“I don’t know just what it is about word games that I find so tremendously… compelling,” Mamet said as he tilted the little amber vial in one pudgy hand, carefully spooning out a large tuft of whitish powder with the other. He trembled only slightly as he guided the stuff to his right nostril and sniffed hard. His little pig-eyes blinked once or twice in reaction and he sat still as a portrait for a long moment, mouth agape, staring fixedly at some unguessable middle distance like some life-size cardboard cut-out of Tor Johnson—and an oddly happy Tor Johnson at that.
His companion, a small ratlike man in his mid-thirties, had not seen Plan Nine From Outer Space, or any of the other vintage 40’s and 50’s horror films starring that inimitable and lovable hunk of murderous flesh; but he knew a big fat obnoxious dolt when he saw one.
At this moment, however, he was not actually seeing Mamet at all; his attention was fixed solely and irrevocably on the nearly empty vial in the big man’s hand and he fidgeted anxiously, wiping at his own nose at irregular intervals of once every three to five seconds.
The table at which they sat was in a darkened corner of a nearly empty bar, The Impacted Colon. Normally the place was teeming and crawling with the most disgusting and degenerate denizens of the city’s slums, wharfs and sewers: murderers, thieves, rapists, mimes, performance artists. It was rumored that here, for a mere shilling or two, on could buy certain services not offered in any of the finer malls and vending establishments—a leg broken, a throat cut, a nose picked. For a small additional charge, these services could be rendered upon one’s enemies rather than oneself. And it was even whispered that for the right price, one could purchase things that no human being, sane or otherwise, would ever want to buy for any reason whatsoever—though the point of such whisperings was itself a source of even more whispering, soft and furtive and perhaps too difficult to hear with any accuracy… which then often quickly degenerated into bouts of meaningless grimacing and hissing, followed soon thereafter, if good fortune prevailed, by an abrupt change of subject.
It was very late this night, though, and whatever patrons weren’t dead or drunk, or perhaps both, had apparently paired off and wandered out into the night fog to have meaningless, impersonal sex. This was apparent by the wide array of muffled barnyard noises emanating from the alley outside.
Mamet blinked again, regaining sudden awareness of his surroundings. “Oh—what was I saying?”
“Word games,” mumbled the other through his hand, from which he had already completely chewed many of the nails. This was by no means his nastiest habit.
“Oh, oh yes, word games, indeed—like this!” Grinning goofily, he held the small glass container up to illustrate: “Vile stuff, this, eh? Eh?” He jiggled the vial as if to draw the other’s attention and concretize the connection of his little pun, momentarily failing to realize that the rat-man could not have been more aware of it had Mamet reached across the table and stuck it in his eye.
All the way, until the eyeball exploded and the vial imbedded itself in the back of the socket—but who would do something like that, or even think such a thing?
Nevertheless the rat-man smiled, nodded several times, forced himself to chuckle politely. He considered making a grab for it.
Sudden comprehension registered in Mamet’s immense jowled face. “Oh, oh yes, here you are!” He handed the vial and spoon over, his movements slow and cumbersome. The rat-man, much faster, met him more than halfway. “Enjoy, oh yes, do enjoy,” he drawled, smiling dully as the other did so without hesitation.
He had just tapped the last of the vial’s contents when a shadow crossed their table. A topless barmaid with numerous tumors, chancres, sores and a particularly livid series of scars where here nipples should have been stood above them. “Drink up now gents—closing time.” The rat-man eyed her charms as she sauntered away, leering disgustingly (the rat-man, not her—well, actually, both.)
Suddenly Mamet leaned across the table and patted the rat-man on the shoulder several times. “Why not come home with me tonight?” he blurted out. “I’ve got some really good stuff back at my flat—one-eighty a gram, and worth every penny!”
The rat-man eyed Mamet suspiciously. Theirs had been a chance meeting, one of those things that just seems to happen in some short fiction, often without even a decent attempt at explanation. His beady rat-like eyes narrowed, and he wondered: “Why this sudden come-on? He doesn’t know me, and I’m not buying. I’m not connected. How come he’s plying me with coke? What does this guy want, anyway?”
And suddenly the homosexual tension in that small block of space was so thick you could cut it with a knife.
In fact, it was so thick that you could stab it repeatedly, pull out all the internal organs and just sort of bathe your face in their moist heat—though who would think such a thing, or even want to?
Now in actuality, the rat-man was no stranger to homosexual experience, not at all. In point of fact, he’d had sex with all manner of creature at one time or another in his storied past, from chickens to carnival geeks—though never at the same time, for obvious reasons—but the one thing that he could not abide was fat. The very thought of co-mingling his own flesh with someone of such fantastically porcine dimension made nothing but his gorge rise.
