Blight Digest (Winter 2015) Releases

We are pleased to release our second edition of Blight Digest featuring thirteen tales to tantalize and terrorize the senses.

BD-Winter2015-Iss2-v2-fullcover

Table of Contents Features:

  • Farewell, Again by Matt Andrew
  • Burrow by Paul J. Garth
  • The Hunger, The Thirst by W.P. Johnson
  • How Little Sleeps by Angel Luis Colón
  • On Dark Wings by Tony Wilson
  • The Door by Joe Powers
  • Regular, Normal People by Grant Jerkins
  • The Hungry Ones by John Leahy
  • Parts by Jacqueline Seewald
  • Running on Dead Leaves by John Steele
  • Dreaming of Honey by J.M. Perkins
  • Cats for Ginger by Mathew Allan Garcia
  • Serving Justine by Eddie McNamara
  • and a farewell foreword by Bracken MacLeod

Blight Digest is a three season magazine featuring 10 or more stories every 4 months that will feed just about any horror lovers tastes with a twist. The magazine welcomes new and established writers, and readers of all walks of life. The first two editions were edited and crafted by Bracken MacLeod, Jan Kozlowski, Ron Earl Phillips, and Frank Larnerd. Cover art by done by Dyer Wilk.

Be sure to pick up your copy today. And if you haven’t read issue 1, Blight Digest Fall 2014, it’s only 99 cents on the Kindle.

BD-Winter2015-Iss2-v2 Blight-Digest-Cover

Fear is Spreading

 

 


Hellos and Goodbyes

BD-Winter2015-Iss2-v2One Eye Press is marching into a busy season with the release of Blight Digest: Winter 2015 on March 9th, followed closely by the release of Knuckleball by Tom Pitts on March 24th and Shotgun Honey Presents: Locked and Loaded (Both Barrels Vol. 3) in April. These projects are a labor of love not only for the writers but the editors behind the scenes, and at times the things we love conflict with our real world issues. There is only so much time, isn’t there?

janchrisirvin-smallWith that thought, I want to give my humble thanks to Jan Kozlowski who worked diligently on issue 1 of Blight Digest and was critical to the selection of issue 2’s lineup, and to Chris Irvin who has helped steadfastly for the last 2 plus years select and edit stories for Shotgun Honey and it’s anthology series Both Barrels. Jan is a talented writer and a tremendous editor who knows not only horror, but genre fiction. And Chris, who has been more than an editor, a contributor, a spark, but a sounding board and a friend. Both will be missed going forward. Best of luck with your current and future endeavors.

angelcolonfranklarnerdThankfully, there are those who have stepped in to help keep the ships on course. I am please to welcome Frank Larnerd, a writer and editor, and former contributor, who has jumped in to help finalize the upcoming issue of Blight Digest. Frank will be working on Blight Digest until at least issue 4 which is the Fall 2015 edition this coming October. Filling the vacancy by Chris Irvin will be past Shotgun Honey contributor Angel Luis Colón, and author of the upcoming One Eye Press Single The Fury of Blacky Jaguar. Angel sidled in well, and reading your submissions like a champ. A little warning, Angel is a harsh critic, so bring your A game!

big-badgeCurrently, in hiatus land is The Big Adios Western Digest. I hate to leave it’s fate open ended, but sometimes things just do not work out or reach the needed audience. We are hopeful of a summer release, with the possibility of doing an annual summer anthology.

Not to leave things on a negative note, One Eye Press is negotiating an ongoing character series that we look forward to announce and schedule for the second half of 2015. It’s a little PI, a little horror, a little sci-fi mash-up. Fun stuff that falls right into our wheelhouse of short fiction that packs a punch.


Blight Digest Winter 2015 Reveal

BD-Winter2015-Iss2-v2BLIGHT DIGEST Winter 2015 is expected to release the last week of February, and includes 13 all new tales to tingle and terrorize.

