Monthly Archives: June 2013

A Brief Hiatus…

Due to the sad news last week that my father-in-law passed away and then more bad news about another relative, the mag will be on a brief hiatus while things around here get back to normal.

Don’t worry, the mag won’t be closing down or anything like that.

In the mean time, please catch up with the other stories that have been published and check out the archives over at Thrillers, Killers ‘n’ Chillers.

Thank you and I appreciate your patience and continued support.

Cheers!

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A Sucker For A Pretty Face by Keith Gingell

Amalia swung around when I entered through the French windows.  ‘Hello, Albert. What are you doing here?’ she said. ‘I thought you were in the dark room all morning.’

She always called me Albert, even though it wasn’t my name, and I’m not fat.  Her expression changed as I raised the antique cast iron planter she bought at an auction the week before.  Her eyes followed its arc as I swung it towards her head. I swear she smiled, like I was joking.  It connected with her skull making a sound like a hatchet on wood.  The lip of the bowl made an axe-like cleft.  I noticed that before the blood flooded out.  She collapsed vertically without a sound.  Reminded me of the 9/11 towers – sans dust.

The bone and greyish jelly on the urn told me I didn’t need to hit her again.  Her expression was blank, like she was engrossed in her favourite TV soap, except she was ruining our Persian carpet with blood pumping from the hole in her head.

I dropped the urn and checked in the mirror for blood spatter on my clothes.  I had some on my pink Lacoste polo.  I had two, bought them in the sales last winter.  I had two of everything I was wearing.  Amalia laughed at me when I showed her, she said I was in danger of becoming a uniform.  I said I intended to buy two of everything in future.  She said it was a stupid waste of money and forbade it.

Up in our bedroom, I changed into my the duplicate garments and packed the others into one of Amalia’s Harrods bags.  I pulled out all the drawers on her dresser and emptied her jewellery case, making sure a few pieces fell on the carpet.  I raided the wardrobes scattering our clothes all over the floor.  I threw my collection of cufflinks and tie pins over my shoulder.

Back in the lounge, I went out to the garden and locked the French windows.  I smashed the window pane near the handle, put my hand through, unlocked the door from the inside, leaving the key in the lock and pushed it open.  By now the Persian carpet had soaked up most of Amalia’s blood.  I dropped one of her diamond earrings on the threshold, knocked over a couple of  pot plants on the terrace and made a trail with more pieces from her jewellery box towards the side entrance – expensive breadcrumbs.  I opened the gate and threw my Rolex Datejust on the path.  Shit, that really hurt.

I cut across the lawn and hopped over the hedge.  After that it was just a walk through the woodlands to the entrance leading to my dark room.  I hid the Harrods bag and entered the dark room.  I checked the time – another thirty minutes before I finished the developing session I told my assistants I was doing. I congratulated myself.  Six months of planning since I found the blocked off entrance to a cellar under the dark room floor which led to a forgotten trap door in the ruined church: perfect.

I met Amalia when I worked for a struggling advertising agency.  She flirted, I reciprocated.  She’d recently divorced, scoring a very large settlement.  Amalia was a smart operator.  It was her idea to use the money to finance our own studio.  Photography was my job, she found clients.  When the agency finally went tits-up, we were the only studio in the area.  The contracts rolled in; so did the money.  Soon we took on staff and needed bigger premises.  We found the perfect place, a rundown Georgian ex-vicarage adjoining an abandoned church.  We rented it for a song.  A short walk away, we bought a house.  Amalia used it for her HQ, rather than get distracted by visitors to the studio.

I’ve never considered myself a womaniser.  People have told me I’m attractive, but I never bought that.  When I look in the mirror an ordinary Joe looks back, certainly not  Brad Pitt, but some women react to me.  I’ve always had trouble resisting the chemistry.  Usually it comes to nothing, a flirtation.  Sometimes it goes further.  Always a sucker for a pretty face . . . weak I suppose.

We employed Julie, a photography student, to assist with the more mundane work: weddings and stuff. She lacked experience so I took her on a calendar shoot around Ullswater.  Lake District weather being what it is, we spent a lot of time parked up waiting out heavy showers.  The windows on the SUV steamed up . . . . She had this smile.

The affair lasted two months.  Amalia came to the studio unexpectedly one afternoon and heard us in the dark room.  She fired Julie on-the-spot.  After that all my assistants were male, she even refused to hire gays.  I thought that was pushing it.

Amalia was very understanding, she took me out  to dinner.

‘You have no idea how bloody hard I worked to pin something on that old fool,’ she explained. ‘Every penny of the settlement went into our business.  My work has made us worth a million and we’re growing.’  She leant across the table and kissed my cheek. ‘Albert, my darling, if you think I’m going to divorce you for a measly half-million, forget it.’ She sat back and raised her glass of  ’95 Medoc and smiled. ‘Besides, if you do it again you won’t get a red-cent.’

That was four years ago.  Now the business is worth a fortune.  Amalia was too close to finding out about Sarina and there was no way I intended losing my share of seven-million.  Sure, it’s tough on Amalia, but nobody’s going to break in and rob a penniless model are they?

Keith GingellBio:  Keith Gingell has been writing the ‘odd’ stories for about five years. He has pieces published in Thillers Killers and Chillers, A Twist of Noir, Pulp Metal Magazine.  Also he has a story in Matt’s Action Pulse Pounding tales and in Byker Book’s Radgepacket 3, 4 and 5 anthologies.

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Updates…

I had a feeling it would happen but not on the scale that it has.

SUBMISSIONS have been unbelievable, so much so that I’m going to close them for a short time.  I didn’t really want to do this but, on top of the high volume of stories, real life dictates my time and things have been busy.  I also think it was a bit short sighted of me to think that leaving sub’s open at all times was an easy thing to do.

