LOVE-BIRDS by JJ Breech

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?

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‘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.


The Scion Manifests in Day

– Where are we?

– We are in Sunnarr’s hands now.

– Will he protect us?

– YES, he will hold on tight and never let us go.

– Will he make sure we are fed?

– NO, we will have to look for food ourselves.

– Will he clothe us?

– NO, we must go forth and find fabrics, and then tailor them to our needs.

– Will he shelter us from stormy weather and the upcoming winds?

– NO, we must build places of refuge in His name.

– Will he point to the right path and show us the way?

– NO, he will open our eyes to the territory, but will not draw us a map.

– Are we not just as hungry, homeless, weather- beaten, and lost as we have ever been?

– NO, for we are ‘the Scion’ and will be forever more.

– Will tomorrow not just be like any other day?

– NO, we will rise early and, before light, we will slaughter our enemy as they sleep.

– Will we praise Him as we lubricate our bodies and quench our thirst with their blood, and make new weapons with their bones?

– YES, for we start as we mean to go on and nothing can stop us, not even the oncoming night, the darkness that falls or the eclipse that threatens our God; for Sunnarr shines brightly, glows heavenly and burns knowingly.


(DEATH’S HEAD) MOTH by JJ Breech

THE FIRST THING I HEARD THAT NIGHT was an annoying tap- tap- tap, as my head lay on the pillow.

I guessed it was some fucker knocking on my door, that ludicrous ‘I know it’s late, so I don’t want to be too loud, but I want to wake you’ type of knock. I opened my eyes to see a flitting black blur of a- shit!- a bird? or even a bat? Heart racing, I leapt out of bed, and fumbled for the light switch. The illuminated room showed a small black moth- no bigger than the palm of my hand- flapping manically against my bedroom wall; it seemed to want to bypass the going around and, quite pathetically instead, just go straight through it. Why not just go out the way you came in, idiot? Actually, how did you get in?

I’m not getting any sleep till I get that fucker. So I opened the window, grabbed a magazine and thought I’d start with the wafting option. I took huge, theatrical waves with the magazine, hoping to blow it away from the light bulb it had suddenly decided to dance around.  Nothing– it didn’t move it. Not a damn inch. In actual fact I was probably helping the li’l devil to get his groove on, because it just seemed to excite him more, and he kept moving, bopping and getting down, totally at my expense, as I stood there naked, bringing a copy of FHM up and down, for absolutely no reason.

So, it’s time for some baseball is it? Rounders- cricket- whatever.  I rolled up the mag and took a random swing: Miles away, I need to get on his level. I looked around for my computer stool, moved it under the light and got up. My first hit- YES!- got him, and he span in a downward spiral till he pitifully hit the floor without a sound. However- my body decided to unbalance, and therefore, I followed him.

THE LAST THING I HEARD THAT NIGHT was the sound of an agonising, bone-crunching crack, as my head hit the floor and my neck snapped.


‘DEN’ by JJ Breech

One wall full of knives, another full of guns; Sam tentatively reached out to a silver pistol, that had took his interest, and-

‘Hullo?’

Sam swung round to greet the figure who had, obviously, opened the study’s door very, very quietly.

‘I’m Sam, the reporter who… you must be Mr… Dean?’

Sam scrambled for words for which he felt more confident about, when writing them on paper or keying them into a lap-top.

‘I’m Dean, yes.’ He smiled. ‘You’re a gun fan?’

‘God, no. Hate them, hate them. I mean…’ Now, in Sam’s head the story was fucked and there was no way back. Grab Lydia from the front room and get gone, and try to keep the mouth almighty shut in the meantime.

Dean stared at the speech mangling journo.

‘Don’t worry. Many people don’t like guns. Probably have good reason too- in the wrong hands… and all that.’

Dean backed up to the open door and placed his arm out to invite Sam into the other room.

‘Shall we start the interview?’

Sam uttered not and took Dean’s offer as a fresh start.

