This Author’s Corpse Vow
I died a long time ago.
(So kind of you to notice.)
All that remains is a cavernous, dark shell
Where many of the creations from my once boundless imagination
They tell each other their stories as best as they can remember them
Whispers of legends
Cries of aborted glories
Prophecies that will never come to pass
When my dead eye spies the moon’s corona
Or my hopeless ear catches the soundwave of anthemic rock
My limp hand twitches
My bloated lips tremble
A murmur escapes my feeble lungs
Come close and you can hear:
A so not frail;
A robot in love
A monster in pain
The universe will burn
Who will be saved?”
Then something akin to life escapes this rotting cave.
I died a long time ago
(So kind of you to notice.)
But the stories will come long after I am wormfood.
Of that, my dear reader, I can assure you.
Laying in bed in the perfect dark of my room, a few more hours before sunrise, with my noise canceling earphones on, I feel as if any moment an arm is going to reach out of the nothingness and take hold of me with cold clammy fingers, claws digging into my flesh. It’s eyeless face will come within inches of mine and it will hiss with hot breath upon my cheek, its spittle stinging my eye. I don’t like to think much past that, as if my mind goes dark with the fear that there isn’t much that can happen beyond that. Because I will be scared to death long before the thing’s long dirty teeth sink into my flesh and rend it from my bones.
I don’t know why wearing earphones has become such a fear inducer for me, or when it happened. As a teen I could lay in bed happily listening for hours to Corey Hart, Phil Collins, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, etc. in complete surrender to the sound.
Now it seems that by cutting myself off from the the sounds of the outside world makes me vulnerable to an intruder, or more wildly, a paranormal event.
I suppose the obvious difference is that I am alone. In my youth I was surrounded by family in a large home in a small town. Here and now I live in an apartment on my own in a mid sized metropolitan city with a better than average crime rate and it’s share of sites, historical or condemned, billed as haunted.
And I am older, and I have made some enemies. Or, I sometimes imagine some kid I wronged as a kid myself has grown up with a killer grudge and my middling local celebrity has reached them and sent them over the edge and tonight is the night they are getting even.
Or there are always random acts of violence. And after the worst year of my life, after deciding this is the year that I turn it around, why wouldn’t the universe take this golden opportunity to complete its ultimate bad joke with a senseless death punchline?
I pull my earphones off. I think I heard something. It’s usually the upstairs neighbor doing who knows what at three in the morning. But it’s closer to five now. After five, actually. And the sound was closer. The door to the bathroom maybe?
Anyway, if I die now, thanks for reading. I love most of you. And if I don’t, please comment, share or leave me a message and let me know how I’m doing at this horror stuff.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to try to sleep and dream without seeing that damned raven or the guy with the–
So, yeah, this is a bit of self-promotion, but I am really excited about hyping my new story, Vampire Lost: A Forsaken Stars Tale (a Vampire Azzi prequel!), as well as the Jewel fm Gallery Writers Workshop, a meet that is open to the public and meets monthly at the Jewel fm Gallery. It is a great bunch of people–writers, artists, poets, musicians, teachers, spiritualists–and I am honored to represent them.
So here are the details:
FRESNO ARTHOP VENUE
Art * Music * Food * Drink
Thursday, May 5, 2016,
5:00PM to 8:00PM
Jewel fm Gallery
1415 Fulton St
This Sierra foothills artist has a different perspective on things that surround us…and you’re going to love her photographic art!
Watercolor/mixed media artist. Marilyn is a signature member of the Alliance of California Artists (ACA) and has won many awards. This is a collection you won’t want to overlook.
Special Surprise feature of the Out of this World new book by Rob Lopez complete with his original Space Age Illustrations
Live Music by the CJ Liscum Band!
Merry Christmas! Please enjoy this jaded vision of the future inheritor of the Mantle of Santa Claus.
Joel St. Nick, Last Son of Santa Claus
A Forsaken Stars Tale/Character Concept
My father and I didn’t see eye to eye. He believed in the innate goodness of humankind. I, having spent most of my life on the streets, felt differently. Oh, there are kind-hearted souls out there, don’t get me wrong, and I’m not saying people are inherently evil, either. No, I believe that, by and large, we are all just trying to get by. And the less people we have to look out for, the easier it is to survive. Less attachments, less worry, you know?