All current submissions will have a response during this week and stories accepted will be scheduled.  Once I know the outcome and get down to the last few I will open sub’s again.

Thank you for continued support.  It is very much appreciated.

* * *

There is another new story going up in the next couple of days but, in the meantime, please catch up with stories already published AND check out the stories at the old place, Thrillers, Killers ‘n’ Chillers – there are some real beauties over there.

Cheers!

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Kev Gets A Break by Dana C. Kabel

Kev was fucked.

He had no home, no car, and nobody to lean on.  It was thirty-eight degrees outside and dropping on a chilly autumn evening.  He made it to the shelter two minutes past curfew…just in time to have the door shut in his face.

It was going to be a long night.

 He was wearing a pair of smelly, ripped jeans and a threadbare polo shirt.  Holey shoes from the shelter and no socks.

Two days had passed since any solid food went in his belly, and he drank his last beer four hours ago.  Now he stood in the warm entrance of a twenty-four hour Wal-Mart, pretending he was waiting for a ride.

He knew that after a while someone would complain about his existence and the manager would come out and ask him to leave.  Either that or they would just call the cops.  Maybe he would get belligerent and get a jail cot for the night.

Kev perked up when the stranger walked in and snapped a hundred dollar bill in front of his face. He almost got a hard-on.

“You want this?”  The man asked in an Eastern European accent.

The hard-on went away.

“I ain’t no fag,” Kev said.

“Good.  I’m not looking for a blow job,” the man said.

“What do you want?”

“I want you to beat someone up.”

Kev laughed. 

“Yeah, sure.  I’m a real badass.”  He spread his arms out to display his skeletal frame. Kev couldn’t have tipped the scales at more than a hundred and ten.

“I’m going to tell the manager you’re panhandling.  When he comes out to ask you to leave, you lay into him with this pipe.”

He held out a formidable piece of lead.  Kev instinctively reached out and took it because he was used to taking whatever was offered to him. Just then the entrance doors slid open and a fat woman in too tight clothes and tattooed ankles pushed a squeaky cart through.

Kev tucked the pipe under his arm. The fat lady glared at him through piggy eyes and walked away fast.

“What’s the deal, dude?” Kev asked.

“The deal is simple. You beat the shit out of the manager and you get the hundred dollar bill. You can get a cheap room and a bottle of whatever you like to float away to paradise on.”

“You know there’s like, cameras all over these fucking stores.” Kev nodded up at the ceiling where there just happened to be a smoky glass orb above their heads.

“That one isn’t working. I’ve already made certain of it.”

Kev shrugged. What did he have to lose?

“Here,” the man said. He held out a trucker hat and wraparound shades.

Kev donned the thin disguise and waited while the stranger passed through the sliding doors. Very little foot traffic passed him in the meantime. A couple of housewives came out with loaded grocery carts. He imagined it was the best time to do their shopping, while their kids were home in bed and nobody was out.

He bounced against the wall. The liquor stores were closed, but he could get as much malt liquor as he could carry from any 24 hour gas station and still have plenty of change for a cheap room and a sack of Big Macs.

Before he could think about anything else, the automatic doors slid open and the stranger came out with a fat man in a blue plastic vest with the Wal-Mart logo on the breast pocket.

“That’s him,” the stranger said, pointing at Kev.

“Sir,” the manager started.

But before he could say anything else, Kev pulled the pipe out from under his arm and swung.

The fat man was surprisingly fast. He not only moved out of the weapon’s reach, but he did something to Kev’s arm that hurt like a bitch and made him drop the pipe.

“Oh my!” The stranger gasped.

Kev screamed and held his arm. It felt like it was broken. Then his leg went out from under him. Before he felt the pain in his leg, he heard a loud snap and found himself lying on the ground.

The fat manager stood over him in some kind of karate pose, like Mr. Fucking Miyagi. Then he bent over and picked up the lead pipe that Kev had dropped. The stranger had a phone in his hands, pointing it like a camera. He was taking pictures or a video. And he was smiling like a lunatic.

“What the fuck is this?” Kev shouted.

 The manager turned and looked over his shoulder.

“Are you recording this?”

The stranger stopped smiling. He lowered the phone.

Kev tried to get up. His leg was broken and he couldn’t stand. But he could crawl…barely.

The manager’s aggression shifted to the man with the camera-phone like a shark smelling fresh blood in the water. He charged forward with the intent of ripping the device away at the very least.

The stranger was backed against the wall and tried covering himself as he stuffed the phone away in his pocket. The manager snarled and grabbed his arms, dropping the piece of lead that clanged on the concrete floor.

Kev painfully crawled towards them. The two men went to the ground struggling for possession of the phone. Sirens cried in the distance. One of the shopping housewives had called the cops.

Kev’s injuries were painful. If he was lucky, he would be kept in the hospital overnight and released with some good painkillers. Then he would be out in the cold again. Winter was around the corner and he needed a more permanent solution to his homeless problem.

The other two men had become so busy fighting over the little phone that they didn’t even notice Kev pull himself up on his knees. They didn’t see him raise the lead pipe high up in the air with his one good hand.

Dana KabelBio:  Dana C. Kabel’s stories have appeared in A Twist of Noir, Black Heart Magazine, The Flash Fiction Offensive, Muzzleflash, Mysterical-E, Out of the Gutter, Shotgun Honey, Thrillers, Killers ‘N Chillers and Yellow Mama, to mention a few. He has a story in the upcoming Otto Penzler collection, KWIK KRIMES, and he blogs at www.thenonstopbullet.blogspot.com

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