Monsters Are Real

SM3Slice

 

 

 

Life is magical when you’re seven. The Transformers toy in Seth’s little hand was as real to him as the park swing he had been flying it on. In childhood the world is full of wondrous things; superheroes, cartoon characters, magicians. Things that fill a child’s mind with great fantasy and often seem so real. His mother would take him to church and speak of angels, but Seth was usually more interested in getting home to his Sunday morning cartoons.

But the world of childhood is also filled with monsters, like the one Seth was sure hid in his closet whenever the light was out; and the one that had just shoved him to the ground and pushed his mother down onto the park bench while pulling at her clothes. “Just lie there and shut up” the monster growled at him. His mother, looking horribly frightened squirming beneath the strange man, told him to do the same. “Stay there baby. Just stay there. It’s okay.”

Seth knew it wasn’t okay. One of the world’s real monsters had come. He was frozen there, the side of his face pressed against the sand, his Transformer toy held tightly to his chest. His eyes were clenched shut, forcing the tears out faster. In his ears his mother’s voice was pleading, begging, and when her voice became too loud the monster hit her, and her screams turned to silent sobbing. His mother’s surrender only heightened Seth’s terror and sense of helplessness.

Moments later footsteps near his face made Seth open his eyes. A large black motorcycle boot stood motionless beside his face, the single silver buckle glistening oddly through the fog of his snot and tears. Seth’s panic grew; another monster had come. The boot shifted into the sand as the second monster leaned down, and Seth felt a hand on his back. A gentle touch, a rub, and the hand stayed there pressed against his back for a moment, now somehow calming and soothing. Seth looked up, and above him the face of a man with a finger over his lips signaled him to stay quiet, and Seth watched the boot walk away towards his mother and her attacker.

For the next few moments Seth couldn’t turn away, couldn’t close his eyes, as he watched one monster tear apart another. Later, when he would re-tell the story, he no longer called the second man a monster, but an angel, like his mother had told him about in church.

COMING SOON

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#Winning

I totally win at PokemonGo, because this is actually the first real Pokebear ever captured alive.

Bear

DAS VAMPIR 2

DarknessGoodreads

Here is the complete DV2 story.

Das Vampir II

The Farm

A short story by Tom Reinhart

The skin on one side of her face doesn’t match the rest anymore. Long tangles of matted hair hang from only one side of her head, the other half barren and scarred from where the sun had once touched her. The light of a long forgotten world had finally found her one morning, briefly trapped and exposed without shelter as the end of night came.

She dreams of it now, the nightmare burning her flesh all through her tortured slumber, her own screams blending in with those of the faces that dominate her nightly visions. Faces she cannot recognize, people she cannot remember, thousands of lives she had ended to extend her own. They haunt her sleep, a strange conflict permeating her being; the euphoric taste of their essence struggling against a fading disgust of their slaughter, a remnant emotion of a former, more human existence. This was how she awoke tonight, as she has for a thousand years.

The old storm drain, cold and damp, isn’t quite big enough to stand in. She nests hunched over, deep within the cool wet darkness, half hidden under sticks and branches and human trash that wash in during the rains. Rats wander close, drawn to her body heat, scurrying away too quickly for her to catch. Beside her lies a stray cat, not quite as fast as the rats, drained of its life through two large punctures in its neck. On her leg a leech clings firmly rooted into the flesh, to steal the blood she has stolen from others; the ironic, inevitable circle of life.

She stares blankly down through the long rusting tunnel to the circle illuminated by the last fading rays of the setting sun that has searched for her throughout the day, eager to burn more of her flesh. With each minute the comforting darkness grows deeper, the chorus of nocturnal insects growing louder; a familiar and soothing symphony that slowly drowns out the screams in her head, the screams of the once living that she has made dead.