Anyway, then everything changed when Christ actually returned. A select few of the billions were swept up to live on the Mount and everyone else was left to fend for ourselves. It was chaos, people were angry. Most wondered what they had or hadn’t done to not be worthy. Some tried to find the rhyme or reason for the forty-thousand or so Chosen. Some maintained that He hadn’t in fact returned, but that it was just another conspiracy and that the illuminati or Masons or Knights Templar or even the Vatican were behind the disappearances, the wars, famines, plagues and natural disasters. But how had they faked the Angels? The vampires, witches and demons that had come out of the woodwork seeking asylum or appearing on the nightly news or social media feeds being smited by said Angels before our eyes? Had they been genetically engineered? Was it all science and cinematic wizardry to instill fear upon the masses to sell government, guns and religion?
No. It was real. I know because my name is Joel St. Nick, and I am the Last Son of Santa Claus.
Okay, have you had a good belly laugh over that? Go ahead, get it out, because I am not shitting you. Yes, Virginia, there is–or at least, was a Santa Claus. Several, really, a corps of them, doing good around the world, not just at Christmastime. But I am descended from the original, the one that was Sainted, yeah. He may have been a Saint, but he wasn’t perfect. He had his indiscretions, and as much as I could confirm it, I am his seventh illegitimate son, half elf, half, well let’s just say American and leave it at that.
The Claus Corps was imbued with all sorts of powers–super strength, speed, endurance, near immortality, the ability to grow really sweet facial hair–and Nicholas himself was said to report directly to Saint Peter at the Gates of Heaven.
But at the time of the Return, Santa and Christ had a kind of falling out over the children. Santa advocated that most of the world’s children be Saved; he couldn’t understand how God’s plan didn’t include them, so he started an underground stellar railroad to try and get as many of the kids as he could off planet and to neighboring star systems.
When God found out, he wasn’t happy and removed the Corps’ powers and left them earthbound like the rest of us. Well sort of. You see, the sons and daughters of the members of the Corps, we still had our powers, I guess because they were genetically passed to us by our folks and not ‘magicked’ into us by our Creator. Though some believed in that “God works in mysterious ways” crap and suggested his plan includes ‘loopholes’ like these to keep life interesting.
So Old Saint Nick asked my brothers and sisters and I to take over, and run a whole mess of kids offworld in one last crazy Hail Mary play. Some of us chickened out before the run and got stuck behind the Godshield. Others dropped their cargo mid-hyperspace and went mad from the guilt. Me, I got my seventeen hundred little buggers to New North Station, made sure no Angels came after them, and after a few years, I got curious about the rest of the universe, said my good-byes and struck out on my own.
I promised them I would come back to check on them from time to time, but after tumbling through a few black wormholes and a dozen lifetimes worth of adventures later, well, let’s just say I am really bad at keeping my promises.
But they say the universe is collapsing in on itself, and something inside me is itching to honor my old man’s memory and try to find a way to make sure those kids, or at least their kids’ kids somehow survive the coming unipocalypse. [Yeah, I make up words sometimes.] And, I am saddened to report that it’s falling on my shoulders alone this time because I have sensed the passing of all my other siblings over the years, like fading stars in a cold night sky. Upon investigation I learned that at least three of them were in fact smited by the Lone Angel Fabius for crimes against God–which of course I say is bullshit. I don’t know if I can take Fabius in a fair fight, but I’ve been known to play dirty to come out ahead.
So I’m putting on my pop’s signature red cap, loading up the star sleigh with a few goodies I’ve picked up along my travels and I’m heading back to New North Station–almost a thousand years late, but hey, you wanna hear something really cool?
We Claus Corps kids, the more gifted among us anyway, have the ability to bend timespace to our will. That’s right–moving forwards or backwards and even stopping time cold in a limited area, usually enclosed, usually about the size of a house or barn. Everything stops, every creature, even the mice.
