the smell of fear mixing with the aroma of her excitement creating a scent found in most college dorm rooms after a drunken night at the bars. The knife blade traces across the odd little man’s right shoulder, producing a thin red line of blood that leaks with gravities assistance onto the plastic.

“What I really enjoy, if I am going to be honest here and why shouldn’t I,” Samantha states as she pause behind her prey tickling his left shoulder,” is how long you have gone unnoticed by the corrupt officials of this urban hub.”

Samantha grips the knife handle in her hand, draws her arm up and fires all the muscles in her shoulder to drive the blade into the cartilage of the odd little man’s shoulder. A small splatter of blood escapes before the arterial release begins to seep out the closed wound. The odd little man groans in pain as Samantha continues to walk around to the front of her target, leaving the blade inside. She pauses in front of him, smiling at the true pain in his eyes. Samantha’s head follows the path of some unseen force guiding her attention to a phone and speaker resting on a stack of nearby boxes. She walks over to the boxes and picks up the phone.

“Now, I’m not claiming that this town is above such lowness as taking brides to turn their heads,” states the murderous artist as she turns her attention to finding a song in her phone.” I have paid my fair share of ‘discretion fees’ in my youth. But you…you operate with such stealth, that you aren’t even a blimp on the radar. THAT is impressive.”

Satisfied with her song selection, Samantha hits play on her device before tossing the phone on to a pile of clothes. Samantha approaches the odd little man, his eyes locked onto her as she straddles his lap. Even through the plastic he can feel the heat radiating off of her body; a heat that is increased as she leans against him slightly to retrieve an item next to him. She sits back up with a filet knife from the man’s kitchen in her gloved hand, running the tip across his cheek as she straightens herself. The beginning guitar intro from her song choice blaring from the speaker as another stream of blood joins the first.

“Oh and don’t go thinking that your occupation is the reason I am paying you a visit tonight,” Samantha states while tossing the knife to her other hand. “I saw you picking up your food and there was just… something about you that sparked that happy place in my brain that I knew you would be fun to kill. This time, I just happen to be doing a public good; one that will last all night.”

The first verse of the song selection kicks in as the filet knife begins its work on the flesh of the odd little man. The forms of Gabrielle, Marilyn and Trevor take form. The glaring cartoon children watch with eagerness as Samantha indulges her darkest desires. The odd little man blinks through the dripping sweat in his eyes. Thoughts race through his brain as he realizes that these cartoon hallucinations are real. The high definition manifestations of Samantha’s mental illnesses and aspects bask in the blood and suffering of their victim.

The screams that no gag could contain escape his mouth only to be drowned out by the heavy rock music from the speaker. Samantha remains unmoved by the out bursts as she works turning her victim into neatly wrapped packages of meat. The odd little man’s neighbors unaware of what is transpiring in the ugly little house on their block; aka business as usual for the small neighborhood on the East Side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Joseph P. Hutchinson

Joseph P. Hutchinson is the resident screenwriter and author with Cooked People Media, a multi-media firm specializing in novels, cartoons, comic books and screen plays. After years of working as a ghost writer, JPH is now striking out on his own, creating art for himself and his company.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MediaCooked?s=03

Trembling With Fear 07/19/20

The last week of term, yay – almost there. The plan was, that as well as write, I would reduce my TBR pile but as I’ve been buying some more books recently and I vaguely recall pre-ordering others, I doubt that’s going to happen anytime soon.

If you want a free read in addition to this week’s offerings, I recommend going over to the latest Sirens Call edition, Issue 50. TWF Writers are well-represented in the contents: Alyson Faye, Richard Meldrum, Ryan Benson, G.A. Miller, Radar DeBoard, Will Blackwell and Patrick J Wynn amongst others. I love seeing people we publish doing so well across the industry. World takeover time!