Lydia was eyeing up a series of Rorschach inkblots upon the front room’s wall. ‘These are fascinating, but is it me, do they all look like…?’

‘Lydia,’ Sam almost panted, ‘shall we get to it.’

Dean made himself comfortable in an Edwardian-era chair.

‘Well then…fire away.’ Dean winked at Sam.

Sam started to feel calmer, this was his second story for ‘Enquiring @The Edge’ Magazine, but this one was the biggie and he was beginning to feel the pressure. Silly really but Sam’s nerves always kicked in at the wrong time. And the right time. Actually, any time.

‘So, Mr Dean you are a collector of urban legends, modern myths as it were, when did this interest start?’ Sam’s confidence was building incrementally, and his damp brow started to feel less so.

‘Well, first I’m actually a doctor of science. I have doctorates and PhD’s in many fields including ontology, cryptozoology and demonology.’

Lydia turned away and smirked.

Sam tried to show no reaction but he heard someone say ‘oh!’ and then he realised it was him.

‘Does that shock?

Sam shook his head in a state of confusion, nether agreeing nor disagreeing. ‘Well it’s just that our story is about your work as a story-teller and collector of tales, not the fact they could be…’

‘Real?’

Sam turned to Lydia, who had got up and started to wander; she took in the ink blots on the wall again, so Dean couldn’t see the smile plastered on her face that she just couldn’t shake off.

‘Well… yeah.’

‘So- what if I had proof, proof of things that are ‘other’, things that can’t be explained? In my den, my collection is not just of aesthetic value, but also evidentially.’

Sam stared at his notes, and then ignored what he’d prepared, working on instinct. ‘So in the back room-there are many weapons can you tell me- is that another collection or are they actually used?’

‘Why do you ask? You know the answer.’

Lydia was checking the room for the best angle for a photo, a view to get the whole gothic ambience in, when Dean’s question peeked her curiosity.

‘What? What does that mean?’

‘Tell her.’

Sam blinked feverishly at Lydia.

‘Sam? Are you..?’ She winced.

Sam breathed in heavily for luck. ‘Because there is no dust upon the guns, unlike the rest of the room; so… You either polish them obsessively or…’

‘Or..?’ Dean’s eyes widened.

‘They are in constant use.’

And with that he brought a pistol up from his dressing gown pocket and pulled back the hammer.

‘What is going on here?’ Now Lydia joined in with Sam’s nerves.

Mr Dean’s eyes deadlocked on Lydia’s. ‘Sam’s not here to report on my collection, he’s here to finish it.’

And with these words, Dean got up from his chair and stood by the blood red curtains opposite him.

‘Yes, Sam, time to show your friend, partner, lover who you really are!’

Lydia grabbed her head in confusion and panic- ‘How the hell do you know all about us?’

Dean opened a single curtain with one quick, dramatic flourish, like a Phantom at an Opera, to show a perfectly round, glowing full moon.

‘Your sweating and strange disposition has nothing to do with nerves but what you are inside- what’s trying to get out!’

‘What are you talking about?’ screamed Sam, as the backs of his hands started to blister till they bled and his lips went into spasm.

Dean cocked his head to the side, in great curiosity. ‘Oh- don’t tell me you don’t know? You don’t know what you are? Oh, how delicious, you must wake in the most ludicrous situations with nothing but blood and guilt.’

Sam stood from his chair and begged at Dean, ‘What do you know about me? Can you help?’ His neck started to incrementally lengthen and he opened his mouth to let out an unholy scream but instead a wolf’s snout came through, not stopping until Sam’s flesh ripped in two and the remnants of his skin- like an abandoned suit- hit the floor.

Without a thought Dean aimed at the beast and shot through its heart with an easy aim. He moved swiftly to it, as it slumped, twitching upon his expensively carpeted floor. From beneath his a gown he uncovered a pure silver blade- crescent shaped- and with a swift cleave he took off the creature’s head.

Lydia stood in silence, mouth a gape, almost fearful to make any kind of noise or speak. Dean stood up, triumphant, holding the wolf’s head in one hand and the gun in the other.

