Posts Tagged ‘Halloween’

A Messy Divorce (Short Story Excerpt)

January 18, 2017


Happy birthday to me, James Jefferson Ruddock—“J.J.” to his friends, “Jimmy” to his family, and “James” to his soon-to-be-ex-wife—hummed to himself, setting a small cake on his kitchen table. Happy birthday to me—

Scowling, J.J. let out an awful belch.

Haaappy biiirthday, dear J.J….

Another pause, this time to let out a long, mournful sigh. J.J.’s wide chest rose and fell with the effort. His shoulders twitched. His chin drooped. He stood there, all alone. A great big bear of a man, half drunk, feeling every wretched moment of his age, trying like hell to find one thing—just one—to feel happy about. Anything at all.

Happy birthday…to meee!

“Alright,” J.J. grumbled, clapping his large, calloused hands. He reached for his half-full—or half-empty, in J.J.’s current state of mind—bottle of Wild Turkey, swallowed a good-sized knock, and belched again.

“Another year older, J.J., ol’ buddy! An all by yourself on your birthday. How fantastic is that?”

Quivering with rage, J.J. cast his eyes to the dark ceiling and ran his free hand through his thick, black, forelocks. He wore his hair long, and at the end of its swoop J.J.’s hand closed around the rear length and tossed it from his shoulders. That felt better. Not much, but less disheveled. The wayward hand then swung around and smoothed the front of his beard. He kept that long, too. Long, but well-manicured. Not bushy. J.J. couldn’t stand the sight of wild facial hair.

Huh! Call me an animal, after all I did for her!

J.J.’s left hand tightened around the bottle. His right hand curled into a white-knuckled fist. His jaw clenched. His lips twisted into a feral moue. At that moment he would’ve given anything to have his soon-to-be-ex-wife there with him, bound and gagged, just within arm’s length.

Sneering at his own pain, J.J. grunted. “Damn you, Brenda.”

Sighing, the bitter celebrant lowered his chin, took another swig of whiskey, and paused to admire his dessert. A plain, round, German chocolate cake, frosted with coconut. He’d bought it at the grocery store along with a pack of blood-red birthday candles, then arranged the candles to show his age. It had taken eight of them to form the 3, and another eight to form the 9. With the lights out, the flickering flames spelled out the exact number of years he’d been alive to the shadows and anyone else who cared to know:


And beside that glowing cake sat a plain business envelope, addressed to James Ruddock, with the words:


stamped in red ink across its face.

J.J looked from the cake to the envelope, then back again. “Some birthday present,” he muttered, raising the bottle to his lips. The whiskey stung the tip of his tongue, creating a shaft of pleasant heat which ran from the top of his gullet to the depths of his large belly. He took in half a mouthful, but didn’t swallow. Relishing the flavor. The sting. The heat. The approaching stupor.

Damn that woman, anyway…

Standing there, swaying on his feet, J.J. stared into the candles on his birthday cake. Their hypnotic glow soothed him almost as much as the whiskey, leaving him oblivious to the surrounding shadows. Beneath his beard, a grin formed. The urge to spit that cheekful of Wild Turkey at the flames came on strong, and in his mind he pictured a majestic fireball erupting from the wanton act.

But, no; that wouldn’t do anything except ruin the moment and the cake.

Flicking his eyes back to that loathsome envelope, J.J. felt another wild urge. Why not just snatch the damned thing up and hold it over the candles until it caught fire? Why not just stand there and watch his troubles go up in smoke?

But, no; that wouldn’t do anything except delay the inevitable.

Pondering those sad facts, J.J.’s eyes began to glisten. From the whiskey, of course. Not the searing heartbreak. Not the dull pain in his uncompromising heart. Not that.

No way.

Screw it! J.J. thought, throwing his head back and gulping the whiskey into his stomach. “An screw her!” he finished aloud, slamming the bottle down beside the envelope—


J.J. grimaced from the knock, then leant forward, planting his rough palms on each end of the small fold-up table. The ring on his left hand glimmered in the candlelight.

Whoo-eee! Strong stuff!”

It took a moment for J.J.’s mind to clear. Eyes shut, face bunched, he shook his head, causing hair and beard to splay as if hit by a sudden gust of wind, then belched again, causing the miniature flames to dance as if hit by the same gust. “Now,” he said with all seriousness, his glassy eyes open and alert and fixed upon the blazing 39…

“What should I wish for?”

