JUDITH, MY BRIDE by Moira Carter

The house did not stand alone, it was loneliness itself.

Judith howled horribly upstairs to me. It echoed around our former matrimonial home; it was enough to wake the bloody dead.

‘You’d be late for your own funeral?’ she screamed with laughter. And I was going to be if I wasn’t careful.

Judith always stated the obvious but it wasn’t difficult to do that with me, as everything I used to do was obvious; now I was an enigma but that comes with the territory.

‘I don’t want to go but I don’t think I’ve got a choice,’ I smiled weakly back, trying to not sound haunted by my own remarks.

Judith floated up the stairs and joined me on the bed. I sat with my head in my hands.

‘You’ve no choice,’ she whispered softly.

‘Yes-I don’t want to let the others down, especially as they are expecting to let me down- all the way to the bottom.’

‘Nice to see you’ve still got your sense of humour, even if you haven’t got all your limbs.’

‘Oh yes,’ I realised, ‘I better grab them from the closet.’

She took my hand and I immediately felt calm. As she stroked it I went into the bathroom for my teeth, eyes and hair.

She tried to wipe a bleeding tear off my cheek but I was too busy trying to not look gaunt and pale for her. I gathered myself together into a suitcase and we left with my other hand in hers.

On our walk to the cemetery- as she faded in the moonlight never to be seen again- images of the shadows of the outline of the visage of Judith, my bride, remained in my receding memory.



She was sitting three tables away from me, sipping on an ice cold latte. Cream sat on her top lip like a vaudevillian’s fake ’tache and she either couldn’t feel it or didn’t care. She had a strange way of holding her drink, almost as if her arm was too weak to keep it to her mouth, because her hand cupped round forcing her wrist to make a severe ‘V’ shape.  She took no notice of her surroundings; the children playing holy hell in the corner, with a mom who was less a mother figure and more a cattle wrangler; the love birds on the table sandwiched between the pretty girl and I, unable to keep their hands off each other, kissing whenever not eating, stroking each other’s faces as if they had purchased a pet and was showing them the supposedly prerequisite affection; the elderly lady walking to the lavatory, head down looking ready to burst in to tears at any moment. People having good days, people having bad days.

She finally wiped her face, removing her creamy lip whiskers with the back of her sleeve. She turned to ‘Romeo and Juliet’ with a look of discomfort, which turned very quickly to disgust and she shook her head vigorously, almost as if to make a point to no-one in particular. And that’s when I took my chance. I brushed myself down, glanced at the reflection of myself in the café’s window, making sure my hair was immaculate. Taking a deep breath for confidence I stood up, cleared my throat and started over to the other side of the room, past the two tables between us. I shot the female in the head with my Smith and Wesson, then I looked at the attractive girl making a point of giving a disapproving look, and then I shot the male right between his very confused, very frightened looking eyes. Upon the floor blood seeped into coffee and the room smelt like a mixture of cookies, bleach and gun smoke. I sauntered over to the girl and leaned in. I beamed the biggest smile I could and calmly said, ‘You’re welcome.’

Without any muss or fuss I left through the entrance and tried to remember where I had parked. ‘Ah,’ I thought, ‘just outside the shopping arcade.’ But as I walked to my  ‘1986 Full Race Capri 254  (an absolute classic if you ask me) a feeling of dread fell over the whole of my body, fogging the mind and making me stop dead in my  tracks.

‘Shit, I forgot to tip the waitress.’ From then on I knew the guilt would follow me for the rest of the day. They work long hours and minimum wage, don’t you know?

‘STITCHES’ by JJ Breech

Nervously I fiddle with the stiches on my chest, they just seem too long and the scar never seems to heal. Maybe I should leave it alone and forget about it?

If I am to do a God’s work, why do I loathe myself so?

In the day, because of my condition, I remain in self-created shadows, not wanting an audience, not even of one. I feel victimised: by the sun, by society, by my own thoughts.

Then everything changes. The sun goes down and even the moon hides itself from me. The night can camouflage many things, but is it not dark enough to hide my black-heart. I am on task but in the back of my mind I know ‘it’ lies like an unfinished jigsaw back at home- and this disturbs me so.  Tonight I must find the final missing piece for it all to make sense and so my peace of mind can return and my world can continue to spin.