~ * * ~

Helen’s arthritis chewed on the cartilage in her joints, and as she often did she awoke in the middle of night from the pain. With a hip nearing need of replacement, the journey to the bathroom for aspirin always seemed like treacherous miles. It wasn’t fair getting old. You spend your life gaining wisdom and wealth, just to watch your body fall apart before you can enjoy it. Next to her, Peter’s labored breathing made him sound like some kind of monster. This had been going on for the last fourteen years. Now, at seventy two, the breathing machine he was supposed to connect himself to at night stood pushed into the corner collecting dust because he refused to use it.

Helen sat up in the darkness, swinging her legs off the edge of the bed despite the reluctance of her hip. Many a consultation had been had with the family doctor to decide whether or not she would go through with the surgery. At her age, such a major operation like this, and the recovery and rehabilitation that would follow was not something to be taken lightly. She glanced at the clock as she stood, trying to read the time without her glasses. Even with the extra-large glowing numbers it was still a bit fuzzy, but it seemed to read 2:35am.

READ THE REST HERE

The Demon of Apartment 116

As soon as Mason enters the hallway of their building he can hear the sounds of abuse from apartment 116. He stands alone in the hallway listening to it all, minutes drifting by like small lifetimes. A slap on a face, a threat to leave, a broken dish upon the floor; the corridor fills with the sounds of misery and despair, of anger and regret. A woman crying, a child pleading in defiance and fear to protect her, all from a monster that was supposed to love and nurture them.

An old light fixture on the ceiling flickers, its bulb nearing the end of its life. A moth flits about, desperate to get to the warm glow that teases it from behind a dirty glass globe, not realizing the heat of the bulb will kill it. Mason ponders the similarity of the moth and light to the sounds of cruelty coming from the apartment. People, attracted to the lure of a relationship, desperate to have one, needing one; never realizing that actually getting into one might destroy them.

Mason’s gaze drifts to the stairs, looking upward to the apartment that was his and Sue’s just days earlier. He wonders if that relationship, no matter how desirable, may have destroyed them both. He stands here now, alone in a dim and dirty hallway somewhere in Detroit, a broken soul. Even a beautiful relationship can be the catalyst that destroys lives. The most magnificent of fireworks are but fleeting moments that leave behind only dirty ash when they are gone.

There’s a sudden powerful thump on the corridor wall. A door slams, angrily and forcefully. Voices are raised and things are breaking; things like dishes, chairs, and human spirits. The crescendo of madness emanating from behind the apartment door grows until Mason cannot endure the burden of witness any longer. Behind his psychological wall his demons, weeping in the darkness moments earlier, are shifting to rage. He takes one last glance up the stairs, some deep corner of his wounded mind hoping somehow he might see Sue standing there, to stop him. She isn’t, and Mason’s boots carry 240lbs of angry broken soul to the door of apartment 116.

He knocks on the door, and with no answer knocks again, a greater tone of insistence bearing down upon it.

Faint sounds drift from behind the door. Whispers of muffled aggression; a woman told to shut up, a child ordered to his room. Inside is a struggle of indecision, to answer the door and weave a façade of normalcy, or to hide in defiance and shame. Moments pass, but Mason’s demons will not be denied. A fist pounds the door, monsters of different breeds standing on either side of it. The portal opens, and an angel of justice and liberation locks eyes with a demon of betrayal and oppression.

“What the fuck do you want,” speaks one demon to the other.

Mason’s stare is cold and steady, his intentions unwavering in spite of any resistance that might come. “Let me see your wife.”

There are split seconds in life when an entire story is told in a moment of changing facial expressions, if you look hard enough and have the presence of consciousness to interpret it. In just a few fleeting moments, the demon of apartment 116’s entire story is revealed there in the flesh of his face; the guilt, the fear and the shame. The facade of defensive defiance comes anyway.

“Go fuck yourself. Mind your own business.” The door quickly begins to close, the portal between liberation and subjugation trying to seal shut, to keep the status quo just a while longer. But the time of apathy has past, blind eyes will not be turned, and Mason’s demons, unrestrained by a keeper no longer alive, are stampeding over the wall.