J.J. lived in a doublewide trailer home, parked in a shabby trailer court. He’d lived there since dropping out of college due to a severe meniscus tear. Up to that point, from the age of six, football had been his entire life. He’d played all through elementary, middle, and high school. How he’d loved slamming his shoulder pads into the wannabe tough guys at every high school in the state. And he’d found it even more satisfying on the college level. The rush of adrenaline, the roar of the crowd, the thrill of victory after battering everything in his path; it all made him feel like a winner. A gladiator. A true beast among men.

Then, on one cold autumn night many years ago, another beast had slammed into him at a bad angle, causing him to fall the wrong way. And with all that weight toppling down…

“Son,” Dr. Tolbert said after the surgery, “you’ll be able to play again, but you won’t be as fast. And another injury to that same knee might leave you with permanent damage. Get me?”

Yeah. J.J. got him, alright. When a man’s forced to swallow all his pride in one gulp he’s always afraid he might choke. But J.J., in true bestial fashion, chewed his up real well before turning in his helmet and cleats. And there went his football scholarship, too. Still, he couldn’t complain. The construction business had been good to him over the years. He owned his trailer free and clear, owned his truck, and felt comfortable knowing that he had no debts.

Except one.

Brenda Rose Galway. He owed her a broken heart.

So. The time had come at last. What the hell should he wish for?

Still leaning over the small table, still staring into the ornate row of hot, orange-yellow tongues lapping the air, J.J. sighed, trying to focus his beer—and whiskey—addled mind. Brow furrowed, lips pursed, his cold blue eyes took on an odd gleam; catlike; reflecting a fire within, and the fire below. He looked deep into those tiny flames, past them, and into the murky haze of his dying marriage…

J.J. remembered the moment he first met Brenda Galway; walking into the Quickie-Mart near downtown to buy a six-pack and fill up his truck. She’d worked there as a cashier, and smiled as he came in. How young and sweet and innocent she’d seemed back then…

J.J remembered one night in the throes of passion when, quite to his surprise, Brenda had made a strange and unnerving request. “Bite me, lover!” she’d whispered, clutching his thick neck with both arms and burying his mouth into her shoulder. “Bite me hard!” At first, he’d been reluctant…but her insistence overcame his timidity. So he’d bitten her. Just hard enough to leave marks in her pale flesh for a day or so. And from then on that strange act became a semi-regular part of their lovemaking.

An what a sucker I was for not bitin’ her throat out when I had the chance!

Shaking his head, J.J. remembered the day when it all began to unravel. The day he’d found out what Brenda had been doing behind his back. The day he’d found those pills in her purse and confronted her in the very kitchen in which he now stood. Oh, God, that long, miserable, contentious day when he’d found out what a lying, conniving, heartless, woman he’d married all those years ago—

“Yeah, I found out, alright. Found out a lotta things. I found out what you really are. An I found out what I really am, too. Nothin’ but a big goddamn dummy.”

The bear grunted, bared his sharp shiny teeth at the birthday cake.

“Yeah, Brenda, why don’tcha come on over now? I’ll be more than happy to clamp my jaws on your…warm…throat…”
J.J. paused, letting his words drift off like the smoke trails from the candles below. A moment passed, gravid with possibility, then he grinned.

“That’s it! That’s my wish!”

Then he laughed. Long, loud, and hearty. A cruel, vengeful, satisfied sound which shook his massive frame and brought tears of a different sort to his eyes. The culmination of eight years’ rage and regret. And when the last chuckle and snort passed over his lips, J.J. Ruddock closed his wet eyes and made his thirty-ninth birthday wish:

“Hey, uh, God? It’s me, J.J. I prayed to you a lot as a boy. I prayed before every game, remember? But seein’ as how it’s my birthday an my wish ain’t too holy, an seein as how it’s Halloween an all…well, I guess I better direct this prayer to the other guy. The guy with the horns an the pitchfork, ya know…

“Please forgive me. Just this once…”

An now, here’s goes nothin’.

“So, uh, anyway. Devil, can ya hear me? I’m callin’ out to you tonight, an it ain’t the whiskey talkin’, neither! I’m aimin’ to get your evil, undivided attention. You hear? It’s your night, ain’t it? Halloween? Spooks an ghosts an witches an vampires, an who knows what all roamin’ around?