No security, no guards, no hope for them. I slip in through the back door after picking the lock in 11.9 seconds. I take of my shoes and make my way up the stair, carrying my icebox carefully so as not to rattle its insides.

Gerry Taylor, young, healthy, vibrant lies asleep in his double bed. I do not stand around to enjoy this; I am there to do a job, so I do what needs to be done. I slit his throat and carve off his right hand, wrap and place in my box of ice; all under 8 minutes- a personal record. I leave the way I came in and am home before sunrise.

The stitches around my wrists look like cool tattoos but the scars on my face look like wounds from war.

In the renovated basement- half laboratory, half morgue- I set to work and the final part is to be put into place; click- and ‘it’ will be ready. But will I?

I stitch ‘it’ together and pray to myself.

My lab, my rules. No one can tell me what to do,

‘It’ lies on the slab so still. What is there left to do now? What must I do to realise my goal? To finish what I started? To have a true and final end? Or is this a beginning? No- no- revenge is always a means to an end.

I inject the adrenalin/nitro-glycerine compound into a black vein rising from ‘it’s’ neck- so thick and worm-like it’s almost asking to be pumped full of life. I stand back and watch the fluid make its way around ‘it’s’ body as it illuminates the blood, like luminous roads on a map of skin.

‘It’ opens its eyes wide and coughs and splutters as it tries to grab oxygen from the air, in wide greedy gulps. ‘It’ sits up and glares at me; there is no question at all, it is not baffled or confused, it knows who I am.

‘Son?’  it slobbers- drool and blood congealed together gloop from its malformed lips.

‘Yes Father. How does it feel that the tables have turned; now I am the maker and you, the lifeless monster?’

The look on his face was enough; he knew his wrongs would never be righted, but this was a start.

He spat: ‘I just wanted someone to love, someone to care for, someone to be mine.’

I reply by blowing the back of his head out with a shotgun.

He created me: a creature stitched together from dead body parts, and I returned the favour; only the head was his and now even that was gone.

 I turned the gun on myself and pulled the trigger- a mosaic of skull, brain and blood hit the wall behind me. At first glance it looks like a butterfly ready to take flight, fluttering its wings, readying itself to be free. Or, on second look- like any good Rorschach inkblot- it was something else: a horned demon watching silently with a sly grin on its face, as human pitted itself against human and the outcome could only be death for all.

Once you’re gone you’re gone, there’s no coming back. You can’t cheat death, you can only keep a few things from it for a short while. The last three months was like gambling with the Reaper- my poker face took me so far but in the end I cracked, the stitches split and I ended up empty.

‘I= life* n(others + me)’ by Richard David Lawman

It felt like there was more darkness than the room could hold. Like a battle against the light was being lost.  Gall slumped in his chair in front of the glowing computer screens, watching dust particles illuminated by the screen light rise and fall on the convectional currents.  The air was thick. He could feel himself getting full from just breathing it in.  Gall sat and stared at the screens, as he always did.

In the corner, an orchid strained for the light and optimistically bulked it’s flower head ready to bloom and fill the room with colour.  Gall sat and stared and watched the screens – just as he always did.

A greasy pizza, crushed into its cardboard coffin, rammed through the letterbox.  Gall heard the clunk of the lid shutting as the delivery boy took his payment which waited for him.  Gall shuffled across the room on his swivel chair, re-tracing the familiar groves in the dust on the floor as he fetched his meal, and never taking his eyes off the screens.

Gall heard the ripples of rain against the window. The sound still got through the blind, curtains and board he had in front of it.  He never took his bulging eyes off the screen.  Always watching them.  No one watching him.

And then Gall woke up.  Bright lights, moving images, unfamiliar sounds.  He was in a hospital bed.  After taking a few minutes to adjust, he turned onto his side and found her sat by his bed.

“How…?” he murmured in her direction.

“You had a heart attack, Dad. You’re going to be ok, thought…” She softly said.

He shut his eyes again, forcing himself down as deeper as he could go, closing off everything around him.  After a few seconds he opened them again.

He was back in his room.  The darkness felt even heavier.  Light crushed in on all sides.  He smiled, for the first time in months, he could do it – he could live any life he wanted – vicariously – without the risk of death, pain, heartbreak.  He clicked off the page of the father in his hospital bed with his daughter at his side and clicked onto a new page.  The letterbox rattled as his next meal crushed through.  He shuffled over to retrieve it, never taking his eyes off the screens, and looking for his next experience.

