Image by Michael Zimmermann from Pixabay

Just found a great resource for new places to submit my short stories – Online Magazines and Periodicals. I’ve already started going through the list. The only trouble is that periodicals often have specific submission windows, so I’ll have to wait for some of these to open submissions again for their upcoming issues.

Still, it’s good information to have on hand. The site I found is here: https://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com/2018/05/mega-list-of-paying-markets-for-horror.html

Let me know if you find it useful. Or, better yet, let me know if you have other resources.

Talk again, soon,

Danothy

As part of my research into all things authoring, I have begun researching the websites / blogs of some of my peers - seeing how they do things & looking for tips and tricks.

FOUND ONE...

Brandon McNulty is a fellow writer I met at StokerCon. I've been to two of these conventions-- Grand Rapids, MI in 2019 and Providence, RI in 2018. If you've never been, I highly recommend it. In 2020 the convention will be held in the UK.

Anyhoo, I found out that Brandon has his own website, complete with blog entries, one of which

I found quite... arresting. (snicker, chuckle, snort...)

Does your story include someone arresting or being arrested? Have an upcoming scene involving handcuffing a suspect? (or sex partner, just sayin'...) This blog post has the step - by - step instructions on doing it properly. (Photo by niu niu on Unsplash)

http://brandonmcnulty.com/writers-police-academy-handcuffing/#comment-8

Joe Hill's Full Throttle

Just finished Joe Hill's new book of short stories, Full Throttle, and I loved it. A couple of the stories were written with daddy, Steve, but more importantly, the guy is a great horror author in his own right.

The title story is a tribute to the 1971 television movie Duel. You might remember Dennis Weaver driving through the desert and being terrorized by an old tanker truck. Throughout the movie, he (and consequently, we) never actually sees the driver, so the crux of the movie becomes "Who is in that truck and why is he trying to kill Dennis Weaver?"

Incidentally, that movie was directed by Steven Spielberg, well before the name became famous - four years before the movie Jaws and six before Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Another story that particularly stands out is "In the Tall Grass", which has just been released as a movie on NetFlix. They could have made a series out if it, much like Shudder did with NOS4A2.

But my absolute favorite is a story I wrote about before when it came out in a collection of short stories last year called Flight or Fright. The story is called "You Are Released" and I still think it's the best short story I've ever read.

If you aren't yet familiar with Joe's work, this book is a great way to get to know the man's stories. And if you already know and love the guy, this book won't disappoint.

If you’ve come this far, thank you for your patience, both with my timing and with the subject matter. Here is the conclusion. Hope you like it.

Dana

Saturday, March 25th. It was the longest day of her life. Both Bobby and Ray had come over and had spent the better part of the day helping Jerry abuse her in new and more amusing ways. By afternoon both her eyes were black and her jaw was swollen on the left side. Her right wrist was still swollen and she had bruises covering most of her body. As the day, and her torment, droned on, Becky endured silently, only maintaining her sanity by repeatedly telling herself that it was almost over.

After supper Jerry told her to get back in her closet, and he’d come lock her in. Without a word, Becky obeyed. Normally she’d be the after-dinner entertainment, but if they were going out early, so much the better. It would give her a chance to rest up for her escape tonight. Jerry let her out about 7:30 to go to the bathroom and gave her a sandwich and glass of water before putting her back in the closet and making a show of locking the door.

She had expected another beating, but it never came. Not that she minded being left alone, of course. She didn’t dwell on it much. She was just thankful for small favors.

She heard them slam the front door and drive off in Jerry’s pickup. After a few minutes, when the house was quiet, she retrieved the key and unlocked the closet door. She peered cautiously into the deserted hallway, half expecting a trap. Other than herself, the house was empty.

Minutes later Becky was in the bedroom, dressing herself in one of Jerry’s old chambray work shirts as quickly as her sore, bruised body would allow. She tried on an old pair of his tennis shoes, but they were comically too big for her feet, so she settled for two pairs of his socks.

Another few minutes later she slipped out of the house for the last time, looking back once more at the closet door which had held her prisoner. Then she turned and headed for Zeke’s. She never saw that closet door again. Nor did she notice Jerry’s pickup parked down the street in Ray’s driveway.

~~~

Zeke’s, The Trucker’s Haven. Just off I-69 at the exit to Bartlett. The main building housed the restaurant, gift shop, rest rooms and showers for truckers and travelers of all types. It boasted ten diesel fueling stations on the south lot and twelve gasoline fueling stations in front, with enough parking to accommodate thirty trucks and twenty cars. Open 24 by 7, there was always someone at Zeke’s.

And now there was someone behind Zeke’s, walking toward an overgrown footpath which lead into a section of woods bordering on Yellowwood State Forest, wearing a man’s shirt several sizes too big for her and placing her stockinged feet gingerly on the gravel that defined the end of the service road.

And now there was someone else behind Zeke’s, staying well behind the first figure, carrying what looked like a miniature baseball bat; a tool the truckers referred to as a ‘tire thumper.’ This second someone was joined by two companions, each carrying their own make-shift weapons—a tire iron and a large kitchen knife.

They waited beside the dumpster and watched until the first figure had disappeared into the woods. Then, with a grim nod at his companions, the second someone led the way onto the path after her.

Once in the woods, Becky had to slow her pace. Out of the range of streetlamps from Zeke’s, her journey was illuminated only by the gibbous moon peeking through the trees. The further she went into the woods, the more difficult it was to see. By the time she reached the campsite, her eyes had adjusted to the dark a bit and she sat down on a large stone in front of the firepit, wondering if it would be wise to hide in the nearby undergrowth until Werewolf arrived.

Of course he’ll be in human form tonight. The moon’s not full enough to transform. Or, maybe he’s really a vampire.  That’s what he told me, after all.

She grinned weakly at her own humor, trying to convince herself that the idea was nothing more than a jest. She was alone in the woods at night, with nothing but the sound of peepers and tree frogs to keep her company. When their cacophony abruptly subsided, the grin faded from her face.

Someone was approaching. Someone with a powerful flashlight, which should have been comforting, except that it was pointed directly at her face. She turned her eyes away too late. She was temporarily blinded.

Then her heart sank as a familiar voice said, “Well, son of a bitch! You were right, Ray. I guess I owe you a six pack after all.” Before she could react, the tire thumper connected with the side of her head and she slumped to the ground.

~~~

“It’s about time you showed up! You are her knight in shining armor, right? Where the Hell have you been, son?”

Becky was dreaming. In the dream Jerry and another man were facing off for a gunfight. They were about to shoot it out and she was the prize. In her dream, she was lying by a campfire on a wet, red blanket. Then she saw the man’s face. It was a wolf who had come to save her.

Realization dawned and she opened her eyes. This was no dream, although she was beside a small fire. She lay on a red blanket, or, more accurately, in a red pool. She ached all over as if someone had beaten her with a…

Oh, of course. Someone had.

Her vision was doubled and everything seemed hazy and dreamlike. Her attention was drawn to that cute guy from the wedding picture standing close to the fire, surrounded by Jerry, Ray and Bobby. He had walked into a trap! She had to warn him!  Fighting the pain and dizziness, she tried to get up.