Mason rears back and kicks the door with all of his unbridled rage. The gateway to emotional imprisonment gives way to an angel of salvation as the wooden barrier strikes its guard in the face, knocking him back hard against a wall. Mason rushes in and grips the man by his Adam’s apple, powerful fingers wrapping around the ball of his throat, threatening to rip it from its moorings.

Mason holds the man firmly against the wall, the door closing behind him, two monsters now locked in the same cage. The man struggles and fights at first, thinking he can overpower the intruder of his lair. Mason easily contains his efforts, the iron grip on his Adam’s apple causing the man to choke and gag as he struggles. Mason, shoving the man down to his knees by the throat, leans into his face. Momentarily they share the same air, with far different intentions. “I said I want to see your wife.”

The demon of retribution drags the demon of isolation around the corner of the foyer and into the living room, where the woman stands staring in his direction. Her eyes are open wide, a look of fear in her face. Mason raises an empty palm, holding it out to her, trying to tell her to be still, to be quiet, to not be afraid.

The man’s vocal chords vibrate against Mason’s fingertips as he calls out to his wife. “Dial 911. Call the police.” Her phone is in her hand, the light of the screen illuminating her face, contrasting it against the darkened room. Before she can press a number, she sees Mason’s changing expression as he stares at her. His shoulders seem to drop, his demeanor softening. She doesn’t understand, until she catches her own reflection in the mirror behind him.

Both hand and phone lower to her side; the light twisting around with the motion but still reflecting against her face. She begins to cry, each tear weaving a path among the bruises and scars in the mirror. They mix with the blood as they pass her nostrils, the combination stinging the split in her lip.

In our own minds we all see a vision of the person we believe ourselves to be. In the mirror the woman finally puts denial aside, to face the woman she had actually become.

For long moments, she faces the reflection that for years she had refused to make eye contact with. Her eye is so black and swollen it reminds her of the eye patch from a pirate costume she had worn last Halloween. She suddenly remembers that a black eye a year ago was why she chose that costume in the first place. She’s had black eyes for so long they have become normal, almost unnoticed, except to cover them with makeup so no one else will see.

Her captor struggles in the grip of her liberator, drawing her attention away from herself. He is on his knees, the intruder still holding a death grip into his throat. “Call the police,” he commands again. Mason punches him in the face with such force one of his fingers breaks and a tooth flies across the room. Mason releases him and pulls his .45 from behind his back, telling the man not to move as he approaches the woman. Her fear returns and she hits the three numbers that will bring the police. She backs away slowly while the call connects. Mason shoves the .45 back into his waistband, lifts his hands slowly out to his sides, palms out.

He tries to make her understand, to awaken her. “It doesn’t have to be like this. This is not a life, and you can be free.”

Behind Mason the demon of apartment 116 calls out, his grasp on her soul in jeopardy. “You stay away from her. Baby, get the cops.”

The call connects, the dispatch operator’s voice trickles from the small phone speaker for all in the room to hear. Mason and the woman’s eyes linger in each other for several more seconds, Mason gently shaking his head from side to side. “No more.”

“Hello? This is 911 dispatch, is anyone there?”

A child comes from the side hallway and stands at the entrance to the room. The woman’s eyes break away from Mason’s as she turns to her son. Even in the dim light of the room she can see his swollen lip and the bruises on his arms. The child is crying, as he often does. “Mom?”

“911. Is anyone there? Do you need help?”

The woman turns back towards Mason, who stands there waiting for the decision she is making. She looks down at the phone, and as she slowly raises it, presses the red button to freedom. As the call disconnects, she sees her reflection again in the mirror. There beyond the years of beatings, beyond the black eyes and the emotional scars, a glint reflects in her eyes; a spark of life.

Behind Mason the demon roars, his power fading. “What the fuck are you doing?”

