Archive | Fiction

Billzilla

Halloween Horror: The Scarecrow

Posted on October 26, 2008 by

Freelance writer and reviewer Bill Bodden has taken a classic Halloween entity and given a new twisted presence in our Halloween Horror series. Artist Jeff Preston helped bring this creature to life with some of his darkest art.

Scarecrows are a staple image of Halloween, but when was the last time you found a scarecrow even slightly scary?

Scarecrows

Created by Bill Bodden

Scarecrows are merely discarded clothing stuffed with straw and stuck on a pole to simulate a human presence in farm fields to keep larger pests, like deer and crows, away from food crops. Ancient ritual demands that the scarecrows be ceremonially burned just after the harvest — around the time of Samhain, or Halloween – and added to celebratory bonfires as an offering to traditions we no longer remember. If the scarecrows aren’t burned, wandering spirits might decide to move into one, animating it and causing all sorts of mischief. Some spirits just like to play pranks, while others have a less well-developed sense of humor….

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Flames

Halloween Horror: Bykovsky’s Letter

Posted on October 25, 2008 by

The latest addition to the Halloween Horror collection is brought to us by game designer Malcolm Craig (a|state, Hot War).

This creature has no known name, but it is feared by those who remember the old stories.

A Letter From The Archives

Created by Malcolm Craig

Fragmentary letter recovered from former Soviet archives.

My Dear Alexei Ivanovich,

You will doubtless be aware of our recent expedition into that most desolate part of the Urals. We entrained in Sevrdlovsk, bound for Ivdel where we would begin our trek. Under the orders of the Minister, our group was composed of [letter becomes water-stained and unclear at this point].

Academician Kotlov was, by this point, exhibiting increasing signs of stress and he began to make anti-revolutionary statements which Comrade Captain Takaishvili was obvious in noting. The avalanche of the previous day and the loss of Alekseev and Kramskoi had, understandably, placed him in a difficult position regarding his responsibility.

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Halloween Horror: Skulkers-in-the-Piles

Posted on October 24, 2008 by

Freelance author David Hill and artist James Lannan bring us a new monster for the Halloween Horror collection today. These little creatures may seem harmless, but they can certainly become vicious from time-to-time.

Just be careful next time you go exploring in the junkyard…

Skulkers-in-the-Piles

Created by David Hill
With Art By James Lannan

Introduction
Skulkers-in-the-Piles, sometimes called “The Refuse,” are vaguely humanoid marsupials that live in and around human trash. They occupy areas where trash accumulates, particularly when finding solid waste in bulk. In recent years, experts suspect that Skulker populations have dwindled, but that is a difficult assertion, as the creatures are remarkably good at hiding in their junk pile empires.

Skulkers have fascinated humans for many years. They have appeared in the folklore and art of urban people, often mistaken for large reptiles or rodents. Children tell stories and draw these pictures, as the creatures have a mysterious way of veiling themselves from the minds and memories of adults.

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Flames

Halloween Horror: The Killer

Posted on October 23, 2008 by

Another bit of fright from game designer Chuck Wendig (Hunter: the Vigil) is here for the Halloween Horror collection. This monster just might be one of us.

Reformed

Created by Chuck Wendig

I am reformed.

It’s been the same every ten years or so. Grave dirt in my mouth. Pillbugs nestled in my nose and eyes. My parts come back together. The skin reaches for skin; tendons tangle and braid and knit. I’m drawn back to myself and I struggle to the light and then I march out into the world.

I always find them. Don’t know how, I just do. It’s like I can smell their blood, like rich sap from a broken family tree. Teenagers, usually. Laughing and dancing and drinking and fucking. Ignorant to what’s coming. Ignorant to what’s come before.

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Matt-M-McElroy

Halloween Horror: Lost Girl

Posted on October 22, 2008 by

My own contribution (with a little help from Brad McDevitt) to the Halloween Horror series is available today. I decided to take the “ghost story” and give it a little bit of an edge. There is more to this tale if folks are interested. You’ll have to let me know…

What are ghosts afraid of?

Lost Girl

Created by Matt M McElroy
With art by Brad McDevitt

“This one here, the blue folder…” the boss had said while pointing to the files on his desk.

I remember picking it up from the stack and flipping through it while the boss rambled on about how things used to be in the city, something about respect and a hard days’ work, I honestly don’t remember at this point.

What else do you remember from that day?

Well, um, I think there were a couple of witness statements and some scans of old newspaper articles. Nothing conclusive. I do remember looking up when the boss turned away from the window to tell me something else.