As you all know we do a Book Launch roundup on Fridays and I have now added an ‘extra’ at the bottom to cover events. If you have an online event relating to your book launch let me know and I’ll put it there. I can also include any other online events, eg virtual cons you may be running or think might be of interest to people.

And yes, I’m going to mention the NHS charity anthology, Diabolica Britannica, again. This time though it’s to say a huge thank you to Ramsey Campbell who wrote a wonderful foreword. Not only did he take the time to do a thoughtful, and loving, overview of British horror, he also included a comment on every story in the book. Knowing someone of that calibre will willingly give up their own time to boost those further down the ladder is a perfect example of the concept of ‘paying it forward’, a trend I notice as being mainstay of the horror writing industry. If you’ve not read him, go and grab one of his books. I’ve not long discovered his writing and am slowly working my way through his back catalogue – I’ve not been disappointed.

New Editorial Feature – Very Short Stories!  Here’s a new feature for you. TWF contributor Robert Lupton sent in a short story of only 14 words. I thought it would be fun to include it in the editorial:

The sign on the pearly gates read, “For sale. One used halo. Slightly tarnished.”

If you think you can write one in 14 words or less, send them in and I’ll share them. But I will only include one per editorial!

Summer Special Shoutout – remember we are after short flash stories, drabbles and Unholy Trinities for our Summer Special. You’ve still got time to dig out those buckets and spades!

At Trembling With Fear this week, we start with The Deer Hunter by Andrew Punzo. Something which apparently reflects on a father-son rite of passage, soon turns dark. The son certainly takes on board his father’s directions but where does that lead to for them? And for the boy when he becomes a man? What exactly does he hunt in the end? A taut, dark piece reading like a thriller. Love it.

Judgement by Scarlet Berry is a slow pace, with the drip feed, literally, of all your sins appearing before you. The target of this condemnation? You’ll recognise them by clever use of incidents and words associated with that person. Shown and not told.

Her Brother’s Keeper by Jessica Levai, is a spooky story about a curse, and brings back a fairy tale element I love to see.

Maneater by Christina Nordlander suspends moral judgement in her story, after all why not? Why deny your nature? Stories often focus on inner conflict but sometimes it’s just easier to remove that conflict and go with the flow.

 

Enjoy the stories and send us yours!

 

Take care

Steph

 

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

Sorry folks, no news on the anthology. We’ve got the covers sorted and are just waiting on the final copies. SOON! (Well, maybe not as I’ll be offline almost the entire coming week.) 

In case you missed it last week, we now have enough YouTube subscribers to have our own custom URL! https://www.youtube.com/horrortree! Sadly, that hasn’t given me any free time to add more content to the channel. If making videos from existing posts using software we provide to you sounds interesting, do reach out 😉 

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Friday Update: Pandemic Book Launches

Pandemic Book Launches and Events  17.07.20

In addition to Jim McLeod’s Pandemic Book Launch group on Facebook – go here for more infomation – Joe Mynhardt has set up a collaborative Facebook group for the independent presses: Hot Off the Indie Press, check it out here.  Click on the book covers for more information.

**New Feature: Events. Scroll down the page and you will find any online events listed (that I have been notified about).**

Pandemic Book Launches 

*********** Charity Anthologies ************

1st July   13th July    Click cover for trailer!

 

They Slipped Through the Net

This section features books recently published but which have only just come onto our radar.

27th Jan

July 2020

    1st 3rd    8th  9th
9th  15th   15th 20th 
20th 22nd 31st

August 2020

4th    4th     6th   7th
10th 18th   25th  25th
28th

September

  1st    8th    10th    15th

Future Releases (note: dates not always available)

 

 

 

 

Events

18th July Fictional Stories in the Real World via zoom. A free online confererence in which a panel of fiction writers ‘explore the challenges and perks of writing about real locations’.

22nd July The Place Between Worlds Book Launch via Facebook. Hosted by Red Cape Publishing.

Happy reading.

