Happy Halloween – Pump(kin) Up The Volume!

Happy Halloween, vintage mates!

Usually I make a bit of a party of it on Halloween, but alas not much of a celebration this weekend as I’m working long shifts. So I’m getting my celebration post in early today.

At least I found time to carve a pumpkin 🙂 🎃🎃

Here it is, I call it Med-Hed, a sort of Tim Burton-esque / David Bowie Blackstar mashup. And a kind of post-surgey Jack O’Lantern presented fresh from the lab!


Here are some of my carved pumpkins from previous Halloweens.

Star Wars – Yoda


Star Wars – Ewok, Chief Chirpa


Demon Black Pumpkin with party table friends


A pumpkin parade – mine is top left panel in centre of pic


Med-Hed with art filters


Med-Hed by candlelight

Anyone else carve a pumpkin this year?

Thanks for looking 🎃🎃

Keep pump(kin) up the volume!

I leave you with M.A.R.R.S.

50 Shades of Bodice-ripping Halloween Cheese

Here be a Halloween short tale to ever so slightly chill the blood yet warm the cockles of your hearts, me dearies. Late-night fun and frolics in the bedroom? Bodice-ripping yarns and things that go bump in the night? And with generous slices of cheese!

It’s all happening in yet another audacious episode of Six Sentence Stories

And this week’s cue word is…

foundation

 


Madge knew something was terribly wrong that Halloween night when she awoke to the bedroom lights switching on of their own accord, and the Teasmaid kettle (which she and Victor had received as a wedding gift in 1978) started spluttering out a liquid which could only be described as blood, and when her collection of porcelain dolls began spinning their heads and cackling: “Die Mama, die!”, and the flowery patterns of the wallpaper Victor had put up last spring changed into grimacing spiders and slithering snakes … and she half expected the reassuring tones of Victor who was sleeping next to her to say: Go back to sleep, Madge, it’s just a bad dream, but Victor remained asleep, blissfully unaware of the drama playing out in the bedroom.

Perhaps it was all just a horrid dream, Madge supposed – a nightmare brought about no doubt by that generous wedge of Wensleydale cheese she had foolishly indulged in before bedtime, and on Halloween of all nights, and what with her overactive imagination… and so she swiftly fell back to sleep and thought no more of the nightmare.

Moments later she was woken by Victor’s fingers caressing the back of her new black nightie she had purchased in the summer sales, and his heavy and sultry breathing which he reserved for impending amorous moments – usually on anniversaries or Valentine’s Day, but rarely – if ever – on Halloween.

“Mmm, stop that, Victor… it tickles, you saucy devil you,” she purred, and she turned over to meet him, the warm tingles inside her blossoming with the promise of a slow seduction followed by a hot and full-blooded 60% Cotton 40% Polyester nightie-ripping romp… but… oh… my… how quickly Madge’s passion dissolved into horror… for next to her in bed was a man with the face of Victor – yet gaunt and deathly pale, as though he had smothered his features with her foundation; and with crude black lines like scars etched across his sunken cheeks, like he had criss-crossed himself with her eyeliner; and then the vulgar red circles ringed around his eye sockets, like he had smeared himself with her new lipstick (Ripe Red Rosy Apples™, an environmentally friendly brand she had discovered recently on Amazon Prime).

“Victor!” she yelled, “You’ve been possessed by some kind of Voodoo magic, I’m calling an exorcist!” and at which her husband awoke with a start, and the Teasmaid kettle stopped spluttering blood, and the porcelain dolls stopped spinning their heads, and the creepy designs on the wallpaper turned back to pretty flowers, and her husband said: “Victor? Who the Dickens is Victor? I’m Harold for goodness sake. You’d think after forty years of marriage you’d get my name right! Go back to sleep. You’re having a nightmare.”

“Sorry, Harold,” said Madge, “I don’t know what came over me. I knew I shouldn’t have had that slice of Wensleydale before bed on Halloween.”

***


“As writers it is our duty, nay, nay, and thrice nay, our spiritual calling, to explore every literary genre available to us, dammit, even if that means delving into erotic suburban romance.”

 

W.A.E.R. Hobbe-Spaniel,

author of: Rubbish Quotes and Rubbish Invented Genres and Other Such Rubbish Rubbish and Pulling Faces at The Flying Egg which Cried Crocodile Tears in a Thunderstorm in a Japanese Tea Cup in Timbuktu.


Editor’s note: I really wanted to write a rampant stonkingly good bodice-ripping erotic suburban romance sex jamboree, pulsating with pent-up passion and lingerie and blindfolds and riding crops and gliding throbbery notched up to eleven. However, I ended up mostly writing about cheese.