(The only other thing the rat-man had never tried was necrophilia, and this on moral grounds—after much consideration he’d decided to save something for marriage.)
But murder, on the other hand…
At first torn between desire and caution, the rat-man’s desire was quickly winning out. High as he was, his mind had made swift calculation of all of these factors, and already he’d thought: “Why not? I’ll go, snort as much as I can, and if this tub of lard starts coming on too strong I can always split. Piece o’ cake.”
In fact, having enjoyed more than half a gram of Mamet’s stash already, his mind went blustering on, alight with inspiration and confident conviction: “Hey, y’know, this guy could be loaded! Maybe I’ll just lead him on, beat the shit out of him once we get back to his place and take his coke, his watch, maybe rob the joint! Yeah, hey—maybe I could knock him out, tie him up and steal everything—credit cards, jewelry, vehicles, bank account, yeah, yeah… I think I’ll go.”
All of these thoughts sprinted-hopped through the rat-man’s almost audibly popping mind in an instant—but before he could reply, Mamet had already sensed his original reservations and was hastening to dispel them.
“Oh, oh, I hope you don’t think I’m—well, not that I have anything against that sort of thing, but—you see, I’m not after your body or anything like that, no, not at all! I… I could just use the company, that’s all. I do so love to talk—and to listen as well—life can be so lonely at times… and I thought, well, I’ve so enjoyed myself tonight, you’re quite an interesting conversationalist yourself it seems to me, and I just didn’t want it to end, I—”
“Hey, hey, that’s cool,” the rat-man piped up. “Yeah, we could do that, why not? Sure.”
Mamet beamed. “Wonderful!” He stood and began to put on his ponderous coat. “I’ve a nice claret at home in the fridge, and some lovely chocolates too…”
“God, don’t you ever shut up?” the rat-man thought as he got up and followed him to the door.
Outside, the London fog was so thick you could go out and murder whores and strippers in it, and leave their mutilated bodies right out in the open for young children to find the next morning—though what kind of mind would wish to labor overlong in considering such possibilities?
“Ah, beautiful night, isn’t it?” Mamet said, and went right on chattering without waiting for an answer. “It’s just a short walk—and it’s good for the heart anyway, walking that is—”
A pretty young woman came striding alone out of the fog toward them. “Good evening, dearie!” Mamet exclaimed heartily, and she smiled shyly, walked on into the night from whence she’d come.
“Now there’s what I like! Women! God love ‘em—not that they’d have anything to do with me, but there’s no harm in looking! What do you like? I’m a breast man myself, but to each his own! I must confess, I’m a bachelor, confirmed, yes! They are so nice to look at, but brains? Ha! Besides, they talk too much! Oh well—did I mention that I’m a chef? Gourmet, yes, all sorts of delicacies—but what do you do? Don’t tell me, let me guess… um, sales! No? Don’t tell me… ”
Within the rat-man’s mind a controversy was raging: “First I’ll kill him, then do all the coke, then… no, first I’ll do the coke, then I’ll kill him—no, wait, I know—I’ll tie him up and gag him and do all the coke and then I’ll kill him slowly—wait, I really should gag him first, then tie him up… shit, maybe I should just kill him, then tie him up, then gag him… then kill him again, maybe…”
Finally they arrived in front of a large, dilapidated two-story brownstone. No illumination shone from within. The buildings on either side looked just as deserted and forlorn. It was perfect.
“Here we are!” Mamet continued without missing a beat, much as a heart continues on without missing a beat—until someone takes a circular saw, opens up the chest, wrenches it out with their bare hands and bites it savagely five or six times as if it were some sort of separate little enemy that needs to be killed individually—though what kind of deranged thought processes could come up with an image like that is anybody’s guess!
“This key’s a little tricky,” he blathered on incessantly. “Let’s just see if—ah, there we go. Come in, come in!”
Mamet snapped on lights as they went, and the rat-man followed him into a large, well-appointed living room with an immensely high ceiling. To the left a wide staircase wound up to the second; to the right, a stone fireplace with chairs and a small table pulled up before it. Mamet headed straight across and through an arched doorway at the other end, yammering all the way: “Make yourself at home, take off your coat! I’ll just get that claret… if you want to make a fire, go right ahead! The loo is back down the hall, if you need to go… oh, the uh… the snuff is right there in the top table drawer; if you care to have a toot, help yourself! I’ll be only a minute…”
“I’m doing the world a favor,” the rat-man thought.
