September 14, 2020 Leave a comment

I took the brush into my hand and rolled it between my fingers. It was the same Filbert that I had used on the last canvas I had sold. That had been such a simple job. A contracted piece for a florist who wanted red tulips leading to mountains.
It had been so simple. It had not been a creative piece.
That project had drank the last drop of creativity from my well. I felt empty.
I put the brush back down and picked up the hooked knife. I had emptied my red, but their blood would refill it nicely.

Categories: Flash Fiction, Horror

Sick Day

September 25, 2019 Leave a comment

“What do you mean you aren’t coming in today?”

Rod sighed. “I am running a fever and I feel like shit Bill. I need to stay home.”

“Are you kidding me? We have a major milestone coming up and can’t afford for any of the team to be out. You have to come in.”

“No, I don’t. Bill, I have days I can take and I am sick. If I come in then I am going to get others sick as well.”

There was silence on the other end of the line. Rod could imagine Bill grinding his teeth and squinting his eyes as he tried to think of a way to force the issue. “You could just stay in one of the satellite offices so you are available on the phone.”

Rod sighed again. It was a new habit that seemed to piss Bill off every time he did it. Normally, he would have smiled but today Rod just didn’t have the energy. “I am not coming in today Bill. I will try for tomorrow but only if the fever has broken. Goodbye.”

He heard his manager say “But,” as he pulled the phone away from his ear so he could see the little red button to end the call.


Rod’s eyes snapped open as he felt his body vibrate. His stomach was in his throat and he rolled over incase he vomited. There was an electric feeling that ran over his skin, making all of Rod’s hair stand on end.

“No,” he moaned as he pulled his knees up under him. He pressed his lips tight together and squeezed his eyes shut. Little flashes of light began flickering in the darkness of his eyelids and a high pitched squeal had him slapping his hands over his ears.

Rod tried to say the word “No,” again, but it was only an indistinct whine that blended in with a tearing noise that sounded like two people fighting over a shirt on Black Friday.

For Rod, everything ended with a soft pop.


“Holy Shit,” Bill said as he looked at the crumpled form on the conference room floor. “It worked.”

“Of course it did.”

He turned to look at Shannon, eyes wide and mouth hanging open a little. “How the hell did you do that?”

Shannon smiled and brushed her bangs off of her forehead. “The new employee contracts that everyone signed last year included a bit of the old magic that my gran taught me. I save it for special occasions.”

Bill turned back to the piece of carpet that had been spread out on the floor. When he had went to Shannon demanding a way to force Rod to come in, she had smiled at him in a way that had made his skin crawl.

The roll of carpet that she had made him carry was plain white, but a complicated series of symbols and circles were painted on it in various colors. “I can make him come in, but this is really going to cost you,” she had said.

“We have to have him or we will miss the milestone and then heads are going to roll,” Bill had said. “But what the hell is the rug going to do?”

“You’ll see,” she had said, that creepy smile never leaving her face. “Just watch.”

Shannon extended her hands to the symbol and whispered, “Ego Vocco Vostrod”

As the lights flickered, Bill had said, “Vostrod?”

“The summoning name I gave him when I set this up,” Shannon answered. “Would you like to hear your name?”

Bill hadn’t asked and now that he was staring down at Rod, lying in the middle of the carpet in his pajamas, he realized that he didn’t want to know.

“Get him up and then roll up my carpet,” Shannon told Bill. “Put it back in the closet before someone sees it and then we can talk about what you owe me for this.”

Bill swallowed hard as he realized what owing Shannon might mean for him. After all, he had signed a new contract last year too.

Categories: Uncategorized


August 23, 2018 Leave a comment

He put the straw against his lips and took a small drink before letting out a soft, pained groan.

“Are you okay sugar?” the waitress asked.

Long brown bangs rustled across the man’s forehead when he shook it. “I have a sore in my mouth. Everything hurts.”

“Oh honey, that’s horrible.” She leaned over to rest her elbows on the counter beside his glass. Her hair was pulled into a pony tail that kept it from dunking into the water, but it hung there like a pendulum, swaying back and forth. “I was wondering why you were making those horrible faces while you were eating.”

He grinned and nodded.

“You know what my grandmother always told me to do? She told me to rub salt in them. Burns like Hell’s fire, but the sores go away within a day.”

He looked at her as his grin melted off his face. “I think I’ve had enough Hell’s fire to last me a lifetime. Thanks though.”