Our Table of Contents:

  • Grant Jerkins
  • Mathew Andrew
  • Eddie McNamara
  • Angel Luis Colón
  • Paul Garth
  • Mathew Allan Garcia
  • Jacqueline Seewald
  • Tony Wilson
  • John Steele
  • J M Perkins
  • William P Johnson
  • John Leahy
  • Joe Powers

Our editors are Bracken MacLeod, Jan Kozlowski, Frank Larnerd and Ron Earl Phillips. Jan who was an invaluable asset for the Fall 2014 edition lent a notable hand in the selection process. Frank Larnerd steps in for final production and will assist on the summer and fall editions. Bracken MacLeod will provide the foreword.

Our cover, “Praying with the Serpent,” is a masterful digital painting by Dyer Wilk. Wilk provided the art for our inaugural Fall 2014 release.

At this time, stories for the Summer 2015 edition are still under review.


Monkey Business

Twas hotter than a Tennessee showgirl underneath six buffalo blankets, but the idgits in Blind Gulch came out anyways, eager to get a glimpse at the strangers.

Their half-dozen wagons were drawn up single file in the center of town. Each wagon was caked in dust, dimming the bright stars, moons, and flowers that had been painted on the sides. The drivers, stern-faced bearded men quietly watered their horses as the locals looked on with hot dusty contemptuous faces.

“Gypsies,” Courtney Anne said from the steps of Professor Pauley’s Office of Dentistry. “Thieves and liars, every one.”

“I hope Ol’ Andy hornswoggled them on every penny,” Mrs. Betsy replied.

Heads turned as the door to general store swung opened. Out walked Ol’ Andy, puffing on one of his Mexican cigars. He was followed by a tall raven-haired woman, who seemed to speak for the travelers. Her features were sharp and exotic, smoky dark eyes and shimmering bronze skin. She wore a white blouse with embroidered roses that matched her scarlet dress. Odder then the colt on her hip was the small chittering monkey that sat on her shoulder.

She stood with Ol’ Andy on the porch of the general store, watching as Andy’s boys carried sacks of flour, beans, and what not out to the stranger’s wagons.

Things seemed fine, until Ol’ Andy’s dog caught sight of them. He started barking and carrying on, the whole while his eyes are locked on that monkey.

The dog’s name was Laramore, half shepherd and half Labradore. He was stocky with one remaining tattered ear. Where he wasn’t covered with scars and bite marks, Laramore’s fur was coarse and jet black.

He jerked against his chain, snarling and thrashing, foam frothing from his jaws. Ol’ Andy yells at him to hush, but that dog is damn near choking itself to get a bite of that monkey.

Now, the whole time, the monkey is just loving this. It’s racing back and forth over the woman’s shoulders, a squeaking and a jumping, taunting Ol’ Andy’s dog.

You remember Devon, the one-eyed feller that used to play the piano over in Tankersley’s?

He jerked against his chain, snarling and thrashing, foam frothing from his jaws. Ol’ Andy yells at him to hush, but that dog is damn near choking itself to get a bite of that monkey.

Well, he leans over the rail around the saloon and yells out, ”Better mind your monkey, ma’am.”

Folks laughed for a bit. The dark-haired woman, she don’t laugh.

After they quieted down, the woman yells back. “If that beat up old hound got off his chain, this little monkey would make him sorry he did.”

A low whistling sound escaped the crowd; they knew a challenge when they heard it.

I could see the idea forming in Ol’ Andy’s eyes before he opened his mouth. He knew, just like everyone in town, that Laramore was undefeated in Kassa County in both dog fighting and bear baiting.

“That sounds like a challenge.” Ol’ Andy said, pulling his cigar from his puckered red face. “Perhaps we should have a little wager, miss?”

“Rachel,” the woman replied.

She nodded at the monkey. “Her name is Julia and if you’re willing to make wager, we might arrange a friendly competition.”

Ten minutes later, the town had huddled in a circle. On one side, Andy’s boys clung to Laramore as he snarled, pulling against the chain. On the other side of the circle, Rachel waited with her hands on her hips; Julia perched calmly on her shoulder.

