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A Quick Bite of Flesh now available

September 26, 2012 2 comments

I am happy to be able to share the release of an anthology that I am included in. “A Quick Bite of Flesh”, is now available from Amazon on the Kindle.

This is a collection of flash fiction stories that all focus on zombies. It was produced by Hazardous Press and I have been lucky enough to have two stories included.

The first story is the entry that I submitted to this anthology. It’s titled, “Like Father, Like Son” and is a zombie story that is set in the old west. I was excited to be included in the anthology but when I was asked for another of my stories I was stunned.

The editor, Robert Helmbrecht, had followed the links to this blog that I include in my signature and read through some of it. He is the first editor that has ever requested any of my work. For me, this was a compliment that I will never forget. So of course, I have removed that story, “Scouts”, from the site and I can’t wait to see them both in the anthology.

There are a total of 55 different stories in the anthology that cover the range from gory or terrifying to humorous and light-hearted so no matter what your taste (sorry, I couldn’t resist this pun) in zombie fiction is, you will find something to suit your palate (I will stop with the puns now, I promise) in this collection.

Check it out and I hope you like it.

L. E. White

White Noise

There is something settling in a slow, repetitious noise. “White Noise”, I think it’s called. I remember seeing ads in magazines for machines that would generate this to help you sleep.

My wife always insisted on a fan. We would have it turned on, blowing on us in the summer and just turned on facing the door in the winter. The slow buzzing hum of the motor and the whirring sounds of the blades produced our white noise.

When we were first married, I hated that fan. I hadn’t grown up with on in the room, so it was new and annoying to me. She had grown up in the city, surrounded by late night people, cars, trains and whatever else happened to be up and making noise. I would imagine that a constant thing, like a fan, would have helped drown out other noises that would jar you awake. I understood why she had always had one.

I had grown up in the woods. I was raised out in the middle of bumblefuck on a bumpy county road that only led further back into nothing. When I lay down at night, I heard insects and animals. It never bothered me to hear a hooting owl or the high-pitched yelps of hunting coyote. The most common, and annoying night-time interruption that I ever had was when something spooked the neighbor’s dogs. Those coon hounds would bay and howl, their mournful voices carried down the creek beds and valleys to whip their way around our house, but even then, that was really all that bad. My white noise was provided by the wind that rustled through the limbs of the maple trees that my grandfather had planted around the house back when he had built it over a hundred years ago.

I put up with that fan for the first few years, complaining and bitching from time to time if she pulled the blanket up around her neck so that my toes would stick out the bottom and get chilled by the draft, but eventually I stopped noticing the fan.

White noise has that effect on you.

Years later, I came to a point where I would complain if she got into bed last and forgot to turn the fan on. I had been converted. She took great delight in pointing this fact out until she got into bed and I would tickle her for the “I told you so’s” that she was giving me. That tickling always made its way to much more physical tussling done under the covers to keep from catching a chill from that self-same fan.

When the power went out, we had trouble sleeping because of the lack of that fan. It was such a small thing to complain about considering the gravity of the situation, but like most people, we complained about the things that were most prominent in our own lives at the time.

Until the day that the first of the monsters found their way to our farm.

I was out in the field, working on our garden when I saw the pallid, graying thing stumble out of the woods towards me. If it had not been for the news that we heard about the rising of the dead I wouldn’t have believed it. I would have made the same mistake that so many other people had made, I would have tried to help it.

Instead, I picked up the shovel that I had beside me and waited for it to get closer. I could have shot it, my old lever action rifle was beside of me, but the news had said that the zombies, a word that I never thought I would ever in all my days say out loud, were attracted by loud noises and that if you could avoid doing it, kill them without shooting them. So I stood there, outside of the garden, watching the trees for others and when it got close I hit it in the head with my shovel.

I didn’t think I wanted it as fertilizer, so I tied baler twine around its foot and drug that stinking thing away into the field. With any luck, it would keep the deer away from my tomatoes.

I went home to tell my wife about what had happened. I walked through the late summer grass toward the farm, looking back to see if any more had come out of the trees, when I heard a rifle shot. That was when I started running.

More shots sounded, and before I could get through the barn lot, I heard a scream.

I killed the thing that was trying to eat my wife alive. A few of those stinking things had walked up behind her while she was outside washing clothes. The pistol I had bought her one year had been well used, killing three of them, but the fourth had gotten a hold of her before she could put a bullet in its head.

I sat there, stroking her hair and wiping my tears off of her face as she whimpered. I know that the right thing to do would have been to kill her. She was in pain and there was no way she was going to survive, but I couldn’t have turned off the light in her eyes for the world. She was my world and I knew that my world was coming to an end.

