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Monday, August 31, 2009

Stay Dead: Kings of the Castle (Part Nine)

The man nearly finished all of the warm beer, and the kids grew tired of playing games. They wanted to go to sleep and made no qualms of making it known. They yawned and stretched, and the man just watched. He had a buzz, but it was a sobering one. It dulled his desire, and made him second-guess his next course of action. He’d always been a patient man. Waiting was in his nature. He saw no reason to rush; their parents were most likely dead and certainly not coming home any time soon. There were no authorities coming to the rescue. He had all the time in the world. The kids left the table and went upstairs to put on their pajamas. The man stayed at the table trying to get another warm sip of beer past his lips.

“Do you kids mind if I stay for the night,” he asked as they climbed the steps.
“Maybe,” Keith said.

The man didn’t like ‘maybe,’ the world was run on yes and no, and nothing else.

Once upstairs in the safety of their makeshift headquarters, Keith locked the door and turned to Kayla. They both had worry in their eyes, and though Connor didn’t, he knew they did.

“This guy is giving me the creeps,” Keith said.
“Big time!” Kayla exclaimed, “he keeps looking at me funny, I’m scared.”
“Yeah, me too,” Keith said quietly.
“We should tell him to leave,” Kayla suggested.
“I don’t think he’ll listen,” he replied.
“What are you talking about,” Connor asked.
“We think this guy might be a bad guy,” Kayla told him.
“Why? He’s not trying to eat us,” Connor said.
“He’s creepy,” she said.
“Yeah…but all grown-ups are,” Connor smiled.

Connor was always full of little bits of wisdom. Grown-ups were creepy, and the more they aged the creepier they became. Hair starts showing up in odd places, skin wrinkles and becomes spotted. Their ears get big, and wobbly, and eventually they die. Even in death they are creepy. Now, after death, they are creepier still.

The man snooped around downstairs. He moved from the kitchen cabinets to the pantry, the window to the base of the stairs. He went from feeling exhilarated to depressed and back and forth between the two. He was a yo-yo ready to snap. The kids had not come downstairs. He started to worry and began pacing back and forth.

Connor, Kayla, and Keith began pushing one of their dressers in front of the door. The one thing they could think of; was to lock themselves inside, and stay far away from the man who now paced around their inherited home. In the course of pushing and shoving, a toy tank fell to the ground and cracked. It made a loud enough noise to be heard in such a quiet house. The man heard it, and walked toward the steps.

“You kids okay?” He called.

They did not respond.

“What are you guys doing?” He asked.

They did not respond.

The creepy man knocked on the door and the kids didn’t answer. He tried the doorknob; it didn’t have a lock. He twisted the knob and pushed forward but the door wouldn’t move—it was blocked.

“What are you guys doing?” He asked again.
“Stay away!” Kayla yelled
“Get out of our house,” Keith followed up.

Connor sat on the edge of his bed. He was as pale as wet paper and trembling. The man laughed. He laughed deep and hard. He seemed to find genuine humor in the situation.
He began shouldering the door. The kids screamed at first, but their fears quickly turned to anger. The man rammed the door again, and the dresser began to budge. The door was now open enough to fit his arm through. He reached his arm in and felt around. Keith grabbed his arm as Kayla and Connor pushed the dresser against the door again. They weren’t strong enough to push it with sufficient force to injure the man, but it did put the man at a disadvantage.
Kayla, having been trapped in her own bedroom before, knew that something had to be done. She pulled the pocketknife from her pants and opened it. The blade was sharp but small. She held it tightly in her fist, the blade pointing downward. Keith was struggling to keep the man’s arm from disappearing behind the door. Kayla raised the knife to shoulder-length, and plunged it down into the man’s wrist. He screamed. The man was able to pull his arm back as Kayla pulled the knife out. She was surprised to see how much blood the small wound left behind. Connor was crying. Keith looked dumbfounded. Kayla looked satisfied. The man continued to scream, and as he did so, he shouldered the door once more.