Happy Halloween 🎃🎃😄


October horror shorts: Diary of a Weekend Vampire


I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog, where she hosts Six Sentence Stories, and everyone is invited to write a story, article or poem constructed of six sentences based on a cue word given.

This week’s cue word is Field


 

warning: contains vampire lust

Diary of a Weekend Vampire

I

Suzy trimmed my hair on Monday after work when it was dark
(I’ve promised her a book of poems and picnic in the park)
She cut her index finger on the edge of her scissors
And I gave a little snigger as I watched her in the mirror
Run into the kitchen searching for Elastoplast
And it got me set to thinking that nothing ever lasts
And roses that are red to her to me always turn black.

II

On Tuesday I was stuck in traffic and very late for work
Some scoundrel driver cut me up and made me go berserk
I fantasised about his neck and drinking road rage blood
Then at the perfect moment as he was just about to turn
I’d slash an artery here or there and leave him for the worms
Rotting in a field in the English countryside
Good for him I wasn’t on duty and only work part-time.

III

On Wednesday Alicia from accounts did my Tarot cards
She said she learnt them from a man who was a Russian Tsar
I played her up and drew for fun ol’ Death and The Hanged Man
And she rattled on ‘bout new beginnings and being the best you can
How my chakras needed aligning and my aura looked like mud
And all the while I was thinking I’d like to suck her blood
But Wednesday’s only half the week and I’m meant to be good.

IV

Thursday after work I volunteered at the skate park
The kids there think I’m very cool and call me Mrs Sharp
Or Northern Vamp in Aviators, Vans and skinny jeans
With links to Bauhaus, SoM and Siouxsie And the Banshees,
And I tell ’em go listen to the Cure’s Carnage Visors
While flashing them my fingernails and sexy incisors
Yeah, I know it’s cool to be a kid – as I once was before being bit.

V

Thank Fuck It’s Friday for I was horny as hell
Was dress-down-day at work and Alicia sure looked swell:
Alicia in black stockings and an off-the-shoulder number
And thoughts of gorging on her neck stirred me from my slumber
And after knocking off at four I met her in the pub
Should never mix my Gin and Tonic with my colleagues’ blood
Coz around midnight later on, Alicia was supped up.

VI

Saturday I woke up late with an epic hangover
Virgin blood and toasted bread, a nice refreshing shower
Then at the discotheque that night I spied my vamps-to-be
Gave invitations to my castle overlooking the sea:
A beauty queen, a nurse from Leeds, a cosplay Wolverine
Sacred rites, blood and lust all night… yes Saturday is the best!
Then precious sleep in ancient caskets, for Sunday is our day of rest.

***

***

***


***


Dedicated to weekend vampires the world over.

Poem and art card by Ford.


Editor’s note: disclosure – normally my Six Sentence Stories are written on demand subject to inspiration found from the weekly cue word. However, my poem Diary of a Weekend Vampire has been sitting in the Six Sentence Story reception area for more than a month, its impatient author waiting for our wonderful word mistress D to unleash a cue word applicable to my, erm, vampire urges, and all fine and dandy and in time for Halloween 😁 🎃

But time passed, and the cue words wouldn’t marry the spirit of my vampiric tale, and before I knew it we were almost halfway through October. Could I risk waiting for the following week’s cue word? Or worse, risk it with the last date in October? Not on your holy water! It had to be this week’s Six Sentence Story, or my protagonist lady vamp Mrs Sharp might be consigned to the perils of next October.

So, this Sunday, came the announcement of the cue word… and it was… wait for it, hah, oh, wait, what… Field. Umm?!? How do I fit part-time vampire lust into a field? Or a field into part-time vampire lust? It seemed our fearless word mistress D had delivered to your humble editor a deadly word-blow – akin to a stake through the heart at midnight while the coffin was still warm.

What could I do? Who could I turn to? Nothing at my Writing & Bakery School classes (micro stories while making tarts) had prepared me for this; nor were there any chapters devoted to my dilemma in the 1001 Ways To Get Your Sorry Ass Out Of Writing Trouble which Wooof bought me last Christmas; and my clandestine seances with the spirits of Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker (The Three Dead Literary Spooks and a Rubbish Living Writer Society) garnered no advice nor wisdom other than: “Don’t give up the day job, mate, and can you get us any laudanum?”.

Only one thing for it… the word field simply had to fit! Somewhere, anywhere, even if it didn’t make sense! Well, luckily it did, in a way. And you know, on reflection, the word field ended up stamping itself with some authority inside the swaggering sentence: “Rotting in a field in the English countryside”. I really like that line. It also sums up Brexit quite nicely. Fuck you, Brexit.