Her eyes meet Mason’s, and they speak without words. She nods, just slightly, the decision made, the approval granted, as she turns to grab her son by the hand and lead him out the front door. Behind her she closes the exit of her former prison, now a tomb that her former keeper will never leave again.

The sounds of madness emanate once more from the apartment. The retribution and reckoning is swift, merciless, and brutal. The corridor fills with the sounds of things being broken; things like emotional shackles, control, and human bones.

“Please, I’ll never touch her again, I swear to God.”

“God isn’t here.”

When the police arrive, only fingerprints will positively identify the demon of apartment 116.

apathy

Heaven’s Devils

“Mr. President, I’m sorry to disturb you at this hour but we have a situation.”

“It’s fine. What is it?”

“Goblin Four has gone dark.”

“What do you mean? The Devils? Where are they?”

“We don’t know. We’ve lost communication. They’re no longer responding.”

“Since how long?”

“The last message was two hours ago, around 02:30.”

“And?”

“Sir, they… it was kind of vague.”

“What was the last communication, John?”

“Well, they said they’re coming for you sir.”

HD1

2016: Writing Chaos

2016 is coming. My second year as a published author is coming to a close. For the last few weeks I took time off from writing just to think about it all. I’ve learned a tremendous amount since that first night that I told myself “I think I’ll publish a book.” Not about writing really, because I’ve always been a writer since the days when it was crayons on the wall. But being published, becoming a public figure, making a living at it; that carries a huge learning curve. It’s easy to have unrealistic expectations, and after that it’s easy to just say “Fuck it, I’m done writing.”

I said those words to myself a lot these last few months.

So I stop for awhile, and I fill my time with other things. It works for awhile, and then I start to feel something missing. The placebos I fill my time with only meet 90% of the need. There’s always an itch not quite being scratched; some inner need not being fully fulfilled.

Then I realize it’s because I’m a creative guy. I need to make something, I need to create something. Winning at the game of the week isn’t enough, because I didn’t make it. It has to be mine. I’ve drawn, I’ve played music, I’ve done a variety of different creative things; but the writing has always been the most satisfying. There’s just something about putting words together in special ways that has always been my strength.

So not long after some dark doubtful corner of my mind has whispered to me “you’re done,” I realize I’m not done, I’ll never be done, because I’m a writer, and writers need to write.

So I make plans to push on. 2016 is coming, and with it I plan to unleash writing chaos.

“The Saint of Seven Mile”, the next chapter of Mason Stone’s story is hanging out there somewhere, in a place I can’t talk about at the moment, but it’s going to hit the world very shortly in a big way. In 2016 I will also release the third and final book. Not too long ago I actually wrote the last fateful paragraphs of the life of Mason Stone. For the Saint Monolith fans, you’re going to have your world rocked.

Judgment 2 is coming. I truly think Judgment was my best book, and its such a cool concept, it’s just screaming for other people’s stories to be told. Prepare to white-knuckle your way through that one, I’ve got some really twisted ideas churning.

The Das Vampir legend will continue to grow. Old monsters will die, and new ones will be created in the most unsuspecting of places. In the final short story later in the year, a surprise character from the past is going to re-appear to tie it all together and bring the tale full circle. I plan to release all the short stories under one cover, as one collection by the end of the year.

Vargas is coming. ‘Nuff said.

There are some new things too. There’s an epic pirate tale coming, in which you all have a part as promised. Because after all, this is largely all about you. Yes, I could write forever and never publish anything. But I continue to make things published because you keep giving me amazing feedback, for which I am forever grateful. Every time that little voice whispers to me “you’re done,” someone writes me an email telling me how awesome what they just read was, and they ask me for more.

So more is coming.

Thank you to everyone for all your support over the last two years. There’s a bunch of you that have really made your voices loud on Facebook and some other places, and in January you’ll have something special appear in your mailboxes. I take care of my friends.

I wish everyone happy holidays and a pleasant end to this year.

Buckle up. In 2016, writing chaos is coming.

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