He stabbed him just as he came out of the doorway carrying the claret, still talking. The bottle shattered explosively on the wooden floor, much like somebody’s head might shatter explosively if you twisted it off and took it up to the roof of a very tall building and dropped it off. The blade sunk deep into his bulky midsection, and for a moment the wind whistled out of Mamet not as words but simply as wind.
But only for a moment.
The next instant, Mamet’s pudgy hand moved in a blur, catching the rat-man’s wrist in a viselike grip and squeezing it into splinters.
“Well now, this changes things a bit, doesn’t it? Tell you what… why don’t you just go fuck yourself?” Mamet said, and proceeded to kick the rat-man between the legs with such incredible force that his penis and testicles were suddenly displaced with great force right up his own anus—which is basically impossible, but what good is horror fiction if you can’t have a little fun now and again?
The rat-man fell to the floor, vomiting convulsively. Mamet stepped back and opened his shirt, revealing the wound which, while deep, had not been anywhere near deep enough to penetrate the incredible wealth of greasy, pimply flesh that hung about his glutinous midsection like a semi-truck tire.
“Eat well for health, that’s what I always say, haha… word games, yes!” He began to undress then, laughing all the while, til he was down to his underwear—which were women’s, by the way… and not just any women’s, but dead women’s—and dirty, too.
He pranced about in grotesque fashion, revealing just about every square inch of his hideously monstrous and hairy and liver-spotted body to the rat-man, who in response to this additional stimulus began throwing up through his nose and ears as well.
“Oh yes, I did promise you another snort or two, didn’t I?… And a debt owed… is a dead toad! Ha ha ha!”
He gestured with dramatic flair, like a stage magician; and reaching deep into his lacy underthings, he pulled a dead toad out of his crotch with a flourish and a little bow, then grabbed the rat-man by the hair and shoved the slimy thing up his left nostril, all the way in, somehow.
“Be right back!” he cried merrily, and left the room laughing still.
The rat-man lay trembling, retching and trying desperately to scream.
His host returned soon, wearing a bra made of real female breasts, and carrying an electric power saw. He paraded before the rat-man, giggling.
“See?—I really am a breast man! Hee hee!” He switched on the saw and walked slowly toward the rat-man. “But I really don’t like women that much—as I said, no brains! Get it? No? You will, hahahaha!” And then he sat down on the rat-man, pinning him firmly to the floor, and began to saw the top of his head off.
What little struggle the rat-man was still able to put up proved utterly futile. The saw took awhile to get a good bite into the bone, and even longer to make it through; but once the victim had finally stopped writhing, the work went much more smoothly.
When he was finished, Mamet pulled the brain from the rat-man’s truncated skull and held it up in his hands, the slime and viscera running down his fat forearms like chicken grease. “You see? I really didn’t want you for your body—get it? Ahahahahaha!”
He stood and took the brain away through the doorway, returned again and dropped his panties and, kneeling, pulled the rat-man’s lifeless corpse, head-first, between his knees, and began to do something unspeakable. “Don’t mind me,” he howled, “I’m just fucking with your head! Hahahahahahaha!! Aaahhh-haahaa-hahaha-hahaha!!!”
Finally finished, Mamet left again, calling back through the doorway, “I’ve a surprise for you—won’t be a minute! Just stay right where you are, don’t move! Ha-HA!”
There was the sound of rattlings and clinkings and the faint sound of Mamet humming to himself from the other room. And then he was speaking again, getting louder as he approached.
“Remember how I told you I was a chef? All sorts of delicacies?” He entered the room carrying a sizzling frying pan and thrust it in front of the rat-man’s dead, blood-and-gore-strewn face. “You know what this is? No? Want to guess? No? Okay, I’ll tell you!… This… is your brain on drugs! AHAHAHAHA, AH HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA–”
Scream 8 by D X Stone
And suddenly, all at once the rat-man’s lifeless head jerked up, its mouth opened and a high piercing scream filled the room and echoed through the house.
The rat-man’s mutilated corpse jumped to its feet and launched itself at Mamet, who stood with eyes bulging in horror. It leapt upon him, shrieking “SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP!!!!” Mamet opened his mouth to scream, and with a crackling of muscle and tendon the rat-man-thing stuffed its lifeless arm all the way down his throat. Blessed silence rewarded the effort, but the rat-man-thing did not stop there. Slowly, inexorably, it stuffed its other arm in, then its head; and then with tremendous effort it forced its way further and further in til it had crawled all the way down Mamet’s throat—which is utterly impossible, but don’t stop me, I’m on a roll.