Ol’ Andy declared that if the monkey won, the strangers could take their supplies free of charge. In return, the raven-haired women, promised to pay double the worth of the goods if Laramore was victorious.

franklarnerdFrank Larnerd is an undergraduate student at West Virginia State University where he has received multiple awards for fiction and non-fiction. Recently his stories have appeared in LOST CHILDREN: PROTECTORS and DARK DREAMS PODCAST. His second anthology as editor, STRANGE CRITTERS: UNUSUAL CREATURES OF APPALACHIA will be released in the fall of 2013 from Woodland Press. For more visit: www.franklarnerd.com

Motioning for attention, Ol’ Andy stepped into the circle. “Now when I drop my cigar, my boys will let loose this dog. You might want to make sure that monkey isn’t on your shoulder when I do.”

Rachel nodded.

Ol’ Andy tossed the smoldering butt into the circle. As it hit the ground, his boys let loose on Laramore’s chain. The dog surged forward, snapping and growling.

The monkey leapt from Rachel’s shoulders, landing gracefully, rolling onto the parched sand. Dodging a frenzy of teeth, Julia snatched up Ol’ Andy’s cigar and jumped up onto the dog’s back.

The crowed howled in laughter as the monkey clung onto the dog’s tail, puffing away on Andy’s cigar as Laramore whirled around in circles.

Chattering gleefully, the little monkey poked the burning end of the cigar against Laramore’s butt hole. The dog let out a painful yelp and charged into the crowed, trailed by a cloud of cigar smoke.

The people screamed, scattering every which way as the frantic dog raced around their legs and under their dresses. From the dog’s back, Julia chirped happily, puffing and singing Laramore’s hindquarters as she rode.

Amongst the commotion, Rachel climbed aboard the lead wagon.

As she snapped the reins, she called out to Ol’ Andy. “Pleasure doing business with you.”


Amateur Night

Charlie squeezed his eyes shut; he just couldn’t watch.

Around him people were shouting, cheering, and cursing; their voices echoing off the barn’s high ceiling. Tuesday nights were cock fights, Thursdays was reserved for dogs, but Colonel Mason saved the main entertainment for Saturday night.

Charlie peeked through his fingers; to his right, the Colonel fanned himself with a newspaper. His sons, Albert and Little Jim sat on either side, slack-jawed and blank-faced. All around Charlie, people booed and waved tickets, desperate to get the bookie’s attention.

At the barn’s center was a large earthen pit, surrounded by stacks of aluminum bleachers. The pit was ten feet deep with blood speckled two-by-fours arranged along its walls. It’s floor, a mix of red clay, hay, and feathers.

Charlie’s fighter hunkered in the corner while the Colonel’s man smashed him with a barrage of strikes and kicks.

“It’s a fix,” shouted the drunken man next to Charlie. “He ain’t thrown a punch!”

The file had said Jasper Gray was a psycho. Thirty years ago, he had killed fifteen people, three of them police officers in Knoxville, all with his bare hands. He might have been bad once, but now, Jasper just looked like a flabby old man with a comb-over getting his ass kicked.

“Should have gotten Clevon from D wing,” Charlie said under his breath.

The Colonel’s fighter was Homer Teets. Big and bearded, Homer had a chest like a cement mixer. His large knotted hands that were equally good at punching as they were taking Charlie’s money.

The Colonel grinned like a southern-fried gargoyle in a ten gallon hat, watching as his fighter yanked Jasper to his feet. Jasper’s nose hung to the side, a torrent of blood soaking the front of his hospital gown. Homer grabbed him by the crotch and neck, hoisting the old man over his head.

“Who’s king of the pit?” Homer grunted.

Charlie covered his face with his hands. Screams made him look again.

Homer was screeching and pawing at his face. Blood streamed through his fingers as they pressed against his gushing eye.

Jasper was holding his eyelid.

Struggling to his feet, Homer leaned against the walls of the pit, panting and cursing. Jasper advanced on him, ducking under a sloppy right hand, and sidestepping a kick.