 “Werewolf, don’t…” was all she could whimper before Bobby shut her up with a blow from his tire iron. Pain flared in her arm where the metal struck and she heard the bone break. She fell back to the dirt, unable to move. She grimaced and blinked back tears. Judging by the pain in her ribs and left thigh, the arm wasn’t the only thing that had been broken tonight.

 “Okay, you know who I am. Now, who the hell are you?”

“Oh!, I’m soooo sorry! Where are my manners?” Jerry sneered.

Blackness threatened to overtake Becky’s mind and she fought to remain awake. Fading in and out of consciousness, she couldn’t keep track of their conversation. She was jolted awake by a crunching noise accompanied by Bobby’s voice screaming in pain. In her mind Becky grinned to herself. Maybe this would turn out alright after all.

“YOU SON OF A BITCH! That does it!” Jerry bellowed. Then there was a gunshot. Becky was pretty sure it was Jerry’s Colt 1908 pocket pistol, the one he called his ‘pea shooter.’

She could barely move, but she had to know. And when she forced her eyes open, her worst fears were confirmed. Werewolf had a large hole in the center of his forehead. His body apparently didn’t know he was dead yet, because he hadn’t fallen down. Her heart went out to him. He had come to help her, was murdered for his trouble and there was nothing she could do about it. Her conscience told her that his death was her fault, but she knew that her guilt would be short lived. The next bullet would be for her.

Then the impossible happened.

“Lousy shot, Jerr. Are you sure that thing’s loaded?”

Did the bullet miss him? No, the hole was still in his forehead, but he was alive!

…to be completely honest, I’m a vampire, but the name Dracula was already taken…

As the battle turned, that age-old knowledge she’d carried with her ever since 5th grade came back.

Monsters are really real.

She was looking at one, though it obviously wasn’t a werewolf. Even Betty Jo would have agreed, though it still looked pretty much like the guy she met on Baal. Only the face had changed. The eyes had become small points of red fire and fangs protruded from its mouth, preparing to rip out Jerry’s throat. Becky watched in horrid fascination as the monster drew its victim close for the kill. Her mind was reeling, trying to grasp the scene unfolding before her.

And then it clicked. He was a vampire. And he was about to bite Jerry, which would make him a vampire, too!

Becky cried out a small, desperate, “No!”

The monster hesitated at her cry. For a moment, everything was still. In her mind she saw visions of Jerry and his buddies continuing to torment her, but now they had glowing red eyes and long, sharp fangs. As the undead, they would live forever; torment her forever. She couldn’t allow that.

“Don’t hurt them.” she pleaded, “Please. You’ve got me. Let them go.”

Too weak to hold herself up, she dropped back into her expanding pool of blood. She must have blacked out again because the next thing she knew, the others were gone and Werewolf was in front of her, his face showing great concern. He looked normal again, except for the bullet hole in his head.

Her mind was lost in a whirlwind, part of her wondering how he could possibly be alive, part of her trembling in the knowledge that he wasn’t, and part of her not caring, just glad that he had come. As he reached for her, she found the terror more powerful than the gratitude.

She cringed.

“It’s alright now. Nobody’s going to hurt you.” And then, “You’re bleeding pretty badly.”

But Becky was barely listening to his words.  Her mind was too busy replaying every vampire movie she had ever seen. None of them cast the monster as the good guy. But if he wasn’t the good guy, then who was? Maybe there would be another plot twist and the good guy would show up.

Or worse, maybe there was no good guy.

Then it no longer mattered. The movie was over. Becky watched the screen fade to black and waited for the credits to roll. She liked reading the credits after a movie. Now she’d find out who the good guy was.

But, instead of credits, she heard more dialogue.

“Becky, listen to me. I need you to hang on a few more minutes. Here, swallow this.” 

~~~

A week later, in his garage, Jerry Felder’s birthday celebration was finally over. It had been pretty fucking spectacular, though not quite as satisfying as it would have been if his ole’ lady had been there.

But no problem; he’d found another girl to take her place. Ray and Bobby had come over. Bobby was still on crutches from that fight behind Zeke’s (and they’d put those crutches to good use, hadn’t they?) His wristwatch now read 11:56 p.m. and his friends had gone home.

The new girl, if she were conscious, would probably agree with Becky that monsters are really real. She was slumped on the floor of the garage, bruised and bloody from the ‘spectacular show’ she had recently starred in. Jerry was amusing himself one last time before calling it a night. His amusement was interrupted by a knock at the door.

“Sweet Christ, Ray! Can’t you even give us a moment of privacy?” Jerry swore as he opened the door.

But it wasn’t Ray.

Kneeling just outside the door, wearing a large chambray work shirt with enough of the top unbuttoned to show her body beneath was his old lady. Her wounds and bruises were gone and her face looked as young and vibrant as the first day he met her. She looked up at him with those big green eyes and said, “Happy Birthday.”

Jerry’s reaction was to jump back in fear, tripping over the lawn mower and falling on his ass, his look of stark terror nearly comical. He reached inside his shirt and pulled out a silver cross, which he’d kept on a chain around his neck ever since the big fight last Saturday. Holding it in front of himself, he croaked at Becky, “You’re not welcome here! Go away!”

“Will you at least listen? Please?” her tone was subdued and she didn’t move.

Jerry thought for a second. You could almost see the wheels turning in his head as an ugly, little smile formed on his lips, “Okay. Sure, I’ll listen to you. All you gotta do is grab hold of this cross. Then I’ll listen to anything you have to say.”

Becky’s hand reached out calmly and he pressed the metal into her palm.

No reaction. No fire or smoke. No sizzling flesh.

Nothing.

She held onto the cross for a moment, curling her fingers around it, and brought it to her lips. Looking him right in the eye, she licked it seductively before letting it go.

The obvious question was painted on Jerry’s face and Becky answered it.

“He never bit me. He kept swearing his eternal love, but wouldn’t even touch me without asking permission. How could I love a man like that?”

“Oh, sure! And he just let you go, right?”

“He let you go when I told him to, didn’t he? He did everything I said. He told me I was the reincarnation of a woman he had loved before, that I would remember after a while and that I would grow to love him again, but he was wrong. I could never love a monster like that. 

“After a few days, when I was still unhappy, he offered to give me anything I desired, ” she looked down, coyly, “I told him that I desired you. I never realized it before, but you’re the kind of man I want, Jerry. The only real man I’ve ever been with.”

Jerry felt himself rising to the occasion at her last words, but part of him still wasn’t convinced. Although, for the life of him, he couldn’t imagine why.

She was absolute perfection; her rich, luxurious hair, her perfect, unblemished body, her full red lips and her brilliant green eyes—he could get lost in those eyes. Her scent was positively erotic—a delicious female musk hinting of desire and passion, with just a hint of… cinnamon, maybe?

But as enticing as she appeared, there was definitely something wrong about her. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it.  

Unphased by his lack of response, Becky continued, “He got really mad at me then. He cursed and yelled.” Her hypnotic eyes bore into his. “Then he cried.”

Jerry’s eyes lit up. He inhaled her musk deeply. If anything, it made her more irresistible than before.

She continued. “I argued with him until finally he let me go. And I made him promise never to bother you or your friends.”

Jerry was sold, although he didn’t want her to know that. He needed to maintain the upper hand here, keep her off balance. He challenged her.

“So, why’d you wait ’til nightfall to show up? Why didn’t you come during the day?”

“He just let me go a few hours ago. I took a taxi straight here – I even made him pay for it. I wanted to show up in time for your birthday.  But I could wait out here until morning if you like and when the sun comes up you’ll see that I’m nothing to be afraid of.”

Again, the wheels turned fast and furious in Jerry’s mind as he considered his options; First of all, he wasn’t afraid of anything. He’d fought a vampire and walked away unharmed. Second, the cross didn’t hurt her. He’d seen enough movies to know that vampires can’t touch crosses. Third, her story could be true. He wouldn’t be a bit surprised to find that all vampires are as sappy as that one obviously was. What a fucking loser!

And finally, she had leaned slightly forward as she spoke, causing the shirt to hang open even more, exposing those ripe little tits that were positively begging to be used by him—the  only real man she had been with. Adding all those points in his head, he made his decision.

“Alright,” looking at his watch, “But it’s past midnight. My birthday is officially over now. Hell, it’s not even March anymore, so you’ll have to apologize for being late. I’ve also recruited another girl, so the two of you will have to learn to play together nicely.”

“I don’t mind.”

“One last thing. That shirt. He gave it to you?”

She nodded.

“Well, I don’t like it. So take it off and get your ass in here.”

Becky stood and walked inside the garage, closing the door behind her. She began to slowly remove the shirt, as if doing a strip tease for him.

” There was a message he wanted me to give you.”

Jerry’s eyes were glued to her body as she revealed herself completely. She was even more perfect than he had remembered. Her skin was pristine, with not a single blemish anywhere. Barely listening, he replied, “Oh, yeah? And what’s that? Happy Birthday?”

Becky stepped forward and smiled a toothy smile, displaying her long sharp incisors.

“April Fools…” she replied.