“Little bitch, little bitch,” he screamed, “let me in!”

…to be continued in Stay Dead: Kings of the Castle Part 10!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Survival of the Dead/George A. Romero's new film!

BTS George Romero Sneak Peek

Stay Dead: Kings of the Castle (Part Eight)

The man’s smile only widened as he stepped inside the house. Connor and Kayla looked at him from the top of the stairs. The man looked at them. He nodded and smiled. Keith closed the door behind him and the man helped to push the couch back in front of the door.

“Thanks, big fellow,” the creepy man said.
“No problem, wouldn’t want the space-slug heads to eat you,” Keith said.
“Space-slug heads?” The man laughed.
“Yeah, they’re nasty,” Keith told him.
“Well, they aren’t space-slugs. Hell’s full to the brim, and God don’t want the rest of us,” the man said.

Connor and Kayla were now at the bottom of the steps. They may not of liked the man, but he had something to say and seemed to know more about what was going on outside than they did. They listened.

“What do you mean,” Kayla asked.
“In the bible it says something about the dead rising from their graves so God can judge the living and the dead. The way it looks out there now, I’d say he took all the good people to heaven and left us sinners here to do whatever we want,” the man smiled.
“Well, we’re not sinners. We’re just kids, and I don’t believe in God,” said Kayla.

The man was clearly flabbergasted by Kayla’s remark. He’d never heard such a powerful statement come from a little girl. He sat on the couch with a grin as big as a truck, and slapped his knee.

“Well, that makes two of us kiddo,” the man said, “God isn’t real. Sure, I went to church--even got a cross in house--but that don’t make him real does it? No, it doesn’t,” he said.
“Me and Connor believe in God and we aren’t sinners,” Keith piped up.
“Sure you are, ever do something you weren’t supposed to do?” the man said.

They all fell silent for a moment. The two boys felt guilt creeping up on their spines. They thought the man might know what he was talking about. Kayla remained unimpressed.

“Oh, come on now, I’m just kidding with you kids. You did a good thing by letting me in here, I could’ve been killed but you chose to save me. God likes it when you do good things like that, but enough serious talk. What do you kids like to do?” the man asked.
“We like to play games,” Connor said.
“Heh, me too, kid. I love games.”

Connor got excited and ran to the closet. He pulled out a few games; Checkers, Trouble, and Clue. Connor didn’t quite grasp Clue all-that well, but he liked the pieces it came with.
They sat at the kitchen table once more. The man had pulled a warm beer from the fridge and opened it with a ring he had on his finger. The kids thought it was a cool trick. As the night progressed they would jump from game to game. They talked and the man answered many questions. He told a lot of tall tales and Kayla remained unimpressed. She could see some of the holes in his stories. The more he drank, the more holes became visible. After a while he began to make expressions that reminded Kayla of some of the older boys that had crushes on her at school. She felt weird around the man now. She felt inside her pocket to make sure her pocket knife hadn’t magically disappeared—it hadn’t.

…to be continued in Stay Dead: Kings of the Castle Part 9!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stay Dead: The Stranger & Tunnel Rats NOW AVAILABLE!

Stay Dead: The Stranger & Tunnel Rats is NOW AVAILABLE! I've been holding off announcing it till I was finished with the site update but it's taking me too long so, GO PICK UP A COPY NOW, please.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.></a>
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Dread Media reviews Stay Dead: The Stranger & Tunnel Rats on episode 101!

Dread Media's Desmond Reddick reviews Stay Dead: The Stranger & Tunnel Rats on episode 101!

101: In this episode of Dread Media, Desmond Reddick settles into triple digits with a review of David Carradine's classic zen / kung fu epic Circle of Iron with Darryll. Then he kicks of Summer Knights with a look at Tombs of the Blind Dead, and reviews Stay Dead: The Stranger & Tunnel Rats by Steve Wands. Tons of feedback and tunes a plenty: "Circle" by Slipknot, "The Lonely Shepherd" by Zamfir, "Goin' Blind" by KISS, "Lady, Stay Dead!" by The Browns, and "Highway 101" by Social Distortion.