“Well, it’s my night, too, goddamnit! My birthday! An I want my wish!

“Do ya hear me, son? I WANT MY WISH!”

Coughing, shaking from the fury in his words, J.J. squeezed his eyelids as tight as he could, afraid that if he opened them even for a second the feeling would be lost and the spell would be broken.

“Alright, Devil. I’m sure ya got my point so I’ll get on with it. What I want, what I need, is to somehow get Brenda back in my clutches…so I can bite her one last time. So I can sink my teeth deep into her fleshy ass an chew it up to my heart’s content. Raw an bloody, just like that steak I ate tonight—”

Again, this bear of a man laughed. Again, he belched. And with each exhalation the flickering flames danced ever higher, as if reaching for J.J.’s breath; as if wanting to be extinguished so his wish could be fulfilled.

“So let it be written, so let it be done! Be it known that on this day, October thirty-first, All Hallows Eve, my birthday, The Year Of Our Lord, Two Thousand an Thirteen, beneath a full moon, I, James Jefferson Ruddock, do hereby wish for vicious, awful, blood-drenched vengeance upon my soon-to-be-ex-wife, Brenda Rose Galway-Ruddock!”

Another pause, but no laughter, no belch. Just silence. Solemn. Dreadful. The sound of judgment passed; of verdict given; after the gavel falls but before it strikes the pad.

“Amen,” J.J. finished. “Amen.”

And with that, this great big bear huffed, and puffed, and blew his whiskey-breath over the cake, over the shimmering 39, flexing his belly, straining his lungs, trying with all his heart to extinguish every last flame in one symbolic act.

But J.J. needn’t have worried or strained. The candles went out with ease, one by one, as if they wanted to die. As if their deaths had been ordained by some higher—or lower—force.

And…as the last candle shuddered out, a single tear fell from J.J.’s left eye.


With the candles extinguished, J.J. found himself in darkness. Not total, unrelenting darkness, but shadowy, phantasmal darkness. The glow of a streetlamp bled through the kitchen window, and pale moonlight shone through the cracks in the blinds in the living room. Just enough radiance to make out shapes of things around him, yet just enough to play endless tricks on his whiskey-burdened mind.

But darkness didn’t scare J.J.

Never had, never would.

Still leaning over the table, the big bear shook his head as if he’d just been whacked on the jaw. Gotta be the booze, he decided, blinking the sudden grogginess away.

That, an gettin’ myself all worked up…

Thin tendrils of smoke wafted up from the spent candles. J.J. coughed, then straightened to his full, monstrous height. In silhouette he looked like a great, hairy ogre standing in the kitchen of an ordinary man’s house. Indeed, the top of his head almost touched the ceiling.

“Well,” J.J. grumbled, snatching his Wild Turkey from the table, “here’s to gettin’ all worked up!”

He took a slug from the bottle and grinned as sweet flames lit up his throat.

“Goddamn, that’s good! An now, nothin’ left to do but cut the—”


J.J. jerked and jumped at the jolting sound. He wheeled around, swaying on his bare feet, and faced the living room. Whiskey sloshed in the bottle at his side. His hand tightened around the neck.



And then he understood. Halloween night. A tiny fist knocking at his abode. A tiny fist attached to a tiny boy or girl craving something sweet and good to eat. Trick-or-treaters! J.J. realized, grinning a more satisfied—and malicious—grin than when he’d cursed his soon-to-be-ex-wife…and began creeping toward the front door.


Ugh!” Colin Ryerson sighed, knocking for the second time—


—and suppressing a yawn. How had he, of all the rotten luck, gotten stuck chaperoning his younger sister and even younger cousin? Easy. Lame parents. Lame parents who insisted he come along to visit his grandparents at their ghetto trailer court, and, oh, gosh, wouldn’t it be great if he’d take the girls around while the grownups sat around yapping about nothing?

Yeah, great. I could be home right now, making out with Audrey “B.J Queen” Lang and actually enjoying life. But nooo. Mom’s gotta have a shit-fit over the girls’ costumes and go see Nanny and Poppy.

“Maybe no one’s home,” Nina Ryerson said, turning to her brother. She’d dressed up as an 80s glam-rocker; frizzy pink wig, big yellow Elton John sunglasses, a neon blue leotard, and to complete the ensemble, a plastic guitar; hot pink, hanging from her shoulder by a rainbow strap.