~~~

In the past week Becky learned a great deal from her new master. The movies had gotten it completely wrong. She knew, now, that it wasn’t the cross which posed a deterrent to their kind, it was the faith of the wielder, assuming they had any. Jerry had none. She knew that she couldn’t enter a house, or attached garage, unless invited by the owner. Jerry had invited her in.

But, most importantly, she now understood that drinking a victim’s blood—even to the point of exsanguination—did not turn humans into vampires. She’d joined the undead only because her master offered her his own blood. It was his gift to her and she had accepted gratefully.

She let her tongue flick over her fangs seductively. Her eyes shone like small points of red fire. Her fingers hooked into claws. She grinned maliciously at the growing look of terror on Jerry’s face.

It was going to be a long night. This evening there would be Hell to pay, but this time she was not the debtor. She let the shirt fall to the floor and stepped forward to embrace her old lover.

END

Thank you for reading “Wolf Girl”. I hope you enjoyed it. As I said in an earlier post, it’s the first story I ever had published. You can find more on Amazon Kindle.

Talk with you again, soon.

Dana (Danothy)



You may want to go back and read the last chat in part 1, there were a few changes, which hopefully foreshadow things to come. Here is part 2.

Enjoy,

Dana (Danothy)

~~~

On Wednesday night Becky signed on as WG27 and checked to see if Werewolf was there. She was delighted to find him waiting with a picture of himself. It was a wedding photo, but he had marked up his ex-wife’s face with a pencil, giving her horns and a devil’s tail. He was cute,

But then, so’s Jerry. It doesn’t make him a nice guy. I need to learn more about this guy, make sure I’m not jumping from one bad relationship into another.

She took another selfie with Jerry’s camera and uploaded it. She wore the black nightie negligee he’d bought for her last October. Werewolf was intrigued.

[Werewolf] Looks like you made a few alterations to your nightgown.

[WG27] Do you like it?

[Werewolf] Well, not that I’m complaining, but I it screams ‘Look at me. I’m all but naked.’ I take it the strategic rips in the fabric were your own modifications.

[WG27] Yeah. Jerry bought it for me last October. He wanted to take some sexy pictures for Halloween. I carried a kitchen broom, not very authentic, but that’s all we could come up with. I wore this and a witch’s hat… for a little while, at least. (wink). He uploaded a whole series of those pix, but not on this board. Just as well. I’d be embarrassed to let you see them. They get pretty wild.

[Werewolf] Whoa! TMI. I don’t need to know the details, although it sounds like you had a fun time.

[WG27] Actually, I was embarrassed about the whole idea, but he loved it. Unfortunately, around Thanksgiving things started going downhill between us.

[Werewolf] Yeah, I’m guessing black eyes were not part of your original relationship dynamic. But, I don’t get it. Did he lose interest in you?

[WG27] No, but his interests have taken a turn for the worse. Why can’t things ever stay the same? I didn’t mind the bondage and discipline so much because I knew it really turned him on. That’s what brought us together in the first place. But then, it wasn’t enough anymore. He wanted to take it farther, more violent. He started hurting me, said it brought out the real man in him. Now, that’s all he wants.

[Werewolf] So tell him where you draw the line.

[WG27] I can’t do that! He’d kill me, literally. Between him and his two friends they’d beat me to death. Well, Jerry would beat me. The other two would just… Y’know what? I don’t want to talk about this anymore. Can we change the subject, please?

[Werewolf] Okay, but first, let me just see if I got this straight. He doesn’t treat you the way you want anymore. He beats you. His friends rape you. And you’re afraid to do or say anything about it because it would only make things worse? Nikki, you need to get out of that house. Now.

[WG27] I can’t do that! I got no transportation, no money, and nowhere to go! What am I gonna do, call an Uber?

[Werewolf] I could call an Uber for you. Or, if you want, I could come and get you. Right now. Just tell me where you are. Your profile for Nikki says Bartlett, but it doesn’t say where.

Becky hesitated. The thought of running away suddenly made her nervous. Even if she did manage to get away from Jerry unscathed, she didn’t actually know this Werewolf guy. He might turn out to be just as bad. Heck, he could be worse. He was trying to find out where she lived, he’d even checked her profile. Was that stalking? Thank goodness Jerry had insisted they not complete their profiles on BAAL. ‘We don’t want the whole world to know where to find us, do we?’ he’d said. And he’d been right. She couldn’t just give her address to some stranger she met online.

[Werewolf] Nikki?

Panic flared in her breast. Werewolf was going to be angry with her now. If he were here, he’d probably yell at her, tell her how stupid she was for not trusting him, maybe even smack her around to make his point.

All men were like that down deep. They acted sweet in the beginning, but  once she disobeyed—like not telling him where to find her—out came the fists. He could even be a bigger monster than Jerry, but by the time she figured it out, it would be too late. Better the monster you know, right?

[Werewolf] You still there?

And there was no way she could leave Jerry, not because she wanted to stay, but because of what he’d do if he caught her. Making Jerry angry was never a good idea. Her black eye and the bruises on her arm were proof of that. It’d be easier if she just waited until he grew tired of her, threw her out of the house. That day was in the not-too-distant future. If she could just bide her time until then, she wouldn’t have to confront him. He’d end the relationship and then she could move on to something better.

 [Werewolf] Look, if you don’t feel comfortable with me, then at least go to the police. You’re being abused and raped. It’s gotta stop.

There were no police out here, only the county sheriff’s office, but she couldn’t go to them. One of Jerry’s friends was a deputy, and not the good kind. Ray was the type of deputy who pilfered drugs from the evidence locker. He used his authority to intimidate women into subservience. Werewolf didn’t understand that going to the authorities was not an option. And it might not be safe for her to explain that, even in a private chat room—

“What the hell are you doing?”

Becky’s heart leapt into her throat as she turned to see Jerry, Bobby, and Ray — still in uniform—standing in the doorway behind her.

“I didn’t—”

But those two words were all she got out before Jerry’s fist landed.  