[...more]
Flames

Halloween Horror: The Room

Posted on October 21, 2008 by

Today’s addition to the Halloween Horror series is not really a monster, but it is something of a nightmare and more than fitting for our collection. Brought to us by game designer and author, John Wick (Thirty, Necromonpoly), is a place of horror you don’t want to visit, Halloween or not.

How do you get in? How do you get out?

The Room

Created by John Wick

The Room remembers you. It keeps a little piece of you. Keeps it close to its heart.

The Room keeps little pieces of those who dream there. Steals it from you. Just a little piece. And in the Room, the pieces it keeps try to escape. They stow away in your coat. Hiding in your hat. Ditch between the cracks in your shaving mirror.

They try to escape, but the Room keeps them close. Very close. In the Room, you can smell her hair and taste his cigar. Feel the cut of the broken bottle as it ripped her skin. Everyone who ever dreamed here left a little something of themselves behind. Memories and dreams caught in its teeth.

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Flames

Halloween Horror: Corpse Bug

Posted on October 20, 2008 by

Freelance writer John D. Kennedy (Shadow Nations) and artist Jeff Preston have a new monster for the Halloween Horror series today.

When fighting the undead, be extra careful around the zombies making buzzing noises…

Corpse Bug

Created by John D. Kennedy
With art by Jeff Preston

“I seen a bug that’ll sting a man. Seen plenty that’ll eat one…first time I ever seen one live in a man though.” – Jerry Bowell, exterminator.

Resembling a cross between a centipede and a beetle, the Corpse Bug is a creature often found living at the edge of towns and cities. A dark brown color, the bug is between two to three inches in length and possesses two pincers on it’s body, one at the mouth with the other at the end of the thorax. These pincers aid in chewing through muscles and skin, while it’s eight legs end in small hooks to aid in climbing and gathering materials.

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Flames

Halloween Horror: The Kragethogil and the Reapers

Posted on October 19, 2008 by

The latest addition to the Halloween Horror series is from game designer and author, Monte Cook (Worlds of Their Own, Ptolus). Monte took a short break from researching his latest project for this bit of horror.

There are things in the deep best left alone, things that are very hungry…

The Kragethogil and the Reapers

Created by Monte Cook

Sometimes, the most terrible thing is that which you never see. The kragethogil dwells deep underwater, a monstrously vast, ghastly abomination of spiny tendrils and sightless eyes. No one knows precisely what it looks like, because the creature never comes to the surface, and never confronts its prey.

That’s for the reapers to do.

Through a horrific psychic intrusion, the kragethogil spawns tiny extensions of itself within the minds of swimmers and fishermen straying into waters they should have avoided. After a brief and bloody gestation, the telepathically implanted larva takes control of the host and transforms it from within, assimilating its flesh into its own. The result is a reaper.

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Halloween Horror: Red Head

Posted on October 18, 2008 by

Next up in the Halloween Horror series is a little something from freelancer writer Filamena Young and artist J.R. Blackwell. Together they give us a new look at a bit of myth and legend.

Red Head

Created by Filamena Young
With Photographic Art by J.R. Blackwell

Eloise Renee Canton does not like the term ‘red cap’ and in fact if you mention it when speaking to her she will grow very cross. If you push her on that name, it’s implication or about her ancestry, she is very likely to grow violent and cause great bodily harm to any and all around.

She’s capable of it as well, though her mostly human face would say otherwise, her jaw can unhinge at the joint and her lips split in several places to allow her the rare ability to bite onto just about anything. Her preference is bone, but she does not widely advertise this fact.

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Flames

Halloween Horror: Cheap Labor

Posted on October 17, 2008 by

A new twist on a classic horror favorite is today’s entry in the Halloween Horror series. Game designer Jared A. Sorensen (InSpectres, Requiem Chronicler’s Guide) brings us a story about the dead, although not in the way you might be expecting.

A new “working class” with only a few minor drawbacks…

Cheap Labor

Created by Jared A. Sorensen

There’s a stain on the floor and he’s scrubbing it like it’s blood and the police are on their way, lights flashing, tires squealing. Not fast but vigorous, relentless. We’re watching him. We’ve been watching him through the window for going on ten minutes and he hasn’t let up, hasn’t slowed down a beat. Constant, like a timepiece ticking away the seconds, minutes. Soon to be hours. Jim breaks the spell.

“Gus? Gus.”

The scrubbing stops. The man crouched over the coffee stain on the carpet stops and looks up. His face is old and gaunt, skin stretched tight over razor cheekbones. That vacant stare. Dead eyes.