She died as she whispered, “I love you”, through a bloody bubble that had been formed on her lips.

I sat on the ground, crying and snotting, for hours. I could no more get up than I could have shot her. So I sat there and stared at her face without looking down at the wounds.

When the moon had risen and then sat again, I got up on stiff legs to hobble into the house. I had intended to get the matches so that I could burn the body, but I had sat outside to long and when I walked back to the door she was standing up and rocking from side to side. She had risen and I would have to shoot her to be able to burn her body.

I still couldn’t stomach the idea, so I just shut the door as easy as I could and went upstairs to bed. I now lie here wishing I had the white noise of that damned fan to drown out the sound of her nails clawing at the kitchen door.

Categories: Book, Flash Fiction, Horror

Podcasts

September 19, 2012 1 comment

You would think that I would be a little more internet savvy considering that I work in IT, but that just isn’t the case. I am not a gadget guy who is trying the latest thing as soon as it comes out. I don’t watch the tech news and I stay away from most online communities. I do find some neat things every now and again though and I want to share one of these discoveries with you.

As my father says, “Even the old blind hog finds an acorn every now and then.”

My acorn, are audio book pod casts. Nothing new, but something I have just recently started to get into. I get to listen to great stories while I am driving to and from work. These are professional markets for writers and they work on the same non-profit ideals as PBS. I hope you will take the time to visit, listen, and if you like them, help support them.

www.podcastle.org – Pod Castle is the source for fantasy fiction. I have heard classic sword and sorcery as well as westerns, urban fantasy and future fantasy. Fantasy is my favorite and this is the site I am spending the most time on. Episodes see to average around an hour.

www.psuedopod.org – Psuedopod is the horror affiliate for the same group. There have been some wonderful stories on this that actually send a chill down the spine. Not only are they reading great fiction, but the background music and occasional sound effects can really set the mood.

www.escapepod.org – Escape Pod is the home of science fiction. I am not a huge fan of this genre and I don’t think I have actually written a story that could fall under this umbrella but there have still been a bunch of great stories. Including “Chasers”, by Mur Lafferty, which is now one of my new favorite stories ever in this genre.

www.castofwonders.org – The final one is Cast of Wonders. CoW handles young adult stories in both scifi and fantasy. I have not started listening here yet, but I have it bookmarked for the near future.

There are hundreds of stories on each site. I have not heard the same reader twice on any story and I do know that this happens but it is rare. The readings are well done and the audio file is very professional in quality. I have not had a problem with anything on the sites so far. So go pick your favorite type of stories and give them a try. Enjoy yourself and enjoy some great stories at a time when you probably wouldn’t get to read otherwise.

L. E. White

Shadow

As the shadow shifted across the floor he watched it. It was a dark spot in the bright room that shouldn’t be there. The lights were above him, inside the drop ceiling that hovered above him, just a little too far for him to be able to touch it when he jumped off the bed. That same bed was bolted to the floor and the wall, but it didn’t have a gap between them, so there wasn’t a place there for the shadow to come from.

He had looked at the lights until his eyes had burned from staring at the brightness. He hadn’t found a bug or sticker that would have left a dark, black spot on the floor but it was there. He was alone as far as he knew, and if an invisible person was in the room with him then why did they cast a shadow?

It was moving slow, but it was coming closer.

The jacket made sure he couldn’t hurt himself, but it didn’t keep him from walking. He could have stood up and walked over to see if he could see what was making the shadow, but then he would have been on the floor with it.

Not when he could hear it sliding closer. Despite his screaming, and despite his yelling, he could hear it sliding closer.

Where was everyone? He had been yelling and screaming for so long that his throat hurt, but none of the angels in their little white jackets and their funny green pants had come to check on him.

He sat on the bed, hugging himself with his arms wrapped tight around him regardless of if he wanted to hug himself or not, and began to rock back and forth. He was crying now, because the inky black shadow was so close and nobody was coming to save him. Snot and tears ran down his face and into his mouth and he couldn’t even wipe it away. He would have rolled over and rubbed his face on the blanket, but that would have meant he had to stop watching the shadow.

You can’t do that, shadows move faster if you aren’t watching them.

So he snotted and sobbed, rocking back and forth. He was hitting his head on the walls, hoping that they would come and stop him from hurting himself, but the walls were too soft to let him hurt himself.

And still the shadow crept closer.

And closer.