~~~

            When she awoke in the dark, Becky felt around, trying to get her bearings. After a moment, she realized they’d put her in the closet. She tried to open the door and was not surprised to find it locked. The house was built in the early 1900s and several interior doors, including this one, had the old locks which took a skeleton key. Jerry had three or four keys in his junk drawer.

After catching her on the computer, Jerry had beaten her senseless, then locked her in here. Judging by the tenderness of her feminine parts and the dried blood on her thigh, he and his friends had also ‘done her’ while she was unconscious. At least she was familiar with the closet. This wasn’t the first time she’d been imprisoned here.

For several days she remained locked in her makeshift cell, only allowed out to use the toilet or provide carnal entertainment. Jerry let his buddies strip her of the negligee and then they burned all her clothes in the fireplace, even her shoes. He said she’d be less likely to try an escape attempt without anything to wear. Becky suspected the reason had more to do with their male libidos than her intimidation.  Now that she was constantly naked, Bobby and Ray began molesting her every time they let her out.

But Jerry was worse. No longer interested in ‘doing her’, he had Ray handcuff her the hands behind her and then pummeled her with his fists. Each beating was accompanied by a lecture.

“You belong to me. And I don’t give up what’s mine. Oh, I might pass you around to my friends for a quick game of ‘interrogate the prisoner’ because that’s about all you’re good for these days. But you’re mine and your gonna stay mine until I decide otherwise, which will be never!

Later that night they forced her to pose for another picture, flipping the bird at the camera, and sent that to Werewolf along with a note, telling him to go fuck himself. She had resisted savagely until Jerry beat her into submission. By the time she acquiesced, both eyes were swollen and blood trickled from her nose. Then they ‘did her’ again and she was dumped back into the closet. As she lay on the floor bruised and bleeding, Becky realized she was going to die if she didn’t get out of there soon.

~~~

Becky woke up and tried for the hundredth time to open the door. She had to use her left hand because her right wrist was swollen and painful. She knew it was hopeless. The door was always locked. But she had to keep trying.

Nikki, you need to get out of that house. Now.

Too late, she realized Werewolf’s advice had been spot on. If she had left then, when he told her to, she might not be in this predicament. But she had squandered her chance worrying about going from a bad situation to a worse one.

Well, at least that’s no longer a concern. It can’t get any worse than this.

Now she’d never get another opportunity. Jerry had caught her in the act of planning her escape—his words—and. She was now his prisoner, battered, bruised, and locked away where nobody would be able to help her.

The tumblers clicked and the door slid open quietly. The sound filled her with such panic that she pulled the door closed again. Was this a trap, another opportunity for Jerry to catch her trying to run away, so he could beat her again?

You’re being abused and raped. It’s gotta stop.

“Easy for you to say, you’re not the one being brutalized,” she muttered. But his words rang true. Nobody was going to stop Jerry. Nobody was going to come galloping to her rescue. If she was going to get out of this, she’d have to do it all by herself. She forced the terror back down into the pit of her stomach and opened the closed door.

Suspecting a trap, Becky peeked out. The hallway was clear. The sound of Jerry’s snoring came from the bedroom. Daylight barely illuminated the front door window, so it was early morning. Maybe she could escape out before he woke up. As a precaution, she took the key sticking out of the lock and hid it inside the closet, just behind the door frame.

First came the bathroom, to relieve her aching bladder. She tiptoed past the bedroom door, Jerry’s snores reassuring her that she was safe… for now. She was dismayed to find blood in her urine, but there was nothing she could do about it right now. First she had to escape with her life, but how? Where could she go and how could she get there?

She’d have to leave on foot. She could go through the wooded lot across the street, then follow Brush Creek out to the big gas station by the interstate. But she’d have to stay out of sight. If anyone saw her beaten this badly, they’d call the sheriff’s office. Then Ray would know, and he’d tell Jerry, and Jerry would kill her, literally.

Werewolf would come and get her, if she could only contact him. But how?

Only one thing came to mind. It was a long shot, but she didn’t see any other option. So she quietly tiptoed into the computer room. Listening to the sounds of Jerry’s snore through the wall, she turned the PC on, praying he hadn’t changed the password – he hadn’t. That was the only nice thing she could think about Jerry, he always thought he held all the cards.

She tried to log onto Baal as WG27, but the account had been deleted. She didn’t want to send a note as Nikki because Jerry would be able to see it, so she tried to create a new free account, using the username WonderWoman.

Nope, That was taken, as was Wonderwoman02.

It doesn’t matter. I’m only going to send one note and then I’ll never use it again, anyway.

She tried the username RLV22, her real initials and age, and found it available. A few moments later, she sent the note.

     Werewolf, I’m sorry about that last note. Of course you realizet I didn’t write it. That was Jerry. He swore he’d kill me before letting me go – nearly did, too.

     You offered to come get me. I’ll be at Zeke’s tonight after dark. That’s a truck stop on I-69 at Bartlett. Around back there’s a footpath going into the woods. About half a mile in there’s a campsite. I’ll wait for you there. If I don’t see you tonight, then I’ll come back again tomorrow night.

     I’m sorry to place this in your lap so abruptly, but I’m desperate. Please come.  Becky (WolfGirl.)

Tiptoeing into the bedroom, she opened the bottom drawer of the dresser, hoping he hadn’t actually destroyed her entire wardrobe. Jerry’s snore was obnoxious, but at least it meant he was sleeping soundly. The drawer was empty, so she quietly pushed it shut and tried the next one.

Everything was gone.

Shit! The one task Jerry actually completes and it has to be destroying all my stuff.

She froze as Jerry snorted and rolled over in bed. She held her breath, praying that he’d start snoring again. Several seconds passed in total silence. He farted loudly, but didn’t resume snoring.

If he caught her trying to grab clothes and run, he’d kill her. Was he awake? Or was he still sleeping? Fear got the better of her. She couldn’t take the chance of getting caught. And she had a key to the closet now, she could escape at the next opportunity. Quickly, she snuck back out of the room.

Jerry shifted his weight on the bed. He was getting up!  Becky scurried down the hallway as fast and quietly as she could, re-entered the closet and pulled the door to, keeping the knob turned so that the latch wouldn’t make a sound. As she slowly released the latch, she heard Jerry close the door to the bathroom.  she inserted the key and locked herself in, then listened as Jerry did his business, flushed the toilet and returned to bed.

Her lungs burned, she’d been holding her breath ever since leaving Jerry’s bedroom, terrified of making any sound. Now, finally safe again, she let out the stale air with a whoosh and gasped for more. The movement sent a flare of pain up her left side where she’d received a roundhouse kick the night before and she quickly slowed her breathing. She closed her eyes and forced herself to breathe more slowly, willing her terror to diminish as well. But the terror wouldn’t go completely away.

That had been too close.