She looked at him with a weird, twisted, little smirk on her face as she stood straight. “Only trying to help sugar.”


The bathroom mirror was dirty and streaked. He didn’t expect anything more from the old diner, but despite everything he had seen, he still always had hope.

He pulled his lip away from his teeth and a soft orange light lit his face like an old scout master on a camping trip. The smoldering glow of burning coals got brighter as the man examined his mouth. The sound of meat frying got louder and the smell of barbecue drowned out the old urine from the un-flushed toilet.

“Hell’s fire,” he mumbled. “She has no idea.”

Categories: Uncategorized


March 29, 2018 Leave a comment

I was sitting at a table, enjoying the slight chill in the air as I held my cup beneath my nose. The steam warmed the tip and the aroma of vanilla and honey made my mouth water. For the first morning of my retirement, I thought things were going well.

The first of them walked across the street and stopped a few cars down. She was beautiful in a way that I couldn’t have described the day before. All long, lean limbs and cute, captivating curves. I might not enjoy being alone, but it did make it easier to stare. Although as I looked at her clothing, an almost see through green sack of a dress with a pair of heavy, brown work boots and one spotted sock, I realized that everyone was staring at the woman.

When he friend appeared beside her, the woman at the next table gasped. I never asked if the gasp was due to him just appearing, and I was surprised that I hadn’t noticed him walking up, or if it was because the loose running shorts he was wearing left a portion of his anatomy hanging out down the leg. Honestly, I didn’t need to know. The man was so well built and gifted that I would have considered switching teams if he had asked.

I was lost in thought as a pair of children ran down the sidewalk. The little girl who was running from her brother came to a sudden stop when she saw the adonis standing in front of her. Her brother was distracted by the woman and did not stop. He plowed into his sister, knocking them both to the pavement in a tangle of skinned knees and bloody elbows.

As children often do, they began to scream and cry in response to their injuries. The whole of the little cafe’s patronage pulled their eyes from the visions of beauty to look upon the injured. The pair stepped toward the children, who ignored the beauties to focus upon their pains.

It might come as some surprise, but this is when things got weird.

The woman, her gown falling off of her to reveal far more than has ever been accepted as modest, knelt beside the girl and grabbed her face. She kissed the child full on the mouth before wetting her fingers in her mouth and then shoving one in each of the child’s ears. While giving the girl a double wet willy, the woman bent further forward and licked the blood from each of the child’s knees with a tongue that would have made an anteater proud.

The man, lowered his pants a bit around his bottom before squatting over the pursuing brother and lifting a single finger into the air. As he did, the sound of the gas he passed seemed to echo off the building behind me. I was aware of a car alarm going off, though at that moment I could not remember if it had been honking it’s warning before the fellow farted or not.

Both children were silent. The diners were silent. The passing pedestrians were silent. Even the cars were stopped at a red light. The only sound was that stupid car alarm.

The pair stood straight, and the sun reflecting off the windows illuminated them. For a moment, they were haloed in soft gold, then they each started walking in opposite directions. The children’s mother ran up to check on them and I looked back at the woman at the next table.

We made eye contact and I began to worry about her. She was pale, her lips a light blue, and I wondered if she would be able to keep her seat. Her eyes were wide and wild as she gulped like an old cartoon character. “The kids,” she whispered. “They were hurt from falling.”

I looked at them, and saw what the woman meant. No scrapes and no cuts. The boy looked nauseous and the little girl was wiggling her finger in her ear as if trying to dry it after swimming, but neither was bleeding anymore.

“It’s a miracle,” the woman said. Her words drew my attention back and I saw that she was clutching the cross hanging from her neck. “That was a miracle. They must have been angels.”

“Strange angels,’ I said, slurring the words together into a single unrecognizable one as I tried to make my brain and mouth work together after the spectacle. I licked my lips and cleared my throat before trying again. “Strange angels indeed.”

Burning Man

March 14, 2018 Leave a comment

Thomas knelt down so that his face was closer to the floor. The dim light wasn’t helping him, but from this distance the stain changed from an indistinct dark spot to an indistinct dark spot that smelled like blood. “Yup,” he said back over his shoulder. “This is fresh.”

A tall, heavy man walked past Thomas and put his hand against the door. He stood there for a moment and then looked down at his partner. “I don’t feel any heat. I think we are clear to move.”