Steph

 on behalf of Stuart and the Horror Tree Team

 

Unholy Trinity: The Milk Maids by Hari Navarro

Our church worships at the altar of the Unholy Trinity. Its gospels are delivered as a trio of dark drabbles, linked so that Three become One. All hail the power of the Three.

Wrenching Wombs

 

I made love to him in chicken shit. The night of my anniversary, most exactly nineteen years to the hour since my mother braced into the house-cows stall and purged, wrenching me down from her womb. 

I saw it as we fucked, the empty stall with its wrought-iron mesh trough of hay and the three-legged stool that excited me as I sat and fell into the rhythm of massaged teats and the jet of the cream in the bucket. My fate duly sealed as we lay on the floor of the coop and I ground my flesh into its crust.   

 

Pearlescent Eternity

 

I considered killing her. No, I didn’t. I pondered killing myself though, but then what? I mean, I knew they’d take her away. This is our familial curse, perfect nipples seeping pearlescent eternity. 

I tried to hide my condition, binding my body ever tighter into my peasant robes. I ate like a fucking pig in so as that my bulge would be attributed to gluttony. But I have my mother’s body and her mother’s before that and back and back, perfectly honed and admired and despised by men and women alike. 

I was betrayed by stains, patches of blooming milk.

 

Suckle Release

 

Eight days in and I’m summoned. Embroidered serfs usher us into the opulent maw of a large room and we take our place within a circle of golden chairs. Naked flesh quakes and swollen breasts crave for the suckle release of babes left behind. 

I hear my daughter’s wail, though I know I cannot. I’ll never see her again. 

Our bandeau bound heads bow in unison as in they stride. The Queen and her King, our special mother’s milk, their eternal elixir. Her skin is powder smooth and his stubble scratches and we weep as they stoop down and feast.

Hari Navarro

Hari Navarro has, for many years now, been locked in his neighbour’s cellar. He survives due to an intravenous feed of puréed extreme horror and Absinthe-infused sticky-spiced unicorn wings.His anguished cries for help can be found via Black Hare Press, Things in the Well, 365 Tomorrows, Breachzine, AntipodeanSF, Horror Without Borders and HellBound books.Hari was the Winner of the Australasian Horror Writers’ Association [AHWA] Flash Fiction Award 2018 and has also succeeded in being a New Zealander who now lives in Northern Italy with no cats.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Serial Killers: Single and Looking (Part 2) by Joseph P. Hutchinson

Serial Killers are part of our Trembling With Fear line and are serialized stories which we’ll be publishing on an ongoing basis.

(Part 2)

Samantha’s eyes track the same path as her illustrated and animated companions, watching the new guest stand at the classic diner counter. He’s fidgety, toying with the zipper on his stained and over worn green hooded sweatshirt. His black plastic framed glasses, like those worn by Buddy Holly appear to be new if not for the betrayal of the glue stains by the arm joints. The watch on his wrist along with the low tech phone poking out of his pocket, reek of a fixed income. A smile creeps across the occupants of the booth as Samantha lowers her gaze back to her meal. 

Gabrielle and Marilyn return to their seats and activities while the boy’s attention remains locked on the strange awkward man. Gabrielle, Marilyn and Samantha hasten their mastication while glancing over to the boy in unison.  

“Trevor’s really looking forward to playing with him, Sammy,” spits Gabrielle while pointing her knife at the boy, “It’s been years since anyone has gotten his attention like this.”

“Oh, I know,” Samantha retorts while eating a mouthful of pancakes, “I feel like I am about to burst with excitement, “After all this time, finally someone we all agree on.”

“Mmmm, yes. It’s been almost…what now…3 months since that…Sgt What’s her face….,” chimes in Marilyn with  hash browns covered in melted slice cheese overflowing her fork, “Fuck….Why can’t I remember that sluts name…”

“Sgt Margot Helena Kimble…Biggest piece of shit ever,” Gabrielle interjects with before joining Marilyn in eating the hash browns in unison with Samantha.