~~~

Now that it was daylight, she couldn’t rely on Jerry going back to sleep. She’d have to wait until this evening, when he went out drinking with his buddies. Then she’d find something to wear, sneak out of the house and never look back. With a little luck, she’d leave this house forever.

She was too worked up to sleep, even when she heard the bed’s squeaky protest as Jerry plopped back down on it, but she was going to need all her strength. So she curled up on the floor and closed her eyes.

She was a prisoner, locked up like an animal, completely at the mercy of her keeper. Her mind drifted back to the bunny they’d kept in a cage at the back of their classroom in 5th grade. He’d always seemed content, but Becky wondered if he’d felt trapped and helpless, just as she was now.

The bunny’s name was Mr. Wiggles. She and Betty Jo Hampton were best friends back then and Betty Jo’s daddy had donated the cage. Even though all the children took turns refilling Mr. Wiggles’ food and water, it was Betty Jo who was unofficially ‘in charge’ of his care. Becky helped clean the shelf beneath the cage at the end of each day, dumping out the old paper with the little poops on it. Mr. Hibbert, the custodian, kept a pile of newspapers in the utility room and allowed them to take fresh pages each day to replace under the cage.

Becky remembered confiding to Betty Jo that the little poops looked suspiciously like candy crunches. They giggled furiously at the idea of offering some to the boys in class. In the tiny broom closet of Jerry Felder’s house, she grinned at the memory.

One afternoon the whole school was called to assembly. A police detective lectured them all about Stranger Danger:  Don’t talk to strangers. Never walk anywhere alone. Always play in groups with your friends.

Betty Jo said it was because of Freddy Shankwell, who’d been murdered by a pervert. Of course, nobody actually told them that, but rumors spread around school. During recess Jeff Gromer argued that Freddy had been attacked by monsters, but three days later, while getting clean newspaper for Mr. Wiggles’ cage, Betty Jo found the story. According to the paper, Freddy’s body was discovered out by the train trestle at Billings Creek, naked and bound with baling twine. Sexual abuse was evident, but the police didn’t have any suspects.

 Betty Jo said, “He was killed by a pervert, that’s all. He was stupid enough to take candy from a stranger or something and that’s what you get when you’re stupid.”

But Becky argued, “It could have been a monster, Betty Jo. Even if Jeff is a loud mouth, I think he’s right about the monsters.”

“Oh, come on, Becky!  You don’t believe in monsters, do you?”

“They’re real. Maybe the pervert that got Freddy looked like a human, but he was a monster. He had to be!”

 “Monsters are not real, Becky!”

This was the first time she and Betty Jo had really argued about anything. Becky would normally have just agreed with her to avoid the confrontation, but this was really important. She needed to convince Betty Jo for her own safety.

“Yeah, they are, Betty Jo. Even though it’s scary to think about, they do exist. Monsters are really real.”

“Oh, for Cripe’s sake, if you’re gonna be such a baby, then I don’t want to talk to you.”

Becky flinched, as if Betty Jo had hit her. Tears welled in her eyes. She turned her face away, not wanting the other girl to see. They’d remained cordial after that argument. They even continued caring for Mr. Wiggles together, but Becky no longer thought of Betty Jo as her best friend, and certainly not her confidant.

All through her life that same terrible truth kept reconfirming itself. Every time Jerry hit her, he confirmed what she had always known. 

Monsters are really real.