“Why live one life when you can live many?” he said to himself, hot, greasy pizza slopping onto his chin.  But then it stuck him – who would want to live his?  He ushered that thought away and returned to staring at the screens, concentrating on his next trip and eventually, his next victim.

‘SAY HELLO TO THE MONSTER’ by Richard David Lawman

When they finally caught me – trying to dissect my seventeenth victim – they knew that the standard punishment protocol wouldn’t be enough. For I was special and I needed something special.  They kept me caged for most of the time, with usually two or three guards staring at me from behind the criss-cross window, and fantasising about all the things they would want to do to me.  Nothing was painful enough. Nothing would last long enough.

I heard the state judge actually wretched as he was read a list of my crimes – to each one I had confessed, supplying every detail I could remember – which was all of them.  When he took the case to his seniors in the Department for Justice, they agreed that I wasn’t fit to stand trial and I should be sentenced immediately.  The truth was it was they who weren’t fit to stand the trial – I had been rehearsing my performances in my cell, practicing and labouring over each and every word.  They had even given the guards ear plugs to stop them from hearing the disgusting details. 

After three weeks I got word from my lawyer – via letter, I might add – that they had turned to an “outside consultant” to find an appropriate way of dealing with me.  They didn’t want to execute me, they wanted me to experience hell on earth.  This consultant was a horror writer, unpublished, relatively unknown, but whose imagination was left to find a solution to this predicament.

Eventually, the keys jangled and the heavy door lock snapped open and in stepped a gaggle of riot guards and the prison warden.  They chained me, cloaked and bagged me up and carried me on a stretcher out into the long hallway and into a waiting prison van outside.  I felt the undulations and vibrations of the rough tarmac as I was rolled outside.  I inhaled violently against inside of the body bag to suck in the fresh air one last time.  I was sure they were going to torture me, maybe even crucify me. 

We drove for nine hours straight. 

It was dark when we arrived, the cool night air smelled sweet and the insects triumphantly announced my arrival – filling the darkness with a hiss of excitement.  I was known throughout all species.  I was the devil on earth.

They laid me down on the muddy ground and unzipped the body bag, hauled off my hood and unblocked my chains before stepping away.  “What is this?” I asked.

“Hell.  You’re in Hell.  A Hell we have created just for you,” snarled the warden. 

I clambered to my feet and arched my back to take into view the house.  A decrepit, old wooden house shrouded in dying oak trees which pre-dated the industrial revolution.  The paint was peeling off the walls, panels of wood splintered open here and there.  I laughed and stepped inside.

“What’s in here?” I asked as they followed me – going nowhere further than the porch.  The warden looked anxiously at the ground and then the horror writer – whom I presumed was the older guy with the beard and the glasses. 

“A monster.” He answered.  And with that they shut the door.

I gazed across the darkened hallway, allowing my eyes to adjust to the poor light.  I saw dozens of darkened figures staring back at me.  I stumbled over to the wall and groped for a light switch and found none.  Eventually, I found an oil lamp with matches and brought light to the room.  I held it up to see the dark figures staring back at me were mine.  I laughed.  I was the monster they were referring to.  I broke every mirror in the house.  Punching, kicking and head-butting with grotesque delight.  When I was done I slept, giddy from the rage, on the floor in the back room.

The next morning I awoke to find every mirror had been replaced.  I shouted out insults to the men watching outside.  And once again I broke every mirror in the house.

They promised me that the monster would come, and with time, it did.  After four nights I began to go insane.  My bloodied, scab-crusted, evil reflection found me in every room, round every corner.  I smashed and begged them to stop.  Each of my seventeen victims tortured me with eyes each day.

But not their eyes. Mine.


Richard David Lawman is the chief Writer/ Director/ Producer of ‘The Putty In Your Hands’ production company. He can be found and contacted at  http://richarddavidlawman.com/ and http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/richard-lawman/24/966/182

‘HAPPENED’ by Richard David Lawman

An adolescent teenager put his shirt away in the cupboard; the kettle clicked delightfully in the kitchen below; the tea bags waited in their porcelain grave, thirsty for the monsoon; the cat skulked about the rosebush in the garden; the father picked his nose and flicked it onto the wall behind the TV, and then, nothing happened.