“Duh!” Colin answered. “That’s a good bet since the lights are off, geekazoid.”

“Well, you don’t hafta be mean about it! You’re just mad cuz you couldn’t stay home and play kissy-face with you’re bimbo girlfr—”

“Audrey ain’t my girlfriend, dork.”

“God! I swear, you think you’re sooo cool just cause you’re fourteen.”

Colin shook his head. “Aw, shut up. Let’s go.”

Gertie Torino, Colin and Nina’s seven year old cousin, frowned at them. Why did they have to fight so much? The little girl had worn a tutu and dancing shoes, her soft auburn hair in pigtails, and at that moment looked like the saddest ballerina in the world.

“Come on, guys. Stop arguing. There’s only one more house left on this row, anyways.”
Nina turned to her cousin and smiled. Both girls clutched orange plastic bags decorated with cartoonish vampire bats, and looked forward to sharing their bounty once they got back home.

“Okay, Gertie. Let’s go.”

“Great idea.” Colin stepped between them, left hand falling upon Nina’s left shoulder, right hand upon Gertie’s right shoulder. “Now move it.”

But just as they turned to leave, the front door swung inward and something leapt from the darkness onto the porch—


Perched on the bottom step, all three children flinched, screamed, and fell backward. Going down, the girls flung their precious bags into the night and wrapped themselves around Colin. The boy hugged them close, still thinking of their safety despite his own panic, and tried to cushion the fall for all of them—


The startled children landed in a heap. Colin felt the impact on his tailbone, both girls scraped their elbows, but nothing serious. The resultant cacophony of squeals, shrieks, and yells echoed down the dark street.

“Jesus, girls! Run!”

Nina and Gertie scrambled to their feet, both now bawling in terror. Poor little Gertie had almost wet herself from the shock. That growl hadn’t sounded human! So bestial, so sinister; something like the buzz of a chainsaw crossed with a lion’s roar. Enough to send two small girls scampering for their very lives.

Holy shit!

Eyes wide, heart hammering, Colin rolled to his knees, scuffing up his designer jeans. He saw the shape on the porch, outlined in shadow, standing very still. A man, after all. A big man. Either wearing a wig or possessing quite a mane of hair. Getting to his feet, the boy’s temper exploded:

“Hey! Just what is wrong with you, mister? You just scared the crap outta my sister and cousin!”

“An you, too, I bet,” the giant shadow replied in a deep, truculent voice. Then it began to laugh. A big, satisfied, belly-laugh; too loud; too long; the guffaw of a dumb redneck who’s had way too much whiskey.

Maddening to the indignant boy’s ears.

“Yeah, real funny, jerk! I oughtta call the cops on your retarded ass right now!”

“Jerk?” the ominous shadow repeated, snorting more laughter. “Cops? You really need to get a sense of humor, kid…”

Okay, moron.

Smirking, Colin reached into his pocket to retrieve his phone. He had two numbers on speed-dial: Audrey “B.J. Queen” Lang, and 911. “Oh, I got your sense of humor…right…here…”

But the threat—which he’d meant to enforce—never left Colin’s mouth. Because the man had just stepped forward into the light, exposing a face Colin wished he’d never seen.

Oh, shit!

“That’s right, kid. Just what I thought. Now get on home before I jerk you up by the throat an spank your narrow ass. Hear me? An tell your ol’ man he better not come a-knockin’ or else I’ll do the same to him, only ten times worse.”
Then the savage man smiled. An awful, demonic smile which Colin never forgot.

“Trick-or-treat, huh, kid? Whaddya say?”

Oh, screw this!

With an odd exhalation—not quite a groan, not quite a whimper—Colin Ryerson forgot about calling the cops and started running. What he’d just seen had frightened him to the marrow and he couldn’t get away fast enough. Away from that crazed, evil-looking man who liked to scare little kids. Whose eyes had glittered like yellow diamonds in the moonlight; like a feral cat he’d once seen in his backyard. Whose teeth had looked like razor sharp fangs; not fake vampire teeth, either. And whose hands looked more like claws, capable of cleaving him in two with one swat.


Aw, hell! J.J. thought, feeling a sudden pang of regret at his cruel prank. Poor little girls lost all their hard-earned candy…

Nice move, jerk.

