Friday 25 April 2014

Dark Fiction - Anxiety


By Casey Douglass

as part of #fridayflash 

Krillon yelled as the scanner drone floated past their table, the late afternoon sunlight dazzling from the humming metal sentinel. It thrummed and twisted towards him but soon turned away to take in another diner. He flexed his foot and scowled at Maxis. ‘What the hell did you do that for?’

Maxis grimaced as he held up a palm. ‘You were dangerously relaxed Krill! I had to do something, you know how twitchy those things are!’

Krillon felt his foot throbbing now, a prickly heat spreading through his toes. ‘Thanks I guess.’

‘You guess? I just bloody saved you from being carted off!’

‘I wasn’t that relaxed!’

‘You were almost asleep!’ Maxis huffed and sucked down the last of his replenishment shake.

Krillon turned away. He didn’t want to lose his temper with Maxis. He knew Maxis was right but he was insufferable when you admitted it to his face.

‘So what’s the secret?’ Maxis smirked.

‘What secret?’

‘Why are you Mr Comatose all of a sudden? You always used to be fidgeting like a crack addict in withdrawal!’

‘You seem pretty chilled yourself Maxis.’

‘Nah I’ve got lots of inner turmoil, still waters run deep and all that. Enough to keep them off me anyway.’

Another drone buzzed past the café, a larger crowd control unit with high-grade weaponry. It was a large orb like thing and painted a dark grey, a white line around its equator, just below its collection of cameras. A hush fell on the other diners as many pairs of eyes watched its course until it was around the corner.

‘I don’t know why they are worrying,’ Krillon hissed. ‘Nothing’s ever gone down here!’

‘There it is again!’ Maxis whispered leaning in closer. ‘What’s happened? You used to crap yourself when those big bastards went past!’

‘Maybe,’ Krillon leaned towards Maxis until their noses almost touched. ‘Maybe I just don’t care any more!’


‘Maybe I don’t care. It’s all bullshit and I’ve decided to just let go, go with the flow!’

‘That’s terrorist talk!’

‘I’m not a terrorist.’

‘It is to the Overlord Command Dispenser! You’ll be dead in hours if you keep this up!

‘I don’t care! It’s better than a life of fear and anxiety over bullshit that doesn’t matter!’

‘They got to you didn’t they!’


‘That freedom group, Always Chill Together or something.’

‘What if they did?’

‘Christ I can’t talk to you any more!’

‘Suit yourself!’

Maxis leaned back in his chair, his face ashen. Krillon watched his eyes, gazing all around the face of the person who used to be his friend. He knew that Maxis felt that he was now looking at a stranger. He watched Maxis shake his head and stand. He watched him turn away and begin walking. He watched him. Maxis didn’t turn around when the alert sounded. Not even when the first shot was fired.


A bit of sci-fi for my #fridayflash this week as my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) has been the worst it’s been for years. The astute amongst you might recognise those initials in the Overlord Command Dispenser line. Anyone with any interest in anxiety treatment may also recognise Always Chill Together abbreviates to ACT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, the process I am trying to apply to my life so that I can at least do some of the things I value, rather than being under the thumb of the Overlord Command Dispenser 24/7. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Creed Noir Presents Mass Hysteria

This is a heads-up about a very cool looking horror film festival. Machinations into Madness is hosting Mass Hysteria, a celebration of great horror trailers, shorts and feature length films made by indie filmmakers.

The festival will be a live stream event via Youtube hosted by Creed Noir. He will introduce the show, each clip shown and there may just be the odd interview or two.

There are no prizes (except the exposure gained) but there is also no submission fee. The submitted works must feature themes of the paranormal, the occult, madness or the macabre and will be judged on how well they use these.

The entry deadline is 12th May 2014 and the live stream event itself is on 6th June 2014.

More details about the entry process and a few terms and conditions can be found on the Mass Hysteria page here.

While you are there, have a little look around the Machinations into Madness site in general. You will find other great bits of horror stuff like some interesting podcasts and details of other up and coming horror projects such as Exposition of Horror.

I'm not an indie filmmaker, but if I was I would certainly be interested in taking part.

