EPICENE

India had her fair share of relationships, most of which were serious and lasted for a good long while and ended amicably, but there was only one true love in her life, one she cherished above all others and considered, whose bonds she considered eternal.

So, when she received the invitation to her high school reunion and learned her fantasy paramour Keith would be there, India went on a crash diet, bought the most stunning dress within her price range, and paid to have a professional makeover. She was determined to make Keith take notice and if the gods were on her side, rekindle the long ago spark that made her toes curl.

And her efforts were not in vain. Keith was floored by how beautiful she was after all these years. She, on the other hand, was more than a little disappointed that he had lost the epicene features of his youth. Gone were the long eyelashes, doe eyes, full lips and shoulder-length golden curls she secretly envied and loved so dearly.

If I Told You…

When Polly returned from her interstellar expedition, she and her husband made up for lost sex and in a half-drowsy afterglow moment of pillow talk, she let slip the secret of the universe and lamented the loss of Bob, for now, she was required to kill him.

Let The Angry Word Be Answered Only With A Kiss

She is furious with me again for some perceived slight. This has been happening quite a bit lately. Because her temper has no gauge, she insults me, a barrage of verbal barbs that tear at my emotions and I should be fighting back, but I refuse. My response to her slurs sit stale on the back of my tongue, threatening to choke me. I could end this with one phrase but between victory and love, I choose love.

No Way To Talk To A Lady

“Nothing will ever harm you when I am near,” Alethea said, her voice mild and her breath moist with the promise of spring laced with the potential of a budding romance.

“That is not true,” Calvin said. “This is all a trick to lure me into dropping my defenses.”

“You do not trust me?” the she-demon who wore the face of a human seemed genuinely injured by the remark. “Do you see me as the weak-minded do, as some sort of heathen monster?”

“I meant no offense, miss, believe me,” Calvin answered, backing away as slow as humanly possible for he was taught as a young lad that immortal beings take no notice of unhurried movements. “It is simply against my religious beliefs to engage in amorous congress with The Beast.”

“And there we have it,” Alethea said as her gaze slid off his innocent, blanched face. “The sad truth and the final nail in your coffin. Before I send you from this wretched thing you call existence, know one thing: I would have protected you with my life til my undying day had you only accepted me as I am. Now, however, I will feast on your flesh and bake my bread with your bones.”

Sebaceous Splendors

I run a shoppe on the High Street, a tiny place that has a terrible word of mouth reputation, primarily for the produce I sell. In my shop, Sebaceous Splendors, you can find the finest cuts of skin, the purest jars of blood, and the cleanest bones on the continent. Looking for a body part? Come to Sebaceous. Need a fresh organ to grind? Sebaceous has you covered. And where do you go when your sinew and tendons run low? You guessed it: Sebaceous.

In the cold light of day, townsfolk would not be caught dead entering my establishment, which is why I switched to night hours. Under the cloak of twilight, as the rest of the village sleeps, slippered feet shuffle across cobblestones and slink into my shoppe. The shadowed alleyways surrounding my business are choked with clientele awaiting their turn to dash in and purchase a bit of the abnormal, either for spells and enchantment or to satisfy an unnatural appetite. I cast no aspersions. I sell what I sell. What you do with it is your own affair.

Not all who visit are right-minded, as one might surmise. Some syphilitic fingersmiths seek to cheat me of my efforts by attempting to nick a spleen or appendix and make a mad dash for it, which is why I purchased a NeverEver dog, so named because if one ever sank its five rows of teeth into you, you would never commit that or any crime ever again.

So, the next time you have a craving for something that cannot be procured at your local mart or need to bind someone to you, heart and soul, for all eternity, consider dropping by Sebaceous Splendors, open Midnight to Dawn, with nightly Hour of the Wolf specials!

The Love Heist

The one thing Crispin excelled at was pulling capers. The thing he was absolute shit at was maintaining a healthy intimate relationship, so when Fern left him, instead of wallowing in self-loathing and misery, he set out to win her back by treating it like a heist.

His hastily assembled crew consisted of a skip tracer to locate Fern’s exact whereabouts, a three-man extraction team to kidnap her, a props manager to supply non-lethal firearms and blood squibs, a location scout to find the perfect secluded warehouse to hold his ex hostage, and a greeting card writer to provide him with the mushy stuff needed to show her just how much he cared once he rescued her.

It most likely would have gone to plan had Crispin not overlooked the fact that Fern was an ex-Army Night Stalker who had taken out the extraction team, tortured his plan out of them and was now on his trail for a little payback.

The Price of Admission

It took omissions, half-truths and bald-faced lies, as well as everything she owned, everything she borrowed and everything she could steal to gain entry into this most holy of places. Melissa greeted the maître d’heaven with a sly smile as she handed over her excellently forged credentials.

Maître D tossed the documents aside and with the slightest flick of his wrist caused her clothing to evaporate into thin air. Melissa stood straight-backed and proud because she knew her body was immaculate, but there was something in the maître d’s gaze that forced her to look at herself.

At her left foot, a writing quill began engraving her evenly tanned flesh with silvery symbols that appeared to be beautiful and breathtaking when first applied but slowly turned a horrific mottled and bruised purple as the ink dried. The designs snaked up around her leg, over her inguen, around her ribcage and breasts and concluded on her neck, with the sharp point of the quill hovering just over her jugular vein.

“What the hell is this?” Melissa asked, gesturing at the jumble of symbols, none of which she recognized, that made her throat constrict just to look at.

“These,” the maître d answered in a civil tone, free of contempt. “Are your sins, a lifetime’s worth. You have been marked, just as Cain had, and since you strived so hard to enter this establishment, access has been granted. You are free to travel as you wish, but everyone will know your crimes and you will know unending shame. Please enjoy your stay.”

Rules of Visitation

I almost missed her visit. It was unannounced, unplanned, and unexpected, primarily because I did not believe in ghosts. Not that my belief system mattered for there it was, blending perfectly into the hiss of raindrops pelting the cobblestones outside. Her voice.

She called to me again and again until finally attracting my attention and I turned to see her, pressed against the window glass, lurking like a mist, water beading across her translucent face. I struggled to open the window but could not, wanted to run outside to touch her, to hold her but I was held in place by some unknown force.

It was then that Rosalyn patiently explained, around my unending barrage of questions, the rules of our engagement. We were now a couple united in sorrow and therefore she was only permitted to visit me when the rain fell on the anniversaries of our birthdays, our wedding, and today, the date of her untimely death.

Proper Way To Consider A Spouse’s Idea

When her husband presented his idea, Morganna appeared to consider it but she had actually folded it up tacitly, gracefully, and accurately as she would have pleated a handkerchief of spider’s gossamer, and stowed it away on the highest shelf in her mind.

Early Delivery

If you’ve never been in the presence of pure evil, let me tell you that it’s palpable and overwhelms all your senses because its very nature is too raw for the sane mind to handle. That’s how it was last night, there was this tension in our bedroom, so powerful it woke me from a dead sleep.

That was when I caught an unnatural movement out the corner of my eye. I stumbled out of bed when I saw a tiny gray hand sticking out of my pregnant wife’s stomach. I shrieked as fingernails sharpened to points slowly and deliberately scratched at bloody belly flesh. I covered my mouth and swallowed bile at the same time that I was screaming.