The big man had taken one step down his porch when it began. His bare right foot emerged from shadow, looking very much like a mastiff’s paw; twice as much hair as before. But J.J. didn’t notice his foot—or the extra hair which had sprouted on his forearms—because he’d begun to itch all over. A deep, burning itch, far beneath the skin. J.J. wanted to scratch, to tear, at his own flesh as a sudden dizziness came over him.

“What the…?”

J.J. groaned, staggered, and caught himself in the doorway. In his newfound agony he also didn’t notice the extra length of his fingernails.


Now a fever set in to compliment the burning itch, as if J.J.’s internal temperature had shot up into the danger zone. Much hotter than he’d ever felt before. Like being roasted from the inside out.

“What…what’s happening?”

The bear took a deep breath, felt his stomach clench as if rejecting the crisp night air. He grunted, falling to his butt in the threshold of the doorway. For a moment J.J. thought—and hoped—he’d puke up whatever had caused the pain.

I’m screwed here! Royally! Gonna need an ambulance!

But screwed didn’t quite do J.J.’s situation justice. Every bone in his body ached. The muscles in his arms and legs burned. He itched from head to toe. Pain stabbed at his eyes. His teeth throbbed. His tongue felt thick and useless. Every inch of the big man suffered in some way; steeped in misery, right down to his very soul.

Oh, for Christ’s sake! What in God’s name is…?

But the thought died away, replaced by a dreadful certainty. J.J knew what had happened, and why. After all, he’d called out to the darkness—

Do you hear me, son? I WANT MY WISH!

—he’dmade that vengeful plea—

Raw an bloody, just like that steak I had tonight.

—and he’d blown out the candles, sealing his own fate.

“Oh, no! No, no, no! I’m crazy but I ain’t that cra—”

Again, J.J.’s stomach clenched, cutting off his useless appeal for mercy and making him scream.

“JESUS! Please stop this! I-I cant take no mo—”

Another spasm. Another scream. Another worthless prayer.

“Naw! This ain’t how I meant it! This ain’t even—


This time, J.J. rocked back, falling into the shadowy recesses of his home. Snarling. Whimpering. Tearing at his clothes and writhing like a rabid dog. But before he collapsed, J.J. saw the last thing he’d see with human eyes on this soon-to-be-gory evening:

The moon.

Full and bright, peering at him from the darkness like some lidless, alien eye. Silent. Stoic. Not passing judgment, yet working the malignant will of hell.

“A Messy Divorce” is part of the collection: Living The Nightmare.

Available for digital download @

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Thank you for reading!


Le Club du Mal (Novel Excerpt)

August 29, 2014

Prologue: Angel Rising


Excerpt from Betrayed At Birth (Midnite X Press, copyright 2012):

Hello. My name is Julie Ann Dawes, but you probably know me as adult film actress, director, strip club owner, and now author, Angelique du Mal. Long before I ever knew I would write this book, my twelfth-grade English teacher told me that the best place for any writer to start is with the plain truth. Seems like good advice, so that is where I choose to start.

Here goes.

The plain truth is that sex invaded both of our lives at obscenely early ages. That is myself, and my then older sister, Tina Elizabeth Dawes. And although I find absolutely no humor in this whatsoever, I can’t help but laugh at the tragic irony of that simple truth. Because sex, that truly subjective act, destroyed my poor sister’s life…and ended up saving mine.


October 20th, 2013

Hinckley, Oregon.

1:00 p.m.

The grand, two-storey Victorian mansion stands on the outskirts of Stark City’s most upper-class suburb. With its ruddy, wet-brick exterior, trimmed with infernal black, the dwelling exudes a sullen, brooding atmosphere. An eerie sentinel amongst a gaggle of rather ordinary houses in this white-collar neighborhood. A blight. A portent of wickedness, and a reminder that sometimes salvation does not–and cannot–exist outside of the very darkness from which it hides.

This is, of course, by design. An effect. And adding to the mansion’s sinister aura, an eight foot high, wrought-iron gate surrounding the half acre of fertile land upon which it’s built. The grounds–in sharp contrast to the house–are lush, verdant, and well-manicured. Peaceful. Inviting.

A strange dichotomy; indicative of its past, and the mannerisms of its two indomitable owners.