Monday 21 April 2014

Dark Review - Sadie The Sadist

Review of Sadie the Sadist

  By Zané Sachs

Review by Casey Douglass



Do you know much about sweetcorn? I didn’t until I read Zané Sachs’ Sadie the Sadist. I bet that even if you do know a fair amount about it, your eyes will widen when you see what Sadie uses it for. She has to work with it, preparing it for mindless shoppers to come to the supermarket and purchase for their screaming kids and snooty partners. It’s little wonder that something that features so heavily in her work life ends up being a useful tool in her personal life.

Sadie is one of the downtrodden masses. Someone who has to live their work life under the thumb of petty bosses who never let a little bit of knowledge or common sense interfere with their ability to stick their nose in whilst blindly following the rulings from “the top”. It’s enough to make anyone snap. Sadie does, and in a quite spectacular fashion. She develops (or discovers) an alter-ego that gets to live the life that she desires. No longer being stepped on or pushed around, no longer crying at her workstation wondering if her numb fingers will get her through one more day.

To say too much more would be to ruin some of the twists and turns that run through this tale. There is gory retribution, rape and all manner of other sadistic (the clue is in the title!) events. Things naturally escalate, go wrong and still carry on with Sadie frequently trying to work out what is going on herself. Zané’s use of an unreliable narrator who is questioning even her own ideas of reality works to great effect and provides plenty of misdirection and uncertainty. There are also great little diversions into the peril of self-help books and the merits of robotics and the possibility of mental transference to iPods.

Interspersed with her questionable tale, Sadie inserts a few of her choicest recipes for the reader’s possible enjoyment. These start out simple enough but soon require more macabre human-based ingredients such as knuckles, various bodily organs and testicles. Not something that you will see on a TV cooking show any time soon! These interludes give your brain a mini-break from the carnage of the main story and seem to sit just right with the overall pacing and tone.

Sadie the Sadist is a brutal tale that is an easy and sometimes queasy read. If you like your fiction extreme, adult and with a dark humour, you will like this. There are elements that are American Psychoesque but Sadie takes them to greater, bloodier extremes. You will also learn something about corn.

Visit Zané’s site here or search Amazon for Sadie the Sadist and give it a try. 

(I was given a free review copy to read).

Rating: 5/5

Friday 18 April 2014

Dark Fiction - Into The Jaws

Into The Jaws

By Casey Douglass

as part of #fridayflash


The heavy metal boots squelched through the row of corpses, a particularly bloated body rupturing pleasingly to Moranth’s satisfaction. He didn’t let it show.

‘The death you have caused!’ the gaunt elderly man hissed through yellow teeth as he floated a few paces to the left.

Not for the first time, Moranth looked to both sides, the seemingly unending road of bodies buffered by darkness on both sides as it stretched into the hazy distance. He shrugged his left shoulder, the vein that ran down the bicep a snake weaving and winding its way towards some unknown prey. The metal of his chest plate was torn and stained with his life’s juices, the jagged edge rubbing into his skin. He marvelled that he no longer felt the pain; that had faded once his mind had awoken after the brief period of darkness.

‘Look Moranth!’ the floating man in his dark robe was pointing now, his knobbly finger pointing into the distance.

Moranth breathed in deeply, or at least what passed for breathing in this place. He stopped walking and turned to the old man. ‘I see what I have achieved.’

The man wafted closer until his nose was almost touching Moranth’s. ‘Achieved? Achieved?’ he shrieked. ‘Even in death you show not a sign of contrition?’

Moranth’s mouth drew back revealing the rows of broken teeth that still clung to his gums. He lunged forward and grabbed the old man’s face with his massive gauntleted hand, the clinking of the metal competing with the slight crunching of bone. 

‘Yes achieved!’ Moranth snarled, ‘Why you play this game Death I know not, but if you expect me to fall to my knees and weep you are sorely mistaken. You take on the guise of this old pauper, the first I killed on my path to glory and you have simply given me the satisfaction of doing it again. You know so much of my life yet you seem not to know the one important thing, the thing that drove my violent path. You think me a monster yet I vowed years ago to right the greatest injustice of life. You and the beings of your ilk, lording over us mere mortals, offering solace one moment and agony the next.’

He squeezed his fingers more tightly and felt the skull give with a loud crack. Death cried out and mumbled into the hand that covered his mottled face.

‘Do not try your tricks on me!’ Moranth bellowed. ‘Can I kill such as you? I have no idea. I am here and from what you have told me, headed for the inferno. I say good! My one fear in life was that there was nothing after death and you have taken that fear from me. Now you have unleashed the mightiest warrior the world has ever known and he has no fear, no pain and no body to hold him back!’ 