Okay, sorry, that was corny. But you get the idea.
Anyway, I’m coming, so you’d better watch out!
End AND Beginning!
A little late in coming, but since we’re supposed to turn our clocks back an hour…oh, well, nevermind. Late is late. But maybe some horror fans out there are stretching their celebrations throughout the entire weekend. If so, this list is for you.
Here’s an update on the [mostly horror] films and television series I’ve seen over the course of the latter half of the month. The numbers should start at 22 and go to 31, but until I can figure out how to get this blog to format, just imagine it listed as such. Here’s the link to the first part of the list: Part One.
- Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)– 3 out of 5 Forsaken Stars — has a score that scares and unnerves. I think it’s based on the sounds of a dying mare and purposefully and squeakily letting the air out of a balloon.
- A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014) – 4 out of 5 Forsaken Stars — A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is Black and White Beautiful and a perfect Vampire film. Four out of Five Forsaken Stars mostly because I wanted more, so much more!
- Tremors 5: Bloodlines (2015) — 3 and a half out of 5 Forsaken Stars — It’s really good! Better than the whole first season of Zoo. Michael Gross and Jaime Kennedy give the fifth installment in the tunnel monster frachise their honest best and the campiness takes a backseat to some decent scares, character building and solid cgi! There were some callbacks to the original, some new evolutuonary wrinkles and more than a couple homages to Jurassic Park. Yeah, I miss Reba and Fred Ward, but Kennedy and the new cast deliver, and Gross deserves some kind of horror flick lifetime achievement award.
- Tales from the Darkside the Movie (1990) – 3 and a half out of 5 Forsaken Stars – An oldie but a goodie, this one boasts a cast comprised of Debbie Harry, Christian Slater, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore, Matthew Lawrence and David Johansen in three tales of terror. Tons of crazy practical effects! But hey, it was 1990!
- The Walking Dead – 3 to 4 out of 5 Forsaken Stars, depending on the episode – Okay, so I finally caught up on Season 5 and I have to admit they had some great, thought-provoking episodes balanced with episodes of intense, edge of your seat action. And I can understand why people will riot in the streets if they kill off Daryl Dixon.
- Extinction – 3 and a half out of 5 Forsaken Stars – Always good to see Matthew Fox onscreen. I also love thrillers set in colder climes, the stakes always seem higher somehow, more severe. This film probably has to err more on the side of atmosphere than plot due to budgetary constraints, but the “zombies” are pretty cool, and remind me of the vamps in the similarly located 30 Days of Night, a recent fave of mine. The ending isn’t as harsh, but it’s still harsh.
- Cop Car – 3 and a half out of 5 Forsaken Stars – While technically more of a thriller than a horror flick, this one is fun and has Kevin Bacon as a Bad Sheriff trying to get his car back from a couple of crazy stupid runaway kids. Rides the line between funny and dark, kinda like The Goonies meets Death Proof, only with a much smaller cast and plot.
- The Circle – 4 out of 5 Forsaken Stars – A taut, sci-fi horror thriller that sets fifty people in a room with the power to kill themselves. Is there any escape? Not much room for character development, and yet, it’s all about character!
- Carrie 2: The Rage (1999) – 3 out of 5 Forsaken Stars – Surprised at how many stars of the time were in this – Home Improvement‘s Zachary Ty Bryan, Jason London, Mena Suvari, and the actual connection to the original Carrie, Amy Irving, who played Sue Snell. Look out for the Eddie Kaye Thomas “cameo.”
- All Cheerleaders Die (2013) – 3 and a half out of 5 Forsaken Stars – Hybrid/homage film heavy on The Craft and Lost Boys. I praise it for its character building for the first forty minutes or so, but I think it also weighed the movie down. I almost forgot I was watching a horror film and thought I was watching the next Bring It On or She’s All That and then suddenly it turned all Idle Hands on me. The girls are as drop dead sexy as they are drop dead deadly, but all the characters, girls and guys alike, suffer from severe lack of judgement fails and missed potential. Hopefully the rumored promised sequel has some characters and screenwriters that learn from their mistakes.