About twenty minutes later, after it was absolutely sure he was dead and utterly quiet, and would remain so, the rat-man’s corpse emerged from Mamet’s colon, punching its way through his sphincter, tearing and ripping its way through into the world once more, still screaming and now utterly covered in vileness; and as it came, it drew all his intestines out with it. It threw them in a filthy pile in the corner, shrieking triumphantly. Then it twisted off his head and took a good several minutes to defecate fully and noisily down the fat man’s ragged neck stump. Finally it picked up the head and ran out, still screaming like a banshee, to find a very, very tall building from which to drop it off.
Meanwhile, several blocks away, two writers sat chatting over cappuccinos in an all-nighter. The taller and darker of the two, who resembled a beetle, said, “My point is that man is insatiable, it is his very nature; and that there can be no limits of morality or judgement upon man and all his works, because the very god that made man, if it indeed exists, is obviously insane.”
“Even so,” his lighter companion protested, “my point is that it’s possible to go too far with horror fiction, to elevate the level of gore, viscera and what have you to a place where nothing is really scary anymore, nothing shocks—and worse, there is nothing to learn or be gained in the interaction of good vs. evil, not in such an amoral universe. Man suffers the most horrible excesses of pain and loss, and the suffering is ultimately meaningless.”
“And your point again?”
“There is no point, apparently—not in your universe, anyway. My argument would be that we, as writers, have a responsibility to attempt to elevate the human spirit, not drag it down… and that horror fiction, if not taken too far, can be a means to this end. There’s enough chaos and ugliness in the universe as it is—certainly we can agree on that, can we not? And therefore it seems to me that any writer worthy of the name, given the gift of imagination, should try to make a conscious effort not to simply spew the very worst bile of their soul out onto the page, but instead to try to find ways, coda if you will, within the framework of poetry and language that can provide a view into both the darkness and the light that gives form to it. It’s a question of balance.”
“There is no balance, no stasis,” his companion interjected. “All is mindless void in a constant process of devouring itself in the form of its own young.”
“That’s one truth. It’s opposite is equally true; otherwise our coffees would constantly spill… by the way, you don’t get invited to a lot of parties, do you?”
“It doesn’t matter if our coffees did spill. Whether they did or not, we would always want more. The same goes for parties, wealth, sex, violence… always we would crave more. We are insatiable monsters, all of us.”
“Maybe we are all monsters in potential—but I’m just saying that whatever balance exists in human culture is due to the conscious striving of individuals within it to reject a philosophy of hopelessness, despite the evidence, and instead to focus on trying to live a greater fantasy, a positive dream, without which influence life here on earth would truly be hopeless.”
“Those are just words… symbols created by madmen.”
“But we’re writers! Words are our stock in trade! Words are our power, and it’s up to us to use them wisely. As a writer, what do you have to say to that?”
And meanwhile, several blocks eastward, a very unattractive and unintelligent man with horribly bad adult acne was having sex with his 86-year-old mother, whom he had just murdered, when suddenly, at the moment of orgasm, for no apparent reason a group of small, hideously deformed children burst into the room, spooned out his eyeballs, ate them and ran away giggling.
And, simultaneously, three streets over, an incredibly thin man with terrible body odor was going down on his wife, who was a rather plain-looking and unpleasant-smelling creature herself, when suddenly, overcome by a terrible hunger, a starvation of the very soul, he sank his teeth into her womanhood like a wild animal, causing the woman to scream and die, the reader to upchuck all over this page and the writer to achieve a really stupendous erection.
And finally, all the way across town, down in the nastier section where this tale first began, the pretty young woman who’d passed Mamet and the rat-man earlier was walking alone in the fog when suddenly, not thirty feet from where she stood, a manhole cover exploded from its place, flipped high in the air and landed with a tremendous clang in the deserted street. The girl shrieked and jumped back against a damp wall…
…and out of the hole snaked an immense, semi-erect penis, as big around as the hole itself. It slithered out for more than a dozen feet, its head rising as if to sniff the air, was still for a long moment and then turned, slowly, toward the girl.
She stood before it, panting in mortal terror… and then the fear fled from her flushed face to be replaced by a look that could best be described as pure religious adoration.
She moved away from the wall and began to walk toward it, arms outstretched, unafraid.
But those are other, darker stories.
—Greenwich-Beekman, Oct. 94
Lil’ Deaths by D X Stone
“I have seen the face of the future of horror
fiction… and it looks like Paul McCartney,
and it quacks like a whole gaggle of terrible
fanged zombie were-ducks from beyond the grave,
and it smells like shit and… it is Darker.”
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