Moranth pulled the shrieking Death closer and whispered in his ear, ‘Who do gods pray to when they fall?’

Death struggled and wriggled as he clawed at the dented metal, his eyes beginning to fill with blood. Moranth lifted him away and lofted him higher, until his arm was at full stretch. With a grunt he clenched his fist tightly, the already damaged head imploding in a wet bubble of boney shrapnel and pulp. The body fell, fell down past the morbid pathway and down, down into the abyss below. The atmosphere began to rumble and vibrate as the Death vanished from sight. Small sparks of faery fire danced along Moranth’s armour as he grunted in approval. He looked around him and noticed that the scene was growing dim, a red hue beginning to suffuse everything. 

With one long ululation of intent, Moranth threw himself from the pathway and plummeted into the depths, sulphur and brimstone tickling at his nostrils. The wind howled through his armour and scoured his skin with a hot ferocity that only served to heat his intent further. With a last yell of defiance he vanished from sight, a deafening boom splintering the now empty space that he left behind.


Monday 14 April 2014

Dark Review - Splatterlands

A Review of Splatterlands

By Casey Douglass

I haven’t read many books that made me feel dirty. Splatterlands, published by Grey Matter Press managed to do that repeatedly. The stories inside are so gory, charnal and raw that the 13 tales flashed by all too quickly.

As the title of the book might suggest, this is a decidedly adult book. It features the strongest language possible, scenes of rape, sexual kinkiness, cannibalism and brutal murder, so if that kind of thing leaves you colder than a ravaged corpse, I doubt this book will be for you.

Below, I have given only the briefest titillation as to what the short stories are about. I don’t want to ruin their impact if you do decide to purchase the book.

The first tale is Heirloom by Michael Laimo. It follows a young girl who takes possession of her father’s antique rifle and puts it to uses that would surely void the original warranty if it was still in force.

The second, Violence for Fun and Profit by Gregory L. Norris, follows the fortunes of a poor soul who has fallen foul of the banking system and the arseholes that make the decisions. What starts as revenge soon turns into something far more profitable.

The third story is Empty by A.A. Garrison, a tale that features so much swearing and gore that the universe it plays out in begins to rip under the pressure.

Number four is Amputations in the Key of D by Jack Maddox, a fascinating look at the creative process and a way that an artist might find his true ability.

Five is Housesitting by Ray Garton, a cautionary tale about rummaging through other peoples property if ever there was one.

Number six is Dis by Michele Garber, a descent into madness and demon pleasing barbarity that twists the psyche into a wretched and brutal thing.

Tale seven is Dwellers by Paul M. Collrin, a mystical desert trip that turns out to be the most eye opening thing in main character Scrye’s life.

Eight is Party Guests by Chad Stroup, a look into the mind of Geoffrey, a ‘special’ young man who sees the world in his own unique and bloody way.

Story number nine is The Viscera of Worship by Allen Griffin, which follows the travails of a man who walks the dark path of Leviathan, out to test his faith and prove himself worthy of his God.

Number ten is The Defiled by Christine Morgan. A group of raping warriors comes up against a foe that just happens to treat them the way they most sorely deserve.

Story eleven is The Artist by James S. Dorr, a tale that finds the joy in meat being moulded into various forms.

Number twelve is A Letter To My Ex by J. Michael Major, a confessional suicide email filled with enough suffering to scar the recipient for life.

The final story is Devil Rides Shotgun by Eric Del Carlo. A struggling detective invokes outside forces in his hunt for a vicious serial killer.

I enjoyed all of the stories but the stand out ones for me at least, were: A Letter To My Ex, Heirloom and The Viscera of Worship. The first is just mind numbing, the second so rudely sexual and the third so dark and meaty that they stayed with me the longest of any of the tales.

There were a couple I didn’t enjoy, partly due to their writing style but I won’t single them out as it will be a very subjective thing from reader to reader.

I would happily recommend Splatterlands to any lover of the extreme side of fiction; someone who doesn’t feel averse to the feeling of sleaze seeping into their mind until they can almost taste it.

Rating : 5/5

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Dark Fiction - Inheritance and Four Flash tales in Print

You can now find five more of my dark tales in two new Darker Times Collections. They were printed as a reward for placing in the Darker Times competitions during last year and into this one.