A private driveway curves off from Oak Circle and slopes upward toward the ebony gate. At the point of entry stand two tall iron doors, taller than the gate itself, curved like the wings of a bat. Beyond the entrance, past the driveway, lies a set of wide steps which lead to a porch large enough to park a small car on. Stained glass windows obscure the view inside the no-doubt opulent foyer. A carved granite sign above the arched doorway reads:


Within the rooms and halls of this hallowed yet profane sanctum dwell its Mistresses; one gone for now, the other still fast asleep.



In my vast experience on the subject I have found that there are three distinct forms of carnal knowledge. There is the beautiful kind; often called “making love.” There is the dirty kind; known as “fucking.” And there is the ugly kind; the kind that destroys lives. Ugly sex takes many forms, but the two that immediately come to mind are “molestation,” and “rape.”

So. Three distinctive forms of sex. This is what I have come to believe. This is what I have come to know.


Egalitarian by design, Le Manse du Mal’s second floor is comprised of two enormous master bedrooms. One for each Mistress. Each a distinct representation of the personality which dwells therein. And that difference is manifest.

Two women, forever united by the spirit of their lost sister. Opposite as night and day, yet complimentary as dusk to dawn.

Two sides of the same coin, then?


Reflections of the same soul.

And to the south, where the darker reflection languishes serene and still, shadows linger. Thick black curtains cover the massive oval window, hindering the intrusive daylight and enshrouding Mistress du Mal’s prostrate form in gloom and silence.

As always.

The bed itself is centered against the rear wall. Polished oak frame. Regal spires at the head and foot. The headboard inlaid with two hand-carved demonic figures. Horned, winged, fork-tongued. Are they male and female, or the same sex? Are they frolicking in friendship, or warring in enmity? One can never know. And above this abstract tableau, encased in an ornate black metal frame, hangs a portrait of Tina Elizabeth Dawes, age fifteen, wearing a soft pink blouse and a sad, secretive smile.

To the left of the bed sits a matching oak nightstand. Atop it sits a small reading lamp, a black ceramic mug, half full with water, and an iPhone. Beneath the phone lies a brand new copy of Mark Twain’s Letters From The Earth. Nothing but the essentials, showing utter disdain for needless clutter.

To the right, near the bedroom door, stands a large oak bookcase. The top shelf is lined with four Lucite blocks. On each crystalline face two wispy forms can be seen, male and female, embracing. Each block bares an engraved plate at its base. The inscriptions read:

Best New Starlet, 2004

Female Performer Of The Year, 2006

Best Oral Sex Scene, 2007

Best Anal Sex Scene, 2009

Below those profane awards, the lower shelves are lined with many hard- and soft-back volumes of obscure (for 2013, anyway) wit and knowledge. Despite the dimness, their glossy spines glimmer as if shouting the names of their authors. And, oh, what names they are. All standouts in the fields of psychology, philosophy, and literature:

Freud. Nietzsche. Rand. LaVey. Dawkins.

And below them, literary giants such as De Sade, Conrad, Nabokov, Bradbury, Burgess, Ellison, and King. Perennial favorites of the mistress; each of them well-read and thumb-worn.

So. The bed. The nightstand. The small library. The curtains. These and nothing more exist to take up space in this dark chamber. Plenty of room for a fallen angel to spread her wings.

And, speaking of fallen angels, The Mistress still lies dead center in the folds of her massive bed. She is but a tiny frame amidst a sea of black satin sheets, large downy pillows, and a luxurious black comforter. The stillness around her is womblike. Though dreamless, a slight grin plays at the corners of her mouth.


November 2nd, 1996. All Souls’ Day. There is nothing which I am so utterly sure of than the fact that I will never, ever, forget that cruel morning. In contrast, I will never, ever, forget what a beautiful Halloween we had. Our parents had allowed Tina to chaperone Maddy and I for the very first time. The three of us, all on our own, marched up and down every street in the Dibert District, filling our bags with candy–singing, joking, and laughing. Oh, how we laughed and had fun that night. Tina had worn a pirate costume, complete with an eye patch and a fake hook. Mom, out of her love for John Belushi in his “Saturday Night Live” days, had dressed little eight-year-old Maddy in a killer bee outfit. And I, showing a sultry bit of precociousness, had dressed up as one of Count Dracula’s vampire brides. What a motley crew we were; for the last time. All three of us went to bed happy and content that night, or so I had thought.