Thomas heard a soft click as the big guy turned the knob. He also heard a whisper of something moving through the air above them.

The big guy went down with a grunt as another man appeared on top of him. Thomas threw himself backward as the falling man began to glow and Thomas’s friend began to scream.

A wave of heat rolled off the body of the demon that had been hanging above the door waiting on the men who had been following it. The creature’s body ignited cloth and hair as it’s temperature rose, dragging a high pitched scream out of the big man it had landed on.

Thomas looked up to see his friend’s body begin to blister and boil even as the wave of hot air that rolled towards him dried his own eyes out. He twisted to get his feet underneath him and ran for his life. Hating himself for leaving his friend, but knowing that he couldn’t have done anything to save him. He wondered why he had ever let anyone talk him into something like this as he rounded a corner and charged out of the loading dock door that they had cut open when the pair had entered the building.

“Alcohol,” he thought as he ran for the little footbridge between the factory and the park.

Thomas hit the bridge and thought he heard the sound of something moving behind him. He fought the urge to look over his shoulder. Instead, he simple leapt from the bridge and into the river. The cold water embraced him, smothering the wave of heat that had began to warm his back during his last few steps. Thomas flailed and struggled for a minute before getting back to the surface to float while allowing the current to carry him away from the bridge. That was when he looked.

He saw the two burning forms who were standing there, watching him float away. “Never again,” he said as the cold water carried him past the burning building that was his friends funeral pyre. He watched a third burning figure walk out, heading toward the bridge and he began to swim with the current, trying to put more distance between him and the things he had found. “Never again.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Croning 101

March 7, 2018 Leave a comment

It should come as no surprise to you, a seeker of knowledge and power, that there are prerequisites to almost all things. You were required to learn skills in a progressive order to be able to attain anything of real power. In fact the term, “climbing the ladder,” can be applied to all of the worthwhile pursuits in life.

However, it is also a well known fact that not all things can be mastered at once. Due to the inability of an arts practitioner to study all forms within any style, if for no other reason than the limits of time, there is an inevitable instance where you may find yourself lacking in some minor way from being able to continue your progression.

So, no matter what levels you attain in your chosen craft or what path you find yourself upon, the need to continue to study and refine some things that might seem to be basic or elementary will inevitably arise. For those times, we, the members of the “For Morons” press, are here for you.

While it may not seem to have been a valuable skill to obtain, the art of cackling is much more than merely a time honored tradition of old world witchcraft. It is in many ways, the mantra of a well rounded hag.

As you have no doubt discovered, obtaining a crone’s license requires an applicant to display aptitude in a minimum of five disciplines of magic. It also requires that the applicant demonstrate their skills in the arts of cursing, brewing and cackling. If you are reading this book, then it is likely you are among the many would be crones who have not developed this skill due to disdain of its humble origins.

Do not allow this simple skill to be dismissed so readily. The true power of a cackle is two fold. It not only influences your surroundings by adding the preconceived notions of those who hear it to your repertoire of skills and powers, it is also a point of focus and collection for the mystical energies you will use in all your endeavors.

In the later chapters of this book, we will discuss the history of cackling. Reviewing its origins and evolution over time. We will also go through guided meditations, exercises and rituals to help you focus on your cackle’s power.

But, as the author of this book, I believe you need to enjoy your work. You need to feel the rush and exhilaration of the powers that we, the crones of our art, have at our command. We are more than just old, dried up witches who meddle in the mundane. We are the deepest divers in the wells of power that forged the world. We are the last remaining guardians of the oldest of ways and after the toil and struggle of hours of practice we deserve the simple, unfettered joy of a good long cackle.

Let’s try one together, just for fun. Take a deep breath and pull in the anguish of broken hearts and lost connections. Bring into yourself the misery you have caused. Visualize the miasma of your previous work as choking smoke floating through the world and pull it into your lungs until it burns with bitter fire.

Throw your head back. Look up into the sky and imagine the old ones looking down upon you. Imagine their pleasure as the look up the destruction you will visit upon your enemies and hear their laughter as it shakes the foundations of reality.

Now, let it out. Laugh from deep in your gut. Laugh at the heros who will fail to stop you and at the true love you will ruin. Let your mirth roll out from you in a wave of fear and horror that children will whisper about with their heads tucked beneath blankets.

And now that you feel that tingling power which binds you with the crones of ages past, you are ready to proceed to chapter two, where we will discuss the practical application of a cackle in the completion of your hexcraft.