“No it was her partner that was the shit stain, not the Sgt. She…” Samantha retorts with while chewing and then swallowing her food,” She was…well…”

Samantha looks up at the Man, Diane hands him a large brown bag. He grabs it by the bottom of the bag, the weight from the overstuffed containers within visible in the repositioning of his grip. Diane smiles back with that “pay me a good tip” boob giggle, leading the unobservant man to the cash register.

“Look, she knew he was doing that bullshit, probably since before he extorted that first drug,” says Gabrielle as she takes another bite of food before continuing, “fuck she probably smelled the ‘predator’ on him. Given her history of domestic violence.”

“I’m not saying she was ignorant, but I still think she was innocent,” Marilyn replies while dipping her sausage in the yoke of her egg,” I never agreed with knowledge being equal to guilt But, the nosey cunt just HAD to show up on her day off…THAT is her own damn fault…I bet she was working for Internal Affairs too! Snitch bitch.”

Marilyn and Gabrielle continue their argument while Samantha and Trevor remain focused on the man with his brown bag. Diane cashes him and smiles at him when he gives her a respectable tip for his order. The pair wave in unison at Diane, giving the internationally recognized “Check Please!” sign with their left hands and wrists. Diane shoots a wink with the pointing of a finger gun combined into a half smile that Samantha has learned deserves a smile and nod of approval in response. She applies society’s lessons and receives a lingering glance of sexual desire.

Trevor and Samantha exchange stares and shrugs before looking up at the man. He stands in the door way, checking his phone’s contents then he pauses. He pauses mid scroll of his thumb and looks up directly at Samantha. Prey has spotted predator. Panic drips off his forehead mixed with the salty stink of his sweat. The moment ends faster than it began with his attention back on his phone, responding to the flashing light of a new message. Diane approaches with requested receipt as the man scurries out of the diner’s exterior door.

“Do you want some containers for what you got left, hun,” ask Diane with slight despair after surveying the mess she will have to clean up.

Food is scattered across the table top. On each of the plates Diane brought over earlier are piles of food leading towards Samantha’s area of the booth. Samantha looks up at Diane with a seductive grin and her best bedroom eyes, her left hand having disappeared into the pocket of her tight black jeans. As her right hand swiftly pulls down the front of her V neck shirt, the motion pushing up her ample DD Cup bosom, her left appears with a crumble up bill. Diane retrieves it, unfolds it and her eyes widen in speculation upon seeing that it is $100 bill.

“Is this fake,” Diane ask with a laughing tone that almost betrays the truth of her question, “I mean this will mos def take care of your bill and then some!”

“No container and I will pay with my debit card as always,” Samantha replies, reaching for her coat and sliding out of the booth to stand almost on top of Diane.

Samantha towers over the 5’1’ waitress, 5’3” with her tennis shoes on, even if she is only 5’10” herself. Diane can’t control herself as she breathes in deeply of Samantha’s sent, a combination of her own customized sent and the intoxicating pheromones given off during sex or during a kill. Diane, the natural submissive, looks up at Samantha as if she was her mistress; their eyes locked as Samantha bends down at the waist to whisper in her ear. Samantha’s hot breath on Diane’s neck causes the latter to hold her lungs still.

“It’s for the credit card receipt you are already holding in your apron,” Samantha whispers into the pale shell of Diane’s ear, “Just give it to me and I will satisfy every desire you have of finally sampling the flavors of this world famous pussy.”

Samantha straightens like a pin up doll, putting on her jacket while remaining the same distance from the blushing and enthralled waitress. Diane’s hands disappear into her apron and quickly produce the desired slip of white paper. Hesitation overcomes Diane. Samantha grabs Diane’s folded hands, pulls her close and kisses the waitress deeply. The welcomed embrace of the locking of lips and the exploring of tongues, allows Samantha the ability to retrieve the receipt from Diane’s hand as her arms go limp. Samantha releases the star struck woman. Diane lingers for a second, her lips kissing the air previously occupied by Samantha’s mouth. Her eyes now open, the waitress looks around to notice a good chunk of the customers and staff is staring after witnessing the exchange. 