And who would know better than her? After all, she was living with one – a monster who pretended to be a man. And, for reasons she never fully understood, she pretended, too.

~~~

(End of part 2)

I’ll post the conclusion in a few days. Meanwhile, if you’re interested in more of my stories, you can find a collection of them on Amazon Kindle. Talk with you again, soon.

Dana (Danothy)

I just pulled part 2 of my short story Wolf Girl. It’s still not working. I had sent in the revisions to part 3 to my authors group for critique and I am unhappy with the results.

Here’s the thing: This is the first short story of mine which actually got published. I was happy to finally be a published author, so I moved on. That was back in 2011.

Fast forward to present day. I’ve written a couple dozen more short stories, plus about six novels, none of which have been traditionally published yet. (I did self publish a collection of my short stories on Amazon, but nothing through a traditional publisher yet.)

As I mentioned in an earlier blogpost, I want to bring Wolf Girl up to my current standards of writing and present it here for your reading pleasure. I published part one in a post last week and part two on Monday of this week, with the intention of giving you the final part this weekend.

Enter my author’s group, God $^%#^$#@^ bless them. The group consists of about fifteen regular members who show up each week to read and critique each other’s work. Of the members, only about four regular attendees are male. This is a good thing for me because the women tend to bring to my attention all the faux pas in my writing regarding my female characters.

In short, when a guy is writing about a female character, he needs to check with other females to see if his character is believable. So I am indebted to the women in my authors group. But in this case, their input has caused me to pull my last blog post (part two of Wolf Girl) until it can be fixed properly.

On the good side: everybody agreed that the ending is good. It has a nice supernatural twist at the end which is both fun and a bit horrific.

On the bad side: Most of my group agree that few people will ever get to the end, because the beginning (and middle) are too dark and uncomfortable. The subject matter is about a young woman stuck in (yet another) bad relationship, involving both physical and sexual abuse.

The consensus is that most people will probably stop reading before they get to the end of the story, simply because getting through the middle of the story is just too unpleasant.

To quote a friend of mine from work, ‘Well Pewp!”

We (my fellow authors and I) discussed some of the specific issues with the story and possible ways around them, so that the reader is compelled to continue on, even in the face of such dark subject matter. I have some good ideas about that, but they also mean that much of what I posted in part 2 will need to be tweaked.

So I pulled that post. I will revamp it (once again) and post the revised version (what do you call the revision of a revision, anyway?) shortly.

Sorry for the inconvenience, but I hope it will make the overall story better.

Talk to you again, soon,

Dana (Danothy refused to put his name here…)

As promised, here is the first part of my revised short story, Wolf Girl. The formatting didn't come through, so I manually formatted the entry below. Smaller, bold text represents typed messages on the computer. Italics represents inner dialogue.

Fair word of warning: the subject matter is dark. This is, after all a horror story. Although I hadn't met him yet, in hindsight I realize this was the first story written by my evil twin, Danothy Grimm.

You've been warned. d.k.

I'm looking for an old-fashioned girl willing to love, honor and obey me. I'm 6' 1" tall, blue eyes, and brown hair. I can be considerate, generous, and quite romantic, but am dominant by nature. It's only fair to say that my last relationship ended badly because of a power struggle between us. If you seek a man who is chivalrous and protective of his woman, then reply soon. Perhaps your place is with me.     Werewolf.

Becky read the words on the PC screen
again. Should she reply or keep looking?
She'd spent the last half hour reading messages on the Board for
American Alternative Lifestyles (Baal) website. So far this was the only one to
catch her attention. It was also a bit disconcerting.

What kind of man writes an ad like that? Well, duh! he’s on the BAAL website, so he’s a bit kinky. But how much of his words are true and how much is bull-crap?

‘Dominant by nature’ and ‘power
struggle’ suggested another good ole boy who believed in slapping his woman
around whenever he felt like it—just like every other man in her life,
beginning with her father. If that was all this guy had to offer, then Becky
wasn’t interested. She already had Jerry to slap her around, thank you very
much.

She moved in with Jerry fourteen
months ago (mistake #1). At his insistence,
she quit her job (mistake #2) and ‘let him
bring home the bacon’ while she took care of the house …and the laundry …and
the yard …and anything else he said needed taking care of, including him. Then,
when the newness of their relationship wore thin, he began settling arguments
with his fists.

You only have yourself to blame. You knew going in that he liked to play rough, hell, that’s what you liked about him. At least you did until he stopped playing.

Today she was using her right
eye since her left eye was swollen shut from last night. He'd been drunk again
and she’d nagged him about it. That was another of her bad habits—she said what
was on her mind, often without considering how it might piss him off. He wanted
her to ‘do him’ as he put it, but she flat out refused.

“I’m tired of being your
whore. You want sex? Try treating me like a girlfriend, rather than a cheap
slut.”

Of course there had been hell to pay for her disrespect. He gave her a shiner and then proceeded to 'do her' whether she liked it or not. And, since she’d insulted him, he'd been even rougher than usual.

I should have known better. It wasn't the first time my big mouth got me in trouble.

She almost decided to skip the ad from
Werewolf and see who else might be interested in a new girlfriend, but kept
coming back to the ‘considerate, generous, and quite romantic’ part, plus the
bit about ‘chivalrous and protective of his woman’. It'd been a long time since
Jerry had been considerate. He’d been romantic in the beginning, but that faded.
She would never have called him generous and was convinced he wouldn’t even
know what the words 'chivalrous’ and ‘protective’ meant.

This guy’s in Indianapolis – only 20 miles away. Might as well be the moon, since I have neither a car nor bus fare. But if he finds me interesting enough, maybe he could come get me.

Noticing the time, she cursed. It was
nearly 4 p.m. and she had yet to start dinner, which had to be ready when Jerry
walked in the door at 5:15, or there would be hell to pay. So, with some
reservation, she typed out a quick note to Werewolf:

Your ad was intriguing. Are you up for a chat? WG27..

She attached one of her picture files,
the one where she wore a tight sweater dress and matching pumps. She was
pouting her lips and pleading with her big green eyes.

That should get his attention.

The picture was labeled NIKKI-01
and was one of the set she and Jerry had uploaded onto Baal last spring, back
when their relationship had still been more kinky than violent. There were over
a dozen NIKKI pictures (Her and Jerry’s aliases on this board were Nick and
Nikki—the perfect couple) the first series starting with -01, where she was
fully clothed to -06, where she had stripped off all but her fingernail polish.
They’d taken those on March 31st, his birthday and she was only slightly
embarrassed when he uploaded them to BAAL.

Since then, the relationship
had gone downhill, as had the morality of the subject matter in the more recent
pictures—they now numbered up to 37. Jerry had a whole folder full of those
kinds of pix on his PC. Most of them were taken from other websites, but many
were of her. She didn’t like to think about them, or on what other websites
Jerry might have posted them.

Tonight she’d signed on using
her other account – the free account Jerry didn’t know about. On it she was
‘WG27’, a woman from Columbus, Ohio. The free account didn’t allow her to post
pictures, but she could attach one to the note. She renamed the picture 'WG1'
so it couldn't be traced back to the NIKKI collection. Until she knew a little
more about Werewolf she wanted to reveal as little about herself as possible—she
didn’t want to hook up with another Jerry this time. The signature WG27
suggested that her initials were WG and that she was 27.

When creating the free account,
she had thought to use the initials ‘WW’ because she had always adored Wonder
Woman, even when she was a kid. Trouble was, she was nothing like the Amazon
princess, neither brave, strong, nor particularly intelligent—as her father
constantly reminded her all through her formative years. So she picked the
initials ‘WG’ for Wonder Girl, with the hopes of one day maturing into the
title of ‘Woman’.

I can also say the initials are for ‘Wolf Girl’. I bet Werewolf would like that.

~~~

The next time she logged on to
Baal—while Jerry was out, of course—she found a puzzling reply:

Nice try. I probably can't change your opinion of me, but at least I can prove I'm not a moron. By the way, great pic. That is definitely a girl I’d be willing to die for. Too bad it’s not you. Where'd you get it? ww.

Becky’s mouth fell open. This
wasn’t how things were supposed to work. He didn’t believe her. He thought her
picture was fake, that she was being deceitful.

“I’m the real deal, you dummy,”
she told the computer screen. “By your own words, ‘a girl you’d be willing to
die for.’ Don’t you dare pay me a compliment and then dismiss me.”

With her Irish up, she tried
again, increasing the stakes just a little:

What do you mean ‘too bad it’s not you’? You think I’m lying? It’s not like I’m a movie star or anything. If I was gonna send a fake pic, I’d find a more attractive model. I have six of these, btw, each a bit more revealing than the last. We took them on Jerry’s birthday last year. I’m attaching the next one, to prove I’m not lying.. If you want to see any more, you’re going to have to do better than ‘too bad it’s not you’.   wg

She attached NIKKI-02, renaming
it WG2, and sent the reply. In 02 she was in the process of pulling the sweater
dress off over her head. The bottom had risen just above her navel and her
white bikini panties barely covered a small patch of red hair.

An hour later, as she was about
to log off—Jerry could be back at any minute. No since pressing her luck—she
saw a response in her inbox. This note was a little more receptive;

Okay, you got my attention. If that’s really you, then I’ll get down on my knees and beg your forgiveness. You’re wrong, btw. The girl in those pix could easily be a movie star. That’s my problem; these pix look like they came from a magazine You wanna convince me you're legit? Send another one wearing your shirt backwards with mismatching socks. Then we'll talk. ww.