The hairs on her head parted, the nit comb dived in and tore through, looking for the offending white dots; her mother bit her tongue in concentration; the dishes slowly dried; the chicken defrosted on the windowsill, and then, nothing happened.

A middle-aged man suddenly became aware of how old he was, sat in a traffic jam, the blurry red and yellow lights leaving fluorescent stamps on the vision of his mind; his wife sobbed tenderly in the bathroom, a piss-stained strip of plastic carrying an uncompromising truth; their daughter stared into the blinding light of her laptop, her history essay due in a week, she heard a knock at the door, and then, nothing happened.

Some screwed up paper dropped to the floor of the bus, he could see in the rain-soaked reflection of the windows, the young man was in debt; a disappointed builder, laid-off for the third time in his life, noticed his laces were undone just having left the train station toilets; an African lady chuckled to herself as she couldn’t decided between orange, mango, apple, kiwi; an old man farted in the queue in Tesco and no one pretended to hear except the young boy who proclaimed, “Errrr! It smells of poo!”; a strawberry yoghurt balanced precariously on a worktop edge, and then, nothing happened.

Nothing happened in the hallways of a recently derelict office block; or the on the cobblestone back alley behind Allen’s Fried Chicken; or inside the cupboard under the stairs. Coats continued calmly clinging to pegs, tins of paint proudly perch on shelves in the garage; that bit of wire you’ve been saving for when you might need it, remains lodged annoyingly in the cutlery drawer; the curtains hang, not quite straight; rain uneventfully drizzles; and the air is filled with the sound of soft sighs from simple people wrapped in a blanket of boredom, because nothing is happening.

And then, suddenly rising up, descending in some places, filling the faces of children with fright, and the reflections of those forgotten puddles in the street with colour, distracting peaceful fisherman at the lodge from the sunset, giving people who barely meet something to divert them from the barren landscape of their conversation, casting a deep shadow which is boring its way into the ground and steadily marching towards us, producing that dull, distant groan which sounds like it comes from a Hollywood movie, and breaking the pathetic dullness of this ordinary Thursday evening, something happened.


Even though my memory isn’t quite what it used to be, it still won’t let go and forget that tortuous sound. Aggh- God! that strange rattling, that appears -oh- so- quietly and gets louder, louder, louder. Where is it coming from? Is it the basement? The attic? My mind? Or somewhere far, far more worrying…?

I’ve searched everywhere: the whole house, top to bottom. But nothing, absolutely nothing- just the wind whistling through cracks and crevices, the creaking of old floorboards expanding with the house’s natural heat. Wait- there it goes again, it’s a rattling but not of chains, like the sound wooden wind chimes make as a breeze blows through them but oh so much louder. So once more I venture around the house, candle in hand- and then I see the steps are down, leading up to the attic—damn!– how could I have missed that before?

As I creep up the ladder to the attic, I notice dust has been disturbed on the rungs and the rattling is begin to peak. I carefully raise my head to see nothing but a dusty old rug, with boxes of my personal papers, letters and books spread out upon it- all as it should be- accept for a wardrobe at the far end, that I can’t quite recall being there before. Gah-! my memory, useless, useless. But I see the culprit of the noise for within the keyhole, skeleton keys- many of them- rattling, rattling, rattling… Skids and scratches can be seen around the cupboard door as if it has been in very recent use; then a sudden thud inside the cupboard makes me jump. What is it? Who is trying to play me for a fool? Is someone intent on driving me insane? I have no patience for such trickery; this will be dealt with now and for evermore.