Until it was close enough to stretch out a dark, jutting, mass towards the bed. The shadow looked like one of those single celled things that had its picture drawn in your old biology books. The ones that ran out a piece of itself to move and you would sit and draw on that to make it look like a penis so that you and your friends could have a single celled penis art show after class and laugh about how clever you were until your teacher saw them and made your parents pay to replace the book and you would get grounded and blame the teacher and talk about how bad the teacher was to your friends and how you wish they would just die and they would agree but only you actually brought a knife to school and stabbed the stupid penis hating teacher and then you were sent to a hospital where you talked about what you had done after they shocked the holy living shit out of you; that kind of reaching out thing.

That was when the screaming started again. Screaming that put all of the screams before it to shame. Real, panicked, oh my god the monster under the bed is back, screaming.

Now the angel in the white sweater comes in. She is carrying a needle. He didn’t like needles but if she would stab the shadow then it would be alright.

She stopped, and her eyes widened. She saw the shadow. He could tell that she saw it. Someone else saw it so it was real. Now he would be saved.

She turned white and looked up at him and then down at the needle.

Then she turned around, walked out and shut the door. He had been smiling since he thought he was saved. Now though, he realized that even if it was real, she wouldn’t save him. If she told anyone else it was real, they might do to her what she had done to him.

He closed his eyes when he heard the lock turn.

He went back to crying as he felt the bed shift just a little.

Melancholy

September 12, 2012 Leave a comment

This last weekend was pretty good in a lot of ways. The family did things together.

Important among those things was that I got to watch my youngest children grow up. A simple ever, the digging of their own fishing bait, showed me that they are soon going to be able to go without me.

Just like my oldest.

I was feeling a little lost on the day I wrote this. Work was not working and in a lot of ways I was unhappy.

Damnedest thing brought me to a different realization of what is happening. I saw a hawk. The big raptor was flying over the parking lot, looking for dinner.

Keep it simple, look ahead and dive at what you want. Stop worrying about one draft in the sky.

Soar.

L. E. White

 Broken Wings

“Are you sure this will work?”

The man had his eyes closed as he tried to clear his mind. The woman behind him frowned at his back with such ferocity that he could feel it.

At least he thought so.

She released a long, exasperated sigh. “Will you shut up and do what I said?” She huffed again and he could hear her move as she shifted in her chair. “You must let go and allow yourself to be something else if you wish to really fly.”

The man stood with his arms outstretched. He felt the wind ruffle his hair and kiss his skin with a spider web of sensations. He wanted to fly. He wanted to look down upon the world and see the horizon without a piece of glass between him and it.

He wanted to soar.

“Very good.” Her praise sounded like a whisper, he opened his eyes, intending to turn and look at her as he asked what she meant. Doing so showed him that he was high above her, riding a current of air that was woven into the tapestry of the wind. He had done it and he closed his eyes again to relish the sensation.

He thought of how much different this felt than what his standing on the hill had felt like. The old woman’s “No you fool. Don’t!” started softly enough but grew louder with every word.

 

Categories: Flash Fiction, Review

Happy Birthday Little Buddy

September 5, 2012 Leave a comment

This weekend saw us celebrate my youngest son’s sixth birthday. He was happy as he laughed and said, “Wow! Cool!”

That is about as good as it gets. Just sharing simple happiness over simple things. Cake, laughter and a little boy.

Everyone seems to be feeling better and recovering. I don’t like my family hurting or feeling sick, so this is a big improvement.

Finally, I tried New Castle Werewolf, Blood Red Ale this weekend. Pretty good stuff, but just a little to bitter on the finish. I would give it a six out of ten.

Otherwise, I don’t have very much to say. At least not today.

L. E. White

Spit and Polish

The floor was really something to marvel at. I had made it by gluing crumpled bits of brown paper down with plain old white school glue. The pattern that it made looked like really expensive custom flooring but it had cost almost nothing.

The trick was to coat it in about six coats of that thick varnish that they use on bars. That is what made the floor hard enough to walk on without tearing up. It also gave it a shine that you could see your reflection in.

Until your reflection was obscured by blood.

I wondered if it would be easier to clean blood off of this floor. I wondered if my wife would even try.

There was a clicking sound from the claws as it walked towards me. I wanted to yell at it for tearing up the finish but I couldn’t make a sound. I didn’t even let my wife wear heels out here. I loved the way she looked in those heels. I really loved it when they were all she wore.

I never let her wear them out here though now I wished that I had.

I hope this floor is easy to clean, that the varnish lets her just mop my blood right off of it. My blood, and whatever is left of me when that thing finishes with me.

The clicking stops and I wonder why.

It stops coming closer.

Why did it stop coming after me?

Then I hear clicking again, but it is farther away. It is different.

When I realize that my wife is wearing her heels and walking though the kitchen towards us I try to scream out a warning. I open my mouth to yell.

But I still can’t make a sound. The hole in my throat won’t let me.

 

Categories: Flash Fiction, Horror