Categories: Uncategorized


February 28, 2018 Leave a comment

Mara tried not to smile as she walked down the street. The clicking of each heel marked her passage in a slow, echoing staccato that turned heads. Most of the men who looked up as she passed blinked and stared. Most of the women snarled and smacked their men.

When she had lost the bet with Tom, she had assumed she would be paying in bed. the idea that he would have sent her to run his errands while dressed to impress had never crossed her mind.

The bank was another block down. She should have been there in no time. Today though, was a day full of surprises.

The hands that dragged her into the old dress shop were gloved. The lights were off and windows curtained.

“Pretty, pretty, pretty,” the old man’s voice rasped as he said it. “So very pretty.”

Mara opened her mouth to scream and a fist was jammed between her teeth before a sound had come out. Her jaws were forced wide by that hand, and she gagged on the taste.

“Quiet pretty.”

She was on the floor, pinned under the weight of a much larger body, with the back of her head stinging from its impact with the old, polished wood. The second hand moved over her, but didn’t stop her from opening her purse.

A soft hiss, like air leaking out of a hole in a tire, came from the bag. It was followed by the sound of bubbles in a sink and then by the smell of rotting flowers.

The man didn’t make a noise when he was ripped off of the top of her. She assumed it was due to the tentacle that was jammed into his mouth.

After dusting herself off, Mara rummaged in her bag for a minute before she found the tiny wooden box. She sat it on the floor, open, and turned to leave. It was hard to walk away. Her pet shouldn’t have been left unsupervised, but she couldn’t stomach the sight of it feeding so soon after her own lunch. “I’ll be back when I finish at the bank,” she said over her shoulder. “If you are a good boy and clean up after yourself, I’ll get you ice cream before we go home.”

Mara stepped back into the street, and this time she did smile at the sound of her heels on the sidewalk.

Categories: Horror, Short Story

Still Dark Blog Tour Stop

January 27, 2018 1 comment


Switching it Up

There’s an age-old question that writer’s always get asked: Pantser or planner? In non-writer language that means do you plan your novels or do you go by the seat of your pants?

Over the years, I’ve written around ten novels. Some of them will never see the light of day, but they served their purpose of giving me a chance to practice and hone both my writing and my method. In the early days, I was a pretty meticulous planner. I knew what I wanted the story to be going in, and I didn’t let myself deviate from that.

Those were also the years where I was finding who I was as a writer. More than anything, I struggled with character development. I was so set on the delicate house of cards I was building that I refused to let the characters just breathe and move around in the space, much to the detriment of the story.

With Still Dark my fourth written, first released novel, I started to loosen the reins a bit. I knew what the story was, where I wanted it to go, but I also started to see certain settings as playgrounds or stages. It was my job as the writer to get everyone in place where they needed to be, but once they were there, I started to let them play a bit. Some scenes went longer than I planned. Others sprouted off into new scenes, new conflicts, new moments. In short, when I started to trust the characters to behave like real people, my books started to get better.

In the novels since, I’ve switched it up even more. I’ve started novels without much of a plan at all, just a vague idea. The end result has been a change to my process overall, putting more effort into editing instead of fretting so much over the first draft. All of this is not to say one method is better than another, just better for me. I’ve finally figured out which parts to plan and which ones to leave up to chance.

At the end of the day, it’s all about trusting myself as a writer. Back in the day, I would hold on to a single idea, a single scene or conflict that I just knew would make a book. I would pad out everything around it, refusing to just get to the damn point already because I was afraid that one scene might be all I had. One of my favorite quotes is, “What do you do after you lay down all your cards? You find new cards.”

Still Dark is a living example of that mentality. Scenes that could have been the climax come in the first 50 pages, and guess what? It only gets more tense from there. I finally figured out how to find new cards.


Still Dark

D.W. Gillespie

When a thunderous explosion rocks an idyllic cabin resort in the Great Smoky Mountains, animals and humans alike begin to act strange. Jim, along with his wife Laura and son, Sam, are cut off from the outside world, but they soon realize the true nightmare is just beginning…

Deep in the snow-covered woods, something is waiting. The creature calls itself Apex, and it’s a traveler. Reading the minds of those around it, Apex brings the terrifying fears hidden in the human psyche to life with a singular purpose: to kill any that stand in its way.

Locked in a fight for their lives, Jim and his family must uncover the truth behind Apex, and stop the creature from wreaking a horrifying fate upon the rest of the world!