A smug grin formed on her face.
That might be a bit more difficult, but Becky thought she could manage it.

~~~

The next day was Saturday and
Jerry was home all day, so Becky bided her time. That night they had another
fight. It seemed fighting was all they did anymore.

Definitely time to get away from this one. He’s actually becoming worse than Dad was when I left. Why do men always end up acting like assholes?

Since running away from an
abusive home, Becky had been in a serious relationship twice before meeting
Jerry. Each one promised to be spectacular, particularly because she was
willing to stroke their libidos and indulge a man’s innate need to be in
charge. Roger had called her ‘his best girl’ and Steve’s nickname for her had
been ‘naughty little princess.’ Both had sworn their undying love at one point.

But, in each case, the
relationship went from romantic and sexy, to kinky and weird, to downright
abusive. She always ended up more of a victim than a partner. Either men felt
the need to lie about their feelings, or were just too stupid to know they
couldn’t possibly keep the sweet promises they made. After the romance died,
all they had left was violence and cruelty.

Jerry had seemed different.
Obviously less intellectual than her previous lovers, and with a much more
bizarre libido which she catered to without question, she’d hoped he would see
her as that one-in-a-million girl. The one he would cherish forever. When he
came up with the name ‘Nikki’ – the perfect girlfriend, she thought she’d
finally met a man worth staying with.

Instead, he turned out worse than the other two combined.

This time Jerry accused her of
stealing money from his wallet, which was ridiculous, since he always carried
it with him, but it gave him an excuse to slap her around. When he got tired of
that, he pushed her to the floor, where she lay quietly as he climbed on top.

Becky knew better than to
resist, even when it became obvious he was going to 'do her back door.'  It hurt like crazy, but she gritted her teeth
and bore the pain in silence.

I wouldn’t even mind it so much if he was actually enjoying himself. I bet he doesn’t even get off. He’s just hurting me to prove that he can. God, I need to find someone who knows how to treat a woman properly.

Half an hour later he slammed
the door behind him, off to spend the night with his drinking buddies. There’d
been a time when she’d have begged him to take her along, but not anymore.

He won't be back ‘til dawn. Time to get to work, and this time I’m looking for a man who is ‘chivalrous and protective of his woman’.

She got Jerry’s digital camera
out of the top drawer. It was one of his more expensive toys and she wasn’t
supposed to touch it. She had to pick the lock to get in—also not the first
time. After a few minutes with a bobby pin, she carried her prize to the
bedroom.

Grabbing one of Jerry's shirts
from the closet and two pairs of socks, she began to put the shirt on, then
stopped when she noticed her reflection. She stopped and appraised her
appearance.

This is who Werewolf is going to see in tonight’s picture. I need to look my best.

The mirror showed a pretty young woman
who still had nice curves. Her breasts were too small to suit her; always had
been, though she'd never heard any complaints—not even from Jerry. Her legs
were shapely and her belly only pooched out a little. Her red hair hung in
waves, framing her soft shoulders, her girlish face... and that stupid black
eye
!

Damn him! How am I supposed to attract another man if he keeps damaging the merchandise?

She giggled and pulled the
garment on over her slender frame. Jerry’s shirt was easy to put on, button up,
then pull her arms out of the sleeves and twist it around backward. Sticking
her arms back through the sleeves, she put a different colored sock on each
foot.

She pulled a chair over by the
mirror and set the camera on it, making sure it covered the bottom half of the
mirror. Then she sat on the floor, legs crossed in front so the socks were
visible. The shirt tail hung to her knees, so she bunched it up at the waist,
exposing most of her legs.

Now for the eye.

She tilted her head so that her
hair draped across the left side of her face. It might have looked sensuous, except
that it didn't quite hide the bruise beneath. Using her fingers, she combed
more hair over her bad eye. Then, reaching up cautiously, she snapped the
picture.

The first one didn't come out
right. No problem. She deleted it and tried again, and then again until she got
a picture she liked (dsr00173.jpg), then transferred it to the computer and
uploaded it onto Baal. She didn’t bother renaming it. After all, she was only
sending it to Werewolf.

Becky felt happy and excited. She
was taking the first steps toward a better relationship, a better life. Her
note reflected her good mood.

You gotta admit I'm not faking the pictures. Do I get to see a photo of you? For all I know, you may really be a wolf. As you can see, I am 4'10" and weigh about 100 pounds. You can probably tell from my red hair and fair complexion that I’m of Irish descent. Please reply and ask anything else you'd like to know about me. Tell me about yourself, too! I hope to hear from you soon,  Wolf Girl

After sending the message, she browsed
the other conferences on Baal and looked through the picture files to see if
there were any of Werewolf. There weren’t. She decided it didn’t matter anyway.

He could look like Quasimodo for all I care, so long as he doesn’t treat me like a punching bag.

She signed off as WG27 then
signed back on as Nikki to check any messages she may have received there—not
from prospective suitors, but from contacts she and Jerry had made over the
past year. There weren't any new messages of interest. Well, there was one
about a BDSM party being held in April. Jerry might be interested, but
hopefully she’d be long gone before then.

Moving her mouse pointer to the
‘Sign Off’ button, she noticed the “Who’s Logged On” column down the left side
of the screen.  A few names below hers
was ‘Werewolf’. Crossing her fingers, she selected his avatar and requested a
private chat.

[Werewolf] Hello Nikki, what can I do for you?

[Nikki] WW, it's Wolf Girl. I’m logged on as Nikki right now, but I created the WG account specifically to go relationship shopping. They’re both me.

[Werewolf] I'm still new at this chat stuff. How do I know you’re not some jerk pulling my leg?

[Nikki] There's one alias assigned to each user. No one else can use Nikki or WG27 but me. Just as no one can use Werewolf but you.

[Werewolf] I knew that, but how do I know that Nikki is also WolfGirl?

[Nikki] The first two pictures I sent were from the pictures on file with Baal. You'll find them listed as NIKKI-01, and 02. As WG27 I attached them to my note. I just took that last picture tonight and uploaded it about 20 minutes ago. It’s not on the board; it came straight from my camera.

[Werewolf] Okay, so why are you home on a Saturday night?

[Nikki] We had a fight. He went out to get drunk with his buddies.

[Werewolf] I noticed the shiner. Any man who would do that to a woman doesn’t deserve her. Tell me where I can find him and I’ll kick his butt. I’m serious.

 [Nikki] Feeling particularly chivalrous and protective, are we?

[Werewolf] No more than usual. Just say the word and he’s toast.

 [Nikki] It's not that easy. He as two friends, one of which is a deputy sheriff. Starting a fight with Jerry would only get you into trouble.

[Werewolf] Trust me. I can handle a little trouble. People like your boyfriend and his two cronies need to be put in their place. You say the word, and I’ll make sure they never bother you again.

Becky briefly envisioned a werewolf
confronting Jerry in a deserted street late at night. The werewolf growled and
Jerry cringed in fear. The thought brought the ghost of a grin to her lips. She
turned her attention back to the keyboard and typed.

 [Nikki] Thanks for the offer. I might take you up on that eventually. But I'd rather talk about you. Why are you at home on Saturday night?

[Werewolf] I'm not. I work as a night security guard. The computer here has internet access, and I get bored, so here I am.

[Nikki] How old are you?

[Werewolf] 26, how about you? I don't believe you're 27.

[Nikki] You’re right. I turned 22 about 3 weeks ago in February. How did you come up with the name Werewolf? You don’t howl at the moon, do you?

[Werewolf] ] Only when it’s full. Nah, to be completely honest, I’m a vampire, but the name Dracula was already taken. What about you? Does WG really stand for WolfGirl?

[Nikki] As far as you know, it does. Too bad, you’re not really a wolf, though We could’ve transformed together. Just think about it. Out alone in the woods at night, removing all our clothes so they wouldn’t be ripped during the change. Running around by the light of the full moon. But, I guess not, if you’re a vampire…

[Werewolf] ] No problem. We could still do that. Vampires can take the form of wolves, can’t they? I’m pretty sure they can. And, if not, then you could bite me, so I’d become a werewolf, too.

[Nikki] ] Sounds interesting. On a more mundane topic, are you married?

[Werewolf] I was. Divorced now, and I have no particular prospects, (with one possible exception 😉.) Working at night keeps me from having much of a social life. You?

[Nikki] Single, living with Jerry right now. Hopefully, that’s about to change. He's grown tired of me, and I won't be upset when he dumps me.

[Werewolf] If you're not happy with him, why stay?

[Nikki] Right now I don’t have anywhere else to go. Can we talk about something else? I don't wanna think about him.

[Werewolf] Sure. Sorry ‘bout that.

[Nikki] Can we get to know each other a little better? You can ask me anything.

[Werewolf] Well, what are you wearing?

She turned pink, giggled and then typed.

[Nikki] Mismatched socks, a flannel shirt (on backwards) and nothing else...

[Werewolf] Take it off.

[Nikki] The socks, too?

[Werewolf] Everything.

Becky blushed even deeper at the
thought. Of course, she could just tell him that she’d stripped; he'd never
know if she didn’t. On the other hand, the thought of cheating behind Jerry's
back was deliciously scandalous.

[Nikki] Okay. I did. It's chilly in here!

[Werewolf] Guess I'll have to take your word for that.

[Nikki] Well, I do have the camera...

They chatted for the next hour and a half, agreeing to 'meet' again that Monday at 8pm while Jerry was at his bowling league. Becky really enjoyed it. While she had sent him one more picture of herself without the shirt and socks, she had posed demurely, not wanting to appear too wanton. He had praised her picture, saying he would cherish it forever and did not ask for any more. In a perverse sort of way, given the nature of the website they were on, his behavior could be considered courteous, even chivalrous. She didn’t say so, but she found it refreshing.  Signing off, she already looked forward to their next chat, Wednesday at 8pm while Jerry was at his bowling league.