Samantha checks the paper. Happy with the results, Samantha slides past Diane allowing her breasts to glaze over her arm. Once clear, Samantha slaps Diane hard on the butt, the resounding noise drawing the rest of the diner’s attention. Diane jumps from the slap and rubs her sore flesh, gazing longingly at Samantha as the hostess does her best to quickly process her bill. A proud smile is plastered on Samantha’s face as eyes are on her, but her quick glances are reserved for Diane. Each smirk out of the corner of Samantha’s eye sends shivers of desire along her nervous system. 

With her receipt in hand, Samantha checks it one last time. Satisfied, she nods at the hostess who looks at her with disgust. Samantha leans against the glass door leading out of the diner and looks to Diane; typing on an imaginary keyboard and mouthing the words “email me” before flicking her quickly between her index and middle fingers with her tongue at her. The gasps and quick foot falls of a blushing Diane running off of the floor are the exiting sounds for Samantha.

Joseph P. Hutchinson

Joseph P. Hutchinson is the resident screenwriter and author with Cooked People Media, a multi-media firm specializing in novels, cartoons, comic books and screen plays. After years of working as a ghost writer, JPH is now striking out on his own, creating art for himself and his company.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MediaCooked?s=03

Trembling With Fear 07/12/20

Sometimes good things happen and this week has at last allowed a charity anthology I’m involved in to step nearer to the light – and it’s shameless plug time because it’s for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). With fellow TWF contributors Alyson Faye and Janine Pipe, we appear alongside Tim Lebbon and Adam Nevill in Diabolica Britannia. Not only that, the foreword comes from the great Ramsey Campbell (who’s book Midnight Sun, I’m about to start. His The Wise Friend was terrific, by the way). It’ll only be available in ebook format but I reckon it’ll be a great buy for a worthy cause; you should be able to fairly soon …

If any readers here are involved in charity anthologies or events, remember to get in touch and let me know. We can promote here and anthologies and other books can also be listed in our weekly Pandemic Book Launch roundup.

Last weekend I was looking at a bit of software Stuart’s assessing for turning text to speech as I’ve started investigating accessibility of material online for those have a disability. Whilst Stuart and others have provided some information about reading the material in the first place, my interest lies in submitting. Whilst we have provided submission guidelines, I’d like to know if there is anything there, we could tweak for those who may be visually impaired/blind or other issue which means our guidelines actually become a barrier. I tweeted on this a few days ago and mentioned these are early days in an ongoing process. Let me know ideas, thoughts, difficulties.

Back to Trembling With Fear for this week and our first story is The Scar on His Young Wife’s Knees by David Berger. David has written a few stories for us now and we’re beginning to recognise quirky tales shot through with humour are a trademark of his. From the intriguing title, to the story told in dialogue which pulls you on as want to read the punch line, to that little throw away comment at the end about hair colour, this is refreshingly different to many of the submissions we receive. I would recommend digging through old TWF posts and re-reading his earlier stories again. (And have you heard his wife sing? Here she is, Ms Audra Blu.)

A Scarlet Promise by Patrick Winters was subbed as a drabble but reads as a poem. It is beautifully crafted. The words create such a gentle atmosphere and even in the horror of the ending, that air of tranquillity remains. Excellent work.

Preacher by G.A. Miller is a wonderful dig at the cult of evangelical preachers. I loved the little song at the start, brilliant.

They Gnaw by Jack Deel takes a much-underused horror trope – the garden gnome – and mixes it with the modern environmental concern over plastic. The result is a B-movie in miniature, wonderful. (And I hate garden gnomes by the way, they are not cute, they are evil.)