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Flames

Halloween Horror: Quisivore

Posted on October 16, 2008 by

Our new addition to the Halloween Horror series is brought to use by game designer Eddy Webb (Mind’s Eye Theatre: The Awakening).

Eddy brings us a tale of desperation and horror, just what is a Quisivore? Is it coming for you next?

The Quisivore

Created by Eddy Webb

Eyewitness Transcript: January 24. Cincinnati, Ohio.
“The name ‘quisivore’ is something I made up, just a name to give it. I’m not even sure if the creature has a proper name, or if he’s part of a species. The one I met called himself Claude.”

“Claude looks human enough on the surface. He’s got a long, diamond-shaped scar on his face, but since I saw him over the rim of a burning oil drum late at night, I couldn’t get a really good look at him. As we talked, I started to realize that the scar wasn’t the only unusual thing about him. Everything he said was a statement. Everything. He never once asked a question, not even a rhetorical one. He didn’t ask me my name. He said ‘I don’t know your name,’ and let me fill in the gaps.

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Flames

Halloween Horror: Quinkana Prodigius

Posted on October 15, 2008 by

Horror author Scott Lette (Arkham Tales) brings us a tale of terror for the Halloween Horror collection. Scott gives us a glimpse of a man vs. nature story from Australia.

Have these creatures returned from someplace else, and if so, why?

Quinkana Prodigius

Created by Scott Lette

FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND TORN APART BY MONSTER CROC PLAGUE
Posted Sat. September 27, 2008 3.35pm AEST

The Queensland Premier has declared a state of emergency in Far-North Queensland as the number of unexplained attacks from “land crocodiles” continues to rise.

“I have been in consultation with the Emergency Services Minister,” the Premier said during a Press conference in Brisbane today.

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alanajoli

Halloween Horror: Hounds of the Morrigan

Posted on October 14, 2008 by

Author Alana Abbott (Chronicles of Ramlar, Serenity Adventures) and artist Jeff Preston bring another creature for our Halloween Horror collection.

Those who cheat death beware, can you hear the baying of the hounds?

Hounds of the Morrigan

Created by Alana Abbott
With Art by Jeff Preston

Like their mistresses, the hounds of the Morrigan are harbingers of death, choosing those who, in battle, will perish at the hands of their enemies. A vision of one of these great, black dogs is an omen of death: warriors who see the hounds know that their doom is near. It has been said that just the sight of the hounds is enough to cause a mortal to die of fear: their coat appears both as fur and as the black feathers of a crow, their eyes glow red at a distance and swirl like pools of blood up close, and their fangs are bronze and sharp as daggers. Few who have been in the presence of the hounds survive to tell their story.

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JLaSala

Halloween Horror: Glaring Hunter

Posted on October 13, 2008 by

A new twist on one of our favorite monsters is brought to us by author Jeff LaSala (Darkwood Mask) with art from Bradley K. McDevitt (Blood!).

Watch the rooftops, you never who, or what, may be watching you…

Glaring Hunter

Created by Jeff LaSala
With Art by Brad McDevitt

Everyone knows what gargoyles are, but very few legends have survived the ages concerning these gruesome stone antiquities. One such story that has endured in some circles is that of the anomalous statue known as the Glaring Hunter. Though it is far less famous than its Notre Dame brethren, the Hunter is the only gargoyle said to appear, without explanation, in more than one place.

The earliest confirmed account of its existence came from a 14th Century anchorite in the north of England who described its perch upon an old abbey wall. An ancient scroll rumored to be one of the lost Gospels also made reference to “the Staring Demon” whose presence Biblical scholars say follows the steps of the Devil.

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Preston DuBose

Halloween Horror: Biting Water

Posted on October 12, 2008 by

Today’s addition to the Halloween Horror series is from game designer Preston DuBose (Bloodlines) from 12 to Midnight. Artist Jeff Preston adds a bit of colorful dread to this strange creature.

Be careful where you go swimming, there are more than sharks to be afraid of…

Biting Water

Created by Preston Dubose
With Art by Jeff Preston

From the icy waters off the tip of Alaska to the warm coastal waters of Malaysia, Biting Water tears life from all manner of creatures. Some fishermen call it “witch’s water”, “dead water”, or “stinging water” and attribute it variously to a cursed shipwreck, underwater volcanic activity, witchcraft, jellyfish, invisible sea monsters, and aliens. Biting Water is a patch of ocean water anywhere from 20 to 110 feet in diameter that paralyzes its prey before painfully grinding flesh from bone. Reports from those brave or foolish enough to investigate suggest that Biting Water is the same color and temperature as the surrounding ocean.