Check out Dread Media here:

Monday, August 17, 2009

Stay Dead: Kings of the Castle (Part Seven)

The children continued to sit at the kitchen table long after they filled their bellies. The cereal boxes had mazes and trivia questions on the back and they each took part in the activities. Keith had never given the back of the box more than a passing glance. The television had always been his source of entertainment, but the television wasn’t fun anymore. All the good channels went off the air and all that remained were news reports and emergency broadcasts—grown up stuff and grown up stuff wasn’t fun—so, the backs of cereal boxes would have to do for now.

The man in the van was startled when he heard the firecrackers going off earlier. He waited several minutes before looking out the window to see what was happening outside, and when he did, he noticed the creatures moving away from the house and spreading out. Perfect timing, he thought, and continued to stay away from the window till the things moved out of sight.

Kayla discreetly sniffed at herself. She looked embarrassed and stood up from the table.

“Can I use your shower,” she asked.
“Yeah, why,” Keith replied.
“I haven’t…been able to…” she squeaked out.
“Oh, ok, it’s right upstairs,” he said.
“Thanks,” she said as she ran upstairs.
Connor looked at his brother, “girls are weird,” he told him. “I hate showering,” he continued.
“Yeah, girls are weird all right,” Keith agreed.

The two of them went upstairs into their bedroom once again. They could hear the shower running and what sounded like singing, but they couldn’t make out any words; more evidence of girls being weird. Keith rummaged through his sock draw and pulled out a small blue bottle of cologne. Their father got it for him last year at Christmas. It was the really cheap kind that all kids get when they first start asking for cologne as presents. It smelled like rubbing alcohol and wilted flowers, and after Keith put it on he thought he smelled like a man.

The driver side door of the van creaked open slowly. The man put his foot firmly on the ground and stepped out quietly. He slowly and carefully closed the door behind him. He walked toward the house. His face was red and his palms sweaty. He had plans to do much more than watch tonight.

Kayla found some cotton swabs and cleaned her ears as she stepped out of the bathroom. She exuded a youthful confidence in her appearance after her much needed shower. She was about to ask Keith if he had an extra toothbrush when she heard a noise from outside the front door. She neared the top of the steps and could see the door knob twisting violently. She ran into the boys’ bedroom muttering something the boys’ couldn’t understand and practically leapt out the window. She could see a man trying to get in the front door. Keith and Connor also hung out the window in disbelief, relieved it wasn’t another monster.

“Hey,” Keith called down to him. “What are you doing,” he continued.
“Uh, can you help me? Those things are going to eat me if you don’t let me in,” the man said.
“Okay, hang on,” Keith said.

Keith left his spot at the window to run downstairs. Kayla and Connor looked at the man curiously. They had never seen him before. He smiled at them as Keith opened the door.

…to be continued in Stay Dead: Kings of the Castle Part 8!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Stay Dead: Kings of the Castle (Part Six)

Nightfall came quickly for the kids but the creatures could care less. They continued to pull and pry at the siding, to scrape at the doors, and claw at the windows. Keith, Connor, and Kayla sat cross-legged in the center of their room with the window open. They hoped by being quite that maybe the things would forget, or find something else to chase after, as they often did. There were too many this time, it was as if they kept each other going.

The man in the van had given up on watching and crawled to the back of the van where he would be out of eyesight. He snuggled up on a bench seat and wrapped himself in a child’s blanket. The blanket had little farm animals arranged in an obnoxious pattern. He closed his eyes and hoped he could catch a few winks before introducing himself to the kids.

Connor’s eyebrow moved up in curios arc. He had an idea. “Firecrackers,” he mumbled.

“What,” Keith asked his younger brother.

“Firecrackers,” he repeated.

“Oh, man! Why didn’t I think of that,” Keith said.