‘What did I say,’ Dean snorted with laughter, ‘these things exist, but no-one would believe me. That’s why my den’s collection stays a private one… for now.’

‘C-c-c-ollection? What….?’ All Lydia could manage was a stammer and half a question- not much for a person’s final words.

He dismissively shot Lydia dead, and walked to the back of the room. In front of him lay a wall of books, he pulled out a tome named ‘The Urban Dead: Myths, Legends and their Reality,’ and the wall opened inwards, like a huge door. Lights ahead lit up, one by one, like an airport runway coming to life. The room was the length of two garages, and as he walked along admiring his life’s work, the wall panels were aesthetically busy with bizarre and peculiar objet d’art.

-A bloodied hook for a hand.

-Gleaming white fangs beneath a German film poster.

-A foetus in a jar, its cyclopean eye glaring out at nothing in particular.

– A leather-bound manuscript with the word ‘Franken’ scrawled upon it.

– Photos of a thin, slender-man in a children’s playground.

-A green haired clown’s mask encrusted in blood.

– A doll- like figure with fairy wings pinned up like a collected butterfly.

And then space for his latest acquisition. He placed the hairy head on a nearby table and rubbed his hands together, enjoying the oily feel of the blood that covered them. With his fingers in V’s, he spread ruby red camouflage beneath his eyes, never taking his sight off the severed creature.

He winked at it, almost expecting a response.

‘I’ll huff and I’ll puff… and I’ll blow your house down.’ He let the words echo, and then linger for a moment, before confidently stating to his room of dead freaks:

‘And so continues the hunt.’


‘I’M AN IDEAS MAN’ by JJ Breech

It was so dark, so very dark and the carriage could do nothing, but push against the storm, as it lugged its way up the deserted, country road…

‘Shit, shit, shit, I’m over describing, over compensating-’ Stephen squeezed his eyes together before the outburst ‘- because I have no fuckin’ idea where I’m going with this story!’

Tick, tick, tick- two days till deadline.

Meet Stephen Fulcher, Horror Impresario, creator of the ‘The Rattling Bones’ series of books, that have been made into a billion dollar movie franchise, action figures, comics, jewellery, toiletries. At the time he signed the contract he whimsically pronounced: ’Who’d want to wipe their arse on a disembodied corpse?’ but here he is a millionaire writer; or more specifically a burn out millionaire writer, in his penthouse suite, in front of one and a half thousand pounds of technology with absolutely no ideas for a three page short story.

‘It was so very dark? What is this shit? Where am I going with it? And why am I banging my head on my desk? Will that help with the blood flow? Maybe give me an idea or two?’

Remembering his agent’s words “it has to be violent, gory and offensive- pure Stephen Fulcher,” he stood up in temper as if he was going to a running jump out of the window.

‘What does that even mean? Pure… me? Can  I not write about love, laying in fields of buttercups,  young sexual folly and what it means to be alive, instead of… well…. dead?’

Stephen smirked at such a story being submitted to an anthology titled- Wake The Dead and Kill Them Again.

‘Faye, my already rather pissed off agent, wouldn’t see the funny side at all.’ Then a knock at the door- firm and repetitive- broke his concentration.

Stephen looked at his watch- 12:01 a.m.

Tick, tick, tick- one day till deadline.

‘What the- must be one of the other residents wanting some such nonsense.’

He opened the door to a tall, thin man dressed all in black, finished ever so smartly with a top hat and cane.

‘Hello? Can I help you,’ Stephen croaked. (Damn Marlboro-gotta quit, gotta quit.)

The man smiled. It was warm, trustworthy, that of a favourite uncle from your childhood. Stephen didn’t like it, or him, one little bit.

‘Howdy-doo? My name is Mr Aloysius Smart and I’ve heard you’re having a bit of a problem.’

‘I’m sorry? Are you the building’s handy man or something?’