Amazon Digital and Print: US | UK | Canada | Australia | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | Japan | Mexico| Brazil | India | The Netherlands

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR — D.W. Gillespie has been writing dark fiction in one form or another since he was old enough to hold a pencil. He’s been featured in multiple horror anthologies, both in print and online. Still Dark is his debut novel, and his second book, a short collection titled Handmade Monsters, arrives in 2017. He lives in Tennessee with his wife and two children.

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Just a few drops

December 6, 2017 Leave a comment

The man who walked in had to duck to fit under the door. He also had to turn to the side so that he could slip his shoulders through the frame.

“You ready?”

The big man looked to the left, at the short, balding guy in road worn leather and a pair of scratched glasses. He nodded to the little man and after putting a few bills on the table in front of the guy, the big man was waved back through the curtain.

Inside the room, a pale, skinny blonde was sitting in a chair. Her head was hanging down so that her hair hid her eyes from view and her hands were pulled behind her. There was a little table beside of her with a glass, and spoon and a knife on top of it.

The man knelt beside the chair and grabbed a handful of hair to haul the tiny woman’s head up. He peeled her eyelid up so that he could see her pupils and after a moment, they contracted. He chuckled and reached for the knife.

The woman whimpered as the cold steel slid into one of the spots on her arm that didn’t have a scab on it. The man put a little spoon against the wound, waiting for a few minutes as a few drops of blood settled into the tarnished dish.

“That’s the stuff,” he said before putting the spoon into his mouth with a satisfied smile and a groan of pleasure.  A moment or two later, he sat on the floor beside the door and let his eyes close.

Lights began to flash and dance in front of the man and he relaxed so that he slid down the wall. “Oh man,” he whispered. “Damn.”


The big guy opened one eye. The girl in the chair had her head turned so that she could look at the man with one eye. From where he was sitting, he couldn’t see her mouth move but it had to have been from her. “What?”

“Please.” The word was almost too soft to hear. As he stared at her, the little bouncing lights danced around the girl like fairies around a mushroom. “Please.”

He wanted to ask her what she needed, but for some reason he couldn’t figure out how to move his tongue. He tried to open his mouth, but it seemed like his lips were glued together.

She looked down again and they sat together in silence.

There was a soft thump from the first room followed by a scraping sound. The big man thought it would be a good idea to go see what was going on, but with his legs being made out of ribbons there was no way he could float in. Instead, he turned his wide face to look at the curtain.

The edge of the fabric moved a bit on one side and there was a soft hiss from the other room.

The other edge of the fabric moved, then everything settled back into place.

“Wwwhhhaaaaa,” the guy said.

A foot stepped through the doorway. As he focused on the scuffed, black army surplus boot the big biker slipped over until his head rested on the floor. The boot and its twin moved into the room and the guy watched as the boots stopped in front of the woman tied to the chair. The black toe tapped the dirty bare foot of the captive, then turned to face the man.


As the person who walked into the room knelt beside him, the big biker still couldn’t move. He saw tiny spheres of light swirl around the the dark hole of the person mouth. Then, slim white spikes appeared to grow down into the darkness before the man shivered at the warm air moving across his neck.

There was a quick, sharp pain before the guy closed his eyes. He took a huge breath, released it in a massive sigh, and then everything went dark.

Categories: Flash Fiction, Horror, Vampire


November 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Each of the candles still had frosting on the ends. Little black spots of mold were there too, which is why I wouldn’t put them in my mouth to clean them off. Some of those little spots might have been cake, it had been chocolate after all, but I couldn’t tell the difference.

I picked up the lighter my dad gave me when he passed away and flicked open the metal top. One strike and I was able to melt the back ends to have enough wax to stick them to the mirror in my lap.

I only needed five of the twelve candles I had. Five for the points of the start I had drawn with a Sharpie. Twelve for the last time we had celebrated her birthday. I looked at them, trying to understand how it had been almost a full year ago.

She was growing up so fast. Almost a teen. Almost a woman.

I had to make sure she was safe.

I lit the candles, surrounded the mirror in salt and cut my hand so that my blood could be smeared around the edges. I was ready to summon the demon.

A perfect guardian. That is what I thought. What better protector for my angle than a demon.

The eyes looking back out of the mirror turned violet and I smiled. “What do you want?”, my reflection asked.

“I want to make a deal.”