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Flames

Halloween Horror: Babylonian Mummy

Posted on October 11, 2008 by

Author, editor and game designer Monica Valentinelli (Tales of the Seven Dogs Society, Violet War) introduces us to a different kind of mummy with her entry in the Halloween Horror series here are Flames Rising.

Artist Brad McDevitt contributes to the mystery with a bit of his artwork.

Babylonian Mummy

Created by Monica Valentinelli
With Art from Brad McDevitt

Deep in the heart of the desert, a circle of seven ancient Babylonian temples weathered by sand, stand testament to a forgotten age. Great stone wings adorn falling archways, covered with an undecipherable combination of script and hieroglyphs. There are no living priests in this hallowed place, no servants to call upon the gods and goddesses waiting in the heart of each gilded temple. There is nothing but the wind and the sand, blowing through abandoned temples and the resting place of the Babylonian gods and goddesses.

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Flames

Sneak Peek at Vampire Apocalypse: Descent into Chaos by Derek Gunn

Posted on October 11, 2008 by

We have an early look at horror author Derek Gunn’s new Vampire Apocalypse novel Descent into Chaos. This is the sequel to A World Torn Asunder.

Here on Flames Rising today we have the Prologue of the new book.

Vampire Apocalypse: Descent into Chaos

Two Years Ago: Boston

It was still early evening but the relentless advance of the dark was already heralding its dominion as the sun began to slip slowly below the horizon. In places, patches of light still flared valiantly—though, ineluctably, they too began to give ground with each passing moment. Harris grinned wryly as he thought how fitting their predicament was as he and his fellow survivors defended themselves against the oncoming hoard in their last remaining stronghold. He rated their chances no better than the light that, even now, was relinquishing its last tenuous grip on the cityscape.

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Flames

Halloween Horror: The House Spider

Posted on October 10, 2008 by

Horror author and game designer Richard Dansky (Firefly Rain, Worlds of Their Own) has offered up a new monster for the Halloween Horror collection here at Flames Rising.

Jeff Preston adds a little horror of his own with a stunning visual of this rarely seen but always felt creature…

The House Spider

Created by Rich Dansky
With Art by Jeff Preston

The House Spider does not feed on blood, or flesh, or anything so messy and gory as that. It lives in the dwelling places of the timid, the fearful, the cluttered and the cautious. It finds them by their tell-tale signs, their overloaded bookshelves and their disorganized collections, their piles of papers and dimly lit rooms, and there it settles, invisibly. In olden days, many lived in reading rooms, on top of green-shaded desk lamps or in the rare empty spaces on bookshelves. These days, they settle more beneath the computer desk, or near the television, or in amongst the video game consoles and their surrounding debris.

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Flames

Halloween Horror: Tabbinius Cats

Posted on October 9, 2008 by

Game designer Eloy LaSanta brings us our next monster in the Halloween Horror series.

Thanks to the Tabbinius Cats, there just might be a reason for all the superstition about black cats crossing your path…

Tabbinius Cats

Created by Eloy Lasanta

This evil creature has origins of the days of witches for mortals and trials that surrounded. Some witches were banished them from society or outright killed, but they had other ways of messing with townspeople. They turned black cats into their familiars, making them spies and vessels for the witch. She has several cats, each powerful in their own right, but many were killed as stories of black cats spread throughout the colonies. Tabbinius, one of her particularly clever cats, made his own deals with demons that released him from his link to the witch and gave him the ability to speak, but required him to feed on human souls. He led the other familiars against their witch, making her the first soul to be a tribute to the demon.

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Flames

Halloween Horror: The Werewolf of Bedburg

Posted on October 8, 2008 by

This new twist on the legend of the werewolf is brought to us by author and game designer Jason L Blair (The Long Count, Little Fears).

Beware the Beast of Bedburg, it has a hunger that is never satisfied…

The Werewolf of Bedburg

Created by Jason L Blair

Under a pregnant summer moon, a boy named Peter Stübbe, followed a trail that led down to the creek that marked the boundary of his family’s farm. Lying in the muddy water was the body of a brown wolf cub. As its life escaped further with every breath, its lupine features faded and slowly Peter realized that it was no cub at all—but the body of a boy no older than he was. Against his better sense, he picked up a long thin stick and prodded the wolfboy with it. With its last raspy breath, it lunged at Peter, biting him on his arm. Peter’s parents found their son the next day, laying unconscious beside the body of a dead boy. Swearing never to speak of the incident again, the father went about burying the deceased child immediately while his wife tended to their son.

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11 Tales of Ghostly Horror

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