1:01 p.m.

With a twitch, a shudder, and a small groan, The Mistress wakes. Several moments pass before she accepts that Sominus has abandoned her yet again, and her first coherent thought is that she’s thirsty. Thus, eyes fluttering, licking her dry lips, The Mistress rolls onto her back. Yawning, she slips her hands from beneath the sheets.


The drowsy young woman looks at the clock on the nightstand, and, realizing that her day has already begun, sits up. A long, deep breath helps her shed the remaining cobwebs as she reaches for her mug. The ceramic feels cool against her palm, her bottom lip. The water rushes over her tongue, filling her mouth with delight, soothing her gullet. She drains it all, lets out a dainty burp, and replaces the mug next to the alarm clock.

Better, she thinks.

Much better.

Sighing, The Mistress throws off the bedding, slides from her bed, and rises to greet the world. And it just so happens that today is a very special day for this very special young woman.

As ever, there is so much to do…


The nightmare began when Tina would not open her bedroom door. It was Saturday morning, and I had gone to her room to ask if I could borrow her coveted curling iron. After knocking and calling her name for over a minute I tried to go in. It was locked, which was an uncommon thing in that house. We were never allowed to lock ourselves up like that. And that’s when I began to panic. I remember waking up with a bad feeling in my gut, which only grew with every second that Tina didn’t answer me. Frank (whom I have refused to call “Father” since the day I found Tina’s diary) was in the shower at the time, and Helen (whom I have refused to call “Mother” since the trial) was putting on her makeup when I ran to their room. Helen went to Tina’s door first, then, growing hysterical herself, ran to the bathroom, screaming for help. Frank, wearing only a towel, still dripping wet, wasted little time in busting through.



Mistress Angelique du Mal, in all her naked glory:

Barefoot, she stands five feet, nine inches tall. With no clothes on, she weighs a healthy one-hundred-and-thirty-eight pounds. Her overall form is dense yet taut; a physique molded by hours in the gym. Her flesh, though pale, glows with the healthy sheen of one who takes the utmost care of herself. Her dirty-blonde hair is trimmed close to her skull; almost, but not quite, bald. Her blue eyes sparkle with a shrewdness which belies her youth. She has elegant cheekbones, full lips, and a strong chin. Her breasts hang in perfect D-cup teardrops, crowned by pink candy-corn-sized nipples. Her shoulders, torso, and hips form the proverbial hourglass. Her buttocks, though round and full, are firm and do not jiggle. Her pubic region is hairless and smooth as silk. Her legs are muscular, curvaceous; statuesque. And though Mistress Du Mal eschews most forms of ornamentation and body modification, she does paint her finger- and toenails–all of which are now solid black in honor of Halloween.

Her favorite time of year


And we all saw it. Tina lay dead on the floor, in her silk night gown. An empty bottle of prescription Valium sat on her night stand. An empty pint of vodka lay near her head. Her eyes were open but lifeless. Her skin looked drained of all color. The way her body was twisted suggested that she had suffered until her last breath.

We all just stood and stared for an eternal moment. Shock, I suppose. Then Frank sank to his knees and felt for a pulse…but it was no use.

My big sister had been dead for nearly five hours.


Grinning because she’s just remembered that today is her twenty-ninth birthday, and that Madelyn will be joining her later to celebrate, the fallen angel saunters toward the oval window. She moves with supreme self-assurance, shoulders back, hips swaying, legs crisscrossing in a serpentine strut–

Exuding sexiness even without an audience.

Reaching her destination, heedless of any prying eyes from the street, The Mistress parts her black curtains with theatrical grace. The day outside has dawned overcast and dreary, and what light there is floods the bedroom with its pale glow.

Typical Stark City weather, she thinks, looking over her estate. But who cares? It’s my night, and nothing’s gonna bring me down.

Satisfied, The Mistress turns, walking toward the private bathroom to the right of her bed. The hardwood floor feels cool beneath her feet. Every step brings a pleasant chill, sharpening her focus. At the threshold of her bathroom she pauses, admiring herself in the full length mirror on the door. Her sparkling gaze sweeps from head to toe, then back again, taking in every inch of the body she’s worked so hard to mold to her liking.

“Not bad,” she murmurs, smiling as she performs a flawless pirouette.

“Not bad at all…”

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