I’m glad now that it was field as the cue word; and this is the beauty of Six Sentence Stories – you have to work with what is given, and this is not a constraint really but a liberation. And I love it. And I love our word chooser D for taking time each week to challenge us all ♥. If you enjoy writing, then come on over to Six Sentence Stories and try your craft. We’re a lovely bunch here, and we don’t bite (apart from the part-time vampires among us 😉)


October horror shorts: Pheep Pheep Pheep

I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog, where she hosts Six Sentence Stories, and everyone is invited to write a story, poem or article constructed of six sentences based on a cue word given.

This week’s cue word is Volume

 


WARNING: The following short contains strong horror.

Pheep Pheep Pheep

The police would come to discover her macabre hobby and gain a grim confession, and the press would label her The Small Heath Scalper, though her real name at trial would be Delores Ann Callaghan, 38, unmarried, no children, of Muntz Street, Birmingham.

A night owl she was in a decade about to roar around her, while she burned oil in her salon in her cellar, with a cast iron bath in which to discard all the heads; her day job – switchboard operator at the city hospital, with Mr Byrd and Mr Hardy being her favourite porters.

And by the small hours in her subterranean salon she would whistle while she worked – pheep pheep pheep to the clip clip clip and the snip snip snip of her scissors, and the heat of her Marcel wavers and curlers, the swish of her combs and Bobby pin snap, pheep pheep pheep, the hum of peroxide and pomade heavy to the walls of that windowless room.

Byrd and Hardy knew her favourites: the harlot-y dancers of the city bars and revues, the painted strumpets as her mother once was when she parted her legs to let a man in, who paid her with horse-won guineas after leaving her with child… she… she pheep pheep pheeps as she admires her newest coiffured creation: such beautiful waves and curls, such shine, such volume…

Her work done for the night, she places the mannequin head next to the others beside her mirrors, takes a step back, pheep pheep pheeps, and admires her collection of scalps; while upstairs comes a-crashing as the police break in, and they creep like a line of black cockroaches to the cellar door, and the horrors upon horrors waiting to greet them from below.


Muntz Street and Small Heath map 1904. Image: Wikipedia Commons


Editor’s note: Muntz Street is a real street in the ward of Small Heath, Birmingham, England. I worked in Small Heath and its neighbouring Bordesley Green during the late 1980s and early 90s, and bought my first drum kit there from a shop known as Green Lane Music Centre. The small hilltop site of Small Heath has been used as a settlement since Roman times, and was developed into housing for both wealthy industrialists and working class labourers in Victorian times. Small Heath is the original site of Birmingham City Football Club (now in Bordesley Green), as well as home to the once mighty Birmingham Small Arms factory which produced guns, motorcycles, bicycles, cars and taxi cabs – and which was heavily bombed in World War II. Small Heath was also home to the notorious Peaky Blinders gang; the gang and their Small Heath territory featuring in the ongoing BBC TV series Peaky Blinders since 2013.

The Malt Shovel. Muntz Street corner, Small Heath, Birmingham. Date and photo credit unknown.

In my story Pheep Pheep Pheep, the porter characters Byrd and Hardy are fictional, but loosely based on the real Burke and Hare murderers a hundred years earlier. The character Delores Ann Callaghan is also fictional, but loosely based on the fictional character Sweeney Todd – the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The establishment in my story of Delores Ann’s location and the early twentieth century date stamp might easily put her at the same time and place as the Peaky Blinders gang, perhaps even making Delores a once quiet and unassuming neighbour of the gang, until the police discovered her grisly hobby. And after… was she hung? Was she sent to the asylum? Did she flee incarceration to escape into the night of another story and another time?


My Horror and Fantasy Themed Beer Bottle Awards 2020!

Horror / fantasy themed beer bottles.

The drinks are on TVTA!

And it’s never too early to start celebrating Halloween is it? September being the warm-up to my favourite ghoulish month? Add a beer or two, and all is good 🙂

Without further ado, here are the beer bottles I’ve saved since the beginning of the year. There are 13 of them, and they all feature a horror or fantasy theme.

The contenders…

The ratings…

La Bière Du Demon / Demon Beer. France. 12%. A design to induce nightmares, and coming in at 12% this is the strongest of the bunch and not to be taken lightly. A diobolical pleasure.

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13:50 – Halloween flash fiction to chill your blood! Illustrated.

Warning: this Halloween blog post contains themes of adult horror which may not be suitable for all audiences.

Happy Halloween dear readers! This year I’m doing something a little different… I recently entered a Halloween flash fiction challenge, with the rules being the story must contain fifty words and be scary. You could enter as many times as you liked, so I’ve selected thirteen of my most gruesome tales which I’m reproducing here for TVTA’s annual Halloween party post!

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