Take care

Steph

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

Thanks again Patreons! You’ve come through and we’re slightly up from where we were last week! THANK YOU!

Okay, I’ve had a bit more time to breathe this week. By the time you read this, I’m hoping that we have the final covers in our hands and the anthologies are uploaded and being looked over for errors. We, might, depending on when the final covers are in, also have ordered proof copies. We’ll see! 

I’m still not fully caught up from last week’s fiscal end so don’t have much in the way of news to announce. One cool thing though is that our YouTube channel (which is HIGHLY neglected) at some point passed the subscriber number so I could give it a unique URL! https://www.youtube.com/horrortree it is folks! This might seem minor but I’m excited. Now, to just find a way to add more content to it again for those of you who have been kind enough to subscribe! 

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

(more…)

Friday Update: Pandemic Book Launches

Pandemic Book Launches and Events  10.07.20

In addition to Jim McLeod’s Pandemic Book Launch group on Facebook – go here for more infomation – Joe Mynhardt has set up a collaborative Facebook group for the independent presses: Hot Off the Indie Press, check it out here.  Click on the book covers for more information.

**New Feature: Events. Scroll down the page and you will find any online events listed (that I have been notified about).**

Pandemic Book Launches 

*********** Charity Anthologies ************

1st July   Soon    Click cover for trailer!

 

They Slipped Through the Net

This section features books recently published but which have only just come onto our radar.

14th May   31st May

June 2020

17th 22nd 24th 25th

July 2020

    1st 3rd    8th       9th 

15th 20th   20th  22nd

August 2020

4th    4th     6th  10th

18th    25th    28th

September

  1st    8th    10th    15th

Future Releases (note: dates not always available)

 

 

 

 

Events

22nd July The Place Between Worlds Book Launch via Facebook. Hosted by Red Cape Publishing.

Happy reading.

Steph

 on behalf of Stuart and the Horror Tree Team

 

Serial Killers: Single and Looking (Part 1) by Joseph P. Hutchinson

Serial Killers are part of our Trembling With Fear line and are serialized stories which we’ll be publishing on an ongoing basis.

(Part 1)

Samantha sits inside her booth at her favorite greasy spoon diner; Ma Fischer’s on the East Side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin a pair of grey Bose headphones on her neck. The brown plastic tea pot of water, the steam from its contained heat leaking out the spout, rests between her plate of lemon slices and a saucer with a ceramic mug; a bag of orange tea with its tagged string resting inside. Her eyes dart around the bustling restaurant, tables filled with families and too much food over running plates. Samantha sits at her booth, three children around her, while she fills her mug and continues to swipe through the dating app on her phone. 

“Nope, Nope, Nope…maybe…hard no…hmmmm…maybe after a fat blunt,” Samantha mutters to herself with a swift flicker of thumb. 

The hypnosis of the digital again enveloping her, beautiful green eyes locked onto the device gripped in the chocolate flesh of her battle scarred fingers. She finds herself so deeply locked into the modern matrix of social media that she is actually startled by the waitress arriving with her rather large order. 

“I am so sorry about that, hun,” Diane the waitress states rhythmically as she swings the tray of food with a skillful twist of her shapely hips.

Samantha finds her eyes running up the body of this biologically young service industry worker. Beneath the uniform, Samantha finds that she can detect not only the thick, meaty flesh, with its pierced mounds and tattoos of various qualities, but that the waitress reeks of experience beyond her years. The perfectly balanced tray on her delicate digits is a contrast of the rocky and chaotic life of questionable decisions, unwanted advances and unknown bodily pains in the morning. She doesn’t even mind Samantha eye fucking her as she begins to unload her meal.

“Alright, my dear…hot cakes, breakfast platter and biscuits and gravy with extra gravy…oh! And,” says Diane as she deft fully tips her tray forward to slide some small plates into her grasp, “…you extra plates for your … guests.”