‘No, no- although I am handy to have around, y’see, I’m an ideas man and I’ve heard you’re in need of my help.’ The way Mr Smart spoke was rhythmic; the words seemed to dance upon his tongue, and he let them out with great relish.

‘Oh,’ a bemused Stephen replied.

And with that the stranger sauntered into the apartment.

Stephen threw his hands in the air. ‘Excuse me but what the f—‘

‘Mr Fulcher-I know you’re trying to get a story finished and you now have one day to do it in. So I’m here to help you complete the task. It’s all quite simple and straightforward.’

Stephen clicked the fingers on both of his hands in a playful rhythm.

‘Ah! Faye sent you. I spoke to her earlier but she didn’t mention- fuck- who am I to question some help.’

Mr Smart placed his hat and cane upon the sofa, grabbed a stool from the open kitchen and sat himself next to Stephen’s old wooden chair at the computer.

‘C’mon, Mr Fulcher, you only have my services till dusk, so shall we…?’

Stephen stared at the blank, whiteness of the open document.

‘That’s it.’

‘That’s it?’

‘That’s it.’

‘I came not a moment too soon then.’

Without looking at anything but his own nimble fingers on the keyboard, Mr Aloysius Smart tapped with delicate speed as if he was reciting a concerto beamed from another place, and he was a mere lightning rod there to channel what had already been divinely decided on. When he finished he let out a short gasp like he had surprised himself with the speed or content of the document.

‘There Mr Fulcher, I’m sure that will suffice.’

Stephen sat and read Smart’s words. At first he smiled, then grimaced, then his eyes fell into thin slits as if he was having trouble with the size of the typeface. Then he turned his head slowly to the window overlooking the city. He did so with a kind of hesitation- no- like he was having trouble with his neck muscles working correctly and…

‘What’s the matter?’ asked Mr Smart calmly and, softly to the ear, but with an insincere kindness that hid trouble.

‘I…’  Stephen began.

Then a trickle of blood, like a black tear, started from his left eye taking a quick path down his face and dropping onto the clean, sheer white collar of his shirt. This seemed- if anyone was to view this situation in retrospect- like a warning of what was to come, as the floodgates (as it were) were now open and blood rushed unrelentingly from his eye sockets. The blood, with its force, pushed out his eyes and they made a literal POP POP sound , and that was when Stephen decided on his  inevitable outburst.

‘Agghh! For God’s sake, no, no what have you written?’

Mr Aloysius Smart picked up his cane and hat, put the former under his arm and the latter upon his head and tutted.

‘Oh Mr Fulcher, what did I tell you? I’m an ideas man; so, what you get from me are ideas, but I didn’t say they were always going to be good ideas.’

Stephen went into spasm and fell off his chair clutching his stomach. He heaved and black bile started to leave his mouth.

‘Oh dear, it seems you have also soiled yourself. That just will not do.’

Smart looked around the room with nothing but a slight curiosity.

‘Oh, I nearly forgot.’

He made himself comfortable before the computer and typed up another storm, with five minutes he was done and hit the final key with a theatrical flourish to celebrate.

‘There we go-Twitter, Facebook, YouTube,’ he slyly grinned, ‘I’m not letting one lousy critic, like you Mr Fulcher, be the only one to judge my work- let’s see what everyone else thinks of it.’

He switched the screen off and breathed out in triumph, as if he had shut a rather good book on a final fulfilling denouement.

The dead body of Stephen lay curled up like a dry, old twig upon his bloodied carpet.

‘Toodle-pip, Mr Fulcher. I’ll show myself out.’

Mr Smart slipped out of the front door and made his way down the hallway. As he walked, in grotesque stereo and with gruesome synchronicity: screams, hollers and animal-like yelps emanated from behind the many closed doors. As he hit the elevator and pressed the button for the ground floor, he bumped his cane repeatedly with excitement, upon the lift floor.

‘Well if everyone liked that, wait till they see my next idea.’

The doors closed slowly, as did Mr Smart’s eyes as he smiled wistfully to himself.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————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!


‘OVER MY DEAD BODY’ by JJ Breech

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!