“Think of what,” Kayla asked sheepishly.

“We can distract them with firecrackers,” Keith said excitedly.

“Mom took them away from me… she hid them in her closet,” Keith frowned.

They hunched over and snuck over to Keith and Connor’s parent’s bedroom. They didn’t often venture into their room. The family pictures made them sad and often pulled tears from their eyes. The room smelled of perfume, clean linens, and looked just as it did before the monsters came. Keith opened the closet door and his father’s work shirts hung across the distance from wall to wall. Aside from different colors they might as well have been the same shirt. Connor pulled a step stool from the back of the closet and Keith used it to reach the top shelf where his mother had hid the firecrackers she took from him a few months ago. He had completely forgotten he had ever had them. His small hand felt around the dusty shelf and could feel only boxes. So, he pulled them down and handed them one by one to Kayla and Connor. Then Keith stepped off the stool and they all began rummaging through the boxes. They came across old photographs and keepsakes, a pack of cigarettes and a lighter, lingerie, and adult magazines. They opened the last box and found a treasure trove of all the things their parents had taken away from the over the years; a pocket knife, whoopee cushion, throwing stars, plenty of other juvenile trinkets and of course the firecrackers. Connor jumped and grabbed them. Keith grabbed the lighter and throwing stars. Kayla grabbed the pocket knife. They all hurried back to their room and tiptoed toward the window.

Keith lit the first pack of firecrackers and launched it out the window. It landed on the front lawn a few feet past the persistent creatures. It crackled and popped. The noise caused many of the dead things to turn toward the noise. Keith lit another pack and was able to throw it a foot or two further. The same noise and the same result; most of the creatures were now away from the house. The rear of the house still had a number of them biting and scraping at the walls. Keith, now in the bathroom, threw the last package of firecrackers out the window which faced the back yard. It worked. All the creatures Keith could see were now moving away from the house in search of a noise they would never be able to find. The three of them high-fived each other and then headed downstairs to the kitchen. Keith grabbed three giant bowls and spoons. Connor pulled a variety of cereal boxes from the pantry and put them on the table. He then grabbed a bottle of soda. The milk was long-gone so, the three of them ate cereal and soda till they felt as if they would pop.

…to be continued in Stay Dead: Kings of the Castle Part 7!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Stay Dead: Kings of the Castle (Part Five)

Keith grabbed Kayla by the arm and ran to the back of his house, they didn’t exactly have a back door but Keith’s home had a set of steel doors that led into the basement. Connor ran downstairs to the basement. Keith opened the steel door and he and Kayla climbed in and closed it. They sat on cement stairs in a small dark nook between the steel doors and the door that Connor now unlocked. Dead hands grasped and clawed at the steel doors.

They slowly crept upstairs being sure not to make anymore noise than what was necessary. Keith led the way as his chest still-pounded with adrenaline. Connor looked a little scared and Kayla had the expression of abject terror. Before too long they were huddled by their bedroom window and peeking out. There were dozens upon dozens of the dead things surrounding the home. It was more than they had ever seen. They saw a kid in the group, a friend of Keith’s from school. The entire side of his body was mangled. His innards hung slightly out of his stomach. They gasped and moved away from the window.

Hours passed and the creatures outside still tried to claw there way inside the house. The sun hung over head and Connor wondered where the birds had gone. He wondered if they would come back to distract the monsters once again, leaving the monsters to forget he, his brother and Kayla were inside.

Outside, far from view from the children, was a man in an old dark blue van peering through the lens of his binoculars. He licked his chapped lips and hoped the kids would look out the window again. He loved kids, always did. He loved them something fierce and enjoyed watching them every chance he could. He used to sit at the playground, reading his paper and watching the kids play. The playgrounds are empty now, but the burning itch deep inside the man’s gut needs to be scratched anyway. Now, he wonders if he can do more than watch.

…to be continued in Stay Dead: Kings of the Castle Part 6!