Diane grabs the plates off the tray with her right hand sliding each one into place along the empty seats of the booth. Samantha’s surveying of the table sends a pleased smile across her lush lips, her professionally whitened teeth seen slightly underneath. She looks up at Diane, slowly working her eyes up her body one last lingering on her size 34 C cup breasts before finding those brown eyes filled with longing to be accepted by any means necessary. Samantha doesn’t even notice Diane’s eyes darting across the empty bench spots. Nor does she glean the uncomfortable smile trying its best to be genuine for the sake of the potential tips lining Samantha’s rather flush bank account. Her eyes lock back on Samantha, staring awkwardly.

“You want an autograph or something, boo boo,” Samantha asks snapping the waitress out from her trance.

“..oh um…Anything else I can get for you? More water? Looks like you’re good on lemons for now,” Diane inquires, her head shifting to allow her to observe her other stations’ needs.

“Yes, my lovely flower. Everything is wonderful,” Samantha responds while reaching out to grab Diane’s right hand.

The gesture is accepted along with the passing over of a folded up napkin. Diane squeezes the napkin with an alluring twitch of her green lips and a quick wink to seal her intentions. The 20 something waitress turns with a new found vigor in her movements while Samantha watches. 

“You know you can fuck her right,” Marilyn states coldly while she loads up food on to her plate.

“No shit Sherlock. Sammy here can pull whatever cock or pussy she wants,” replies Gabrielle as she does the same, “World famous artist that she is.”

Samantha looks back to gaze across to the other side of the booth. Seated across from her are two 3 dimensional cartoon little girls. Marilyn, seated inside the booth, is of paint white skin, fiery red hair and green eyes that match Samantha’s childhood pictures perfectly. On her face is a Cheshire smile, the results from a rather brutal execution that ended her short life. Next to her on the outside of the bench is Gabrielle, a girl appearing of similar age with her chestnut hair in a beehive type up do, large blue “doe like” eyes and her head twisted to a rather unnatural angle, the result of her breaking it. The pair greedily portions from the plates; Samantha watching with a smile on her face as each morsel’s rendered into a similar 3 dimensional cartoon like state.

Seated next to Samantha is a little boy, also a 3 dimensional cartoon. He is of Caucasian and Caribbean bloodlines, this reflected in his caramel skin, and dressed in a simple black silk suit from the height of post Civil War fashion. The rage behind his pale blue eyes shines like spotlights as he watches the patrons of the restaurant and plays with his bright yellow Yo-Yo. The revulsion of his face is mimicked from Samantha’s face prior to her food’s arrival.

“That’s what was on the note wasn’t, Sam? You gave her your number didn’t you,” Gabrielle asks as she slovenly eats her food.

“Email. The locals don’t get my number. They always seem to get attached to the home grown hero way too quickly,” Samantha replies while she eats her breakfast.

“Told ya,” chides Marilyn as she elbows Gabrielle in the ruffles of her canary yellow dress.” Nobody gives out a phone number anymore. Jeez, it’s like we don’t all share the same consciousness anymore.”

“Hey! I pay attention to as much as I possibly can! Everyday it’s some new app or-“ rants Gabrielle before she stops suddenly.

Gabrielle and Marilyn stop eating, swallow and kneel on their bench, looking behind them. They join Samantha and the boy, locking eyes upon a nondescript male in his early 40s, balding with salt and pepper hair all over his head and face. Diane greets him with a menu and a smile.

“Oh he’s so gonna die tonight,” muses Gabrielle as all four of their faces reflect the look of a lioness stalking her prey.

Joseph P. Hutchinson

Joseph P. Hutchinson is the resident screenwriter and author with Cooked People Media, a multi-media firm specializing in novels, cartoons, comic books and screen plays. After years of working as a ghost writer, JPH is now striking out on his own, creating art for himself and his company.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MediaCooked?s=03

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