~~~

(End of part 1)

I'll post part 2 in a few days. Meanwhile, if you're interested in more of my stories, you can find a collection of my short stories on Amazon Kindle. Talk with you again, soon.

Dana (Danothy)

While querying various publishers with the first novel I feel is ready for prime time (it’s actually my sixth novel, but the first one I think is polished enough to send out professionally) I want to give readers a chance to sample my writing. So I’ve decided to give you a peek for free.

My Dead Heart
Wolf Girl, my first published story, is in here.

“Wolf Girl” is a short story I submitted to an anthology nearly a decade ago called Mon Coeur Mort (My Dead Heart.) If you’re interested, that book is available from Barnes and Noble, and Amazon, although the best price might be at Ebay. The publishing company, Post Mortem Press, was young and, in my opinion, very lenient with their approvals at the time, but I didn’t care about that–I was a published author! (yay!)

One of the nice things about the arrangement with PMP was that I would retain full rights to my story. That was a good thing, because now, years later, I read it and cringe (on the bright side, I’ve come a long way in ten years…)

So, I thought about posting the story here, so you can get a chance to see what my writing is like. The problem is that my writing skills have advanced quite a bit since then, so this story is perhaps not the best sample to provide.

What to do?

I finally decided to break one of the cardinal rules of writing (that’s right, because I broke this rule, I have given up all hopes of ever becoming a cardinal), which is to say, I have dared to… wait for it… revise my story.

(Cue the dramatic musical flare…)

So, in the next couple of days, I will begin submitting “Wolf Girl” in three parts, absolutely free for any and all to peruse, critique and/or fall madly in love with. I would particularly like to hear from anybody who has read the original story about how this version compares to it’s fraternal twin.

Fair Warning: The subject matter is dark (this is horror, after all.) In fact, I wrote this before I met my evil twin, Danothy Grimm, but it seems to be right up his alley.

Dan likes to make the reader think ‘This is truly evil. Why do I keep reading it?’ and then answer their own question with ‘Because I can’t put it down. I just gotta know what happens next.’

“Wolf Girl” is definitely a story that should have his name on it. So, on the one hand, if this story pushed you a bit too far beyond your comfort zone, no problem, I also have a lot of stories which are not nearly so intense.

On the other hand, if this is your idea of what a horror story is supposed to do, well let’s just say I’ve already written a sequel short story. I’ve also begun one novel, with ideas about a second and possibly a third, which are based on the characters from “Wolf Girl.”

Hope you like it.

Dana (Danothy)

Just finished Tim Waggoner’s novel The Mouth of the Dark and enjoyed the story, with a few reservations. It’s dark, twisted, and a bit disturbing, but overall, a great original tale. I attended a class Tim taught at last year’s StokerCon called “How to Build a Better Monster.” I’ll say this for him; this guy can come up with some pretty monstrous creations.

I bought the book on Audible and my only complaint was that I didn’t care for the narrator, who……… seemed to ………….pause at………….odd times. Yeah, I’m being picky, but I’ve been spoiled rotten by some excellent narrators.

The general story is that a father goes looking for his estranged missing daughter. She’s an adult and has her own life, so he’s torn between doing whatever it takes to find her and intruding on her private life. And she definitely has a weird private life.

If you are squeamish about the more sinister aspects of sexual perversion, you might want to give this one a pass. It’s not porn, but it delves into that world and goes downhill from there. If you have a strong stomach, as I like to think I do, then this story will show you a new dark existence you never suspected… just beyond the shadows.

It's not Nessie, it's an alien from outer space...

Sometimes, writing fiction requires a little inspiration, a little nudge. Sometimes it even needs a swift kick in the butt...

Personally, I keep a file of story ideas handy. Every time I think of an interesting idea, however humble, or however far-fetched, I jot it down in my ideas file.

Often times my ideas come from something I've read or heard. Sometimes I read someone else's story and think, "Y'know, I would have handled that differently. If I were going to write about [enter idea here] I'd have done it this way..." ... and the idea gets plopped down into my ideas file.

Is that Pleager... Pfleageris... Plaguer... Is that cheating? BTW, while Googling the word 'plagiarism', I stumbled on a website that supposedly checks for you. https://smallseotools.com/plagiarism-checker/
I just found it, so no reviews yet, but I'll let you know.

And, to answer my own question; No, one cannot copyright an idea. Nor do I intend to reproduce a story already written by someone else. But if I read about a new [topic/idea/re-examination of an old idea/etc.] and think it's the coolest thing since sliced bread, then it goes into my ideas file (and eventually something similar may very well show up in a story of mine.)

Lemme give you an example: I listen to a cool podcast called Lore, produced by Aaron Mahnke. He produces a new 1/2 hour long podcast every week about all sorts of folklore and potential origins from around the world. I'm an avid listener and, if you haven't tied it, I highly recommend you check it out.  You can see his website at: http://theworldoflore.com.

One podcast I listened to recently (for the third time) talked about stones falling from the sky (they blamed it on a local widow - said she was a witch.)  Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!  I'm writing a story about witches.  I never thought about them making stones fall from the sky, but...

Now, if I do have my necromancers conjure rock-like projectiles out of thin air, I'll need to acknowledge Aaron and LORE for the idea, but nobody will call it plagiarism. It's inspiration.

 

See you next week,

Dana/Danothy