I glide over to the wardrobe in efficient silence, turn those damnable, jangling keys and open the doors out. For a second I see nothing but blackness, until an ashen face with eyes as white as snow falls towards me, with the body straight behind, and then ending with a  heavy slump to the ground before me. And then I stare in disbelief as I stand over my own corpse, recently deceased, half of me burnt to a crisp. Before I know it the candle crashes to the ground as if I could no longer hold on to it. I wave my hands before my eyes quick enough to see them start to fade; I feel so empty and hollow, as if I’m not all there, and as I look down upon my person, it seems my body is following my hands and leaving me. As the flames set alight to my laid out body and continues to the well-worn rug, my papers, my books, my well packaged past- I realise I have been here before and suddenly I remember: The fire; hiding in the cupboard hoping to survive; and the excruciating pain as I roasted slowly like a bird on a spit. If only I hadn’t followed that God forsaken sound, I wouldn’t have been in the attic at all, but that was then and this is now- so what am I doing here again, standing over my dead body, watching my whole world go up in flames. Then my memory returns: this has happened many times- dozens, maybe hundreds. Must I repeat this over and over again until- what? – I solve the mystery of the rattling keys? Warn myself to not go in the attic? This repetition is more tortuous and painful than any hell I can imagine, but at least this time I will remember what has transpired and can warn my–

–Wait a minute- I must have dozed off. I awake to the crackling of a warm, homely open fire. A book lays open on the floor before me- it must have fallen off my lap as I nodded off and hit the floor, awaking me from my slumber. For a minute I found some peace, not that I get much with that disturbing noise that seems to come from nowhere and, yet, everywhere.
Even though my memory isn’t quite what it used to be, it still won’t let go and forget that tortuous sound. Aggh- God! that strange rattling, that appears -oh- so- quietly and gets louder, louder, louder. Where is it coming from? Is it the basement? The attic? My mind? Or somewhere far, far more worrying…?
JJ Breech is the Curator/ Editor/ OversEEr of bizarrEEye Creative Community. He writes @ the UNSEEN & the OBSCENE blog (amongst other places) and has had an interest in Horror and the Fantastique from an early age, when he saw An American Werewolf In London, and realised that’s exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up!

‘A LUCKY BREAK’ by JJ Breech

The devil is in the details, they say. But they say a lot, don’t they? Well they do to me: over and over and over again. Telling me what to do, how to do it, how not to do it, when to do it; really, who in Hell do they think they are? But up here, I can no longer hear them: the wind’s too loud, and holding on so long, makes me tired, and unfocussed, so much so that my sight is blurry and my mind is finally blank. It’s strange after trying alcohol and drugs, pre-scripted meds, and none of it working, none of it stopping the chattering and babbling in my head, I find out all I’ve got to do is sit on the tallest building in the City and its like I’m out of their range or so far away from it all, they no longer know where I am.

I can see my flat from here, over the river, just beneath the sun as it begins to set on another day. I hope and pray (yes pray, not done that for a long time) that this will be my last, and I find the courage to do what needs to be done, the reason I’m up here. But are all these just words, with no real intent behind them, can I really do what needs to be done? Then, suddenly I hear them, you’re not going to do it, you haven’t the fuckin’ balls, we’ll catch you before you hit the ground, and then, you’ll be forever ours.

Now or never, I think, now or never. I open my arms out as if to take flight but I don’t jump: I fall, just let myself go, and the wind blasts at my ears and whips around my coat and my heartbeat quickens and……

I hear nothing but a slow, steady beat. It’s monotonous and repetitive, yet soothing, calming.  Opening my eyes I see my arms are extended out, huge and white and wide like angels wings but as my vision starts to focus in on them, I realise they are just in plaster. A smiling face comes into view and I am told that I am very lucky, because if I hadn’t hit that worker’s tent, I wouldn’t be here. A tiny torch light flashes in each eye and I hear a calming voice telling me everything is going to be alright. The doctor flips through a clipboard, smiles and wishes me goodnight. She closes the door behind her and… then… suddenly… well, well, you ain’t going anywhere now… you’re ours to do with what we want… you can’t even go to the fuckin’ bathroom on your own… you pathetic piece of shit… we’re gonna really enjoy this… and you? You’re gonna wish you’d hit the pavement. You poor bastard… it just looks like we caught ourselves a lucky break.

As tears welled in my eyes I could just about make out three shadows moving towards me. I could also hear a strange, distant, muffled noise; it took a moment for me to realise it was me, hidden beneath the bandages that were wrapped around my screaming mouth.


JJ Breech is the  Curator/ Editor/ OversEEr  of bizarrEEye Creative Community. He writes @ the UNSEEN & the OBSCENE blog (amongst other places) and has had an interest in Horror and the Fantastique from an early age, when he saw An American Werewolf In London, and realised that’s exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up!