Pulling back his arm, Jasper made a pointing gesture with his hand. A hush went over the crowd as he drove his finger deep into Homer’s chest.

The big man jerked back as Jasper pulled his finger free with a bloody plop. The old man hit him four more times, ramming his gore coated finger repeatedly into Homer’s torso. He slunk down the walls of pit, his eyes open and dead.

Charlie jumped to his feet, pumping his fist in the air.

***

“That was a good fight,” Charlie told the Colonel after the last of the onlookers emptied the barn.

Jasper Gray sat beside him on the bleachers, rocking back and forth gently and humming to himself.

The Colonel squinted his eyes. “You steal that boy from the crazy house you work at?”

“Consider it a work furlough,” Charlie said. “Maybe I could loan him out to you for cheap?”

Colonel Mason dismissed the idea with a wave while his sons moved in. “I don’t think so, Charlie.”

Albert and Little Jim grabbed Charlie by the arms, holding him while he struggled.

“But we had a deal!” Charlie cried.

The Colonel drew a bone-handled knife from his belt. “Gotta be alive to have a deal.”

Jasper hummed softly as Colonel Mason pulled his knife across Charlie’s throat.  Gurgling, Charlie fell backward into the pit and landed with a crunch. His legs twitched for a moment and then he was gone.

The Colonel stood in front of Jasper, the bloody knife dangling from his fingers. “Now don’t get riled up, son. This will be over in a second.”

Jasper leapt to his feet as the reached for him. His hands whipped about, snapping ligaments and severing bones. The Colonel’s boys crumpled to the bleachers in bloody heaps.

Jasper smiled and pointed a bloody finger at the Colonel.


Clown Town

Zappo watched as a stray dog wearing a silly hat, pissed on the mailbox in front of Amazing Rondo’s TV repair. Behind the iron gates of the shop, a row of televisions flickered attracting a cloud of insects. On the TVs, the Mayor was giving an address to a sea of reporters.

There was no sound from the row of TVs, but Zappo thought he could lip read the words, “daughter” and “grief.” It was hard to follow with the Mayor’s tears streaking his red, white, and blue make-up.

Zappo sucked the last of his smoke down to the filter. He tossed the butt and crushed it under one large red shoe as Blinky appeared from the alley. Zappo stepped under the light of the pawn shop, so Blinky could see him.

“You got the tickets?”

“I’m not buying,” Zappo said. “I want to see Chuckles.”

Blinky pulled off his rainbow wig and scratched at his angry red scalp, “Why you wanna see him for? Don’t you want some cotton candy?”

“Tell him it’s about his new cootch show.”

“Stay here,” Blinky spat.

Zappo lit another cigarette as Blinky disappeared back into the alley. Down the street, a couple of hookers dressed in neon tutus and polka dots hurried along in a thunder of high heels. Zappo leaned against the pawn shop and blew out a cloud of smoke.

Half way down the street, one of the hookers spotted him.

“You lookin’ to party, funny man? I’ll blow you up so big… you’ll be able to tie that thing up to look like a poodle.”

“Get lost,” Zappo snarled.

He tossed his smoke into a puddle, its taste had soured. There was a whistle and Zappo turned to see Blinky standing at the mouth of the alley.

“Come on. It’s showtime.”

Inside the building, a couple of mimes frisked Zappo. He held out his arms as they felt along his torso. From the corner of his eye, he could see Chuckles lying on a sofa. A young girl was huddled on the floor in front of him; her make-up was tear-stained.

“Sorry to hear about your old lady. Double murder. That’s a heavy rap, but she always was a firebrand. At least on the inside, it will be harder for Daddy Longlegs to get at her.”

Zappo shrugged, “I’m not here to talk about that.”

“That’s right,” Chuckles said through his yellow-toothed smile, “You’re here about my new friend. Tell me, how did you know about the girl?”

“Once you’ve been in enough pie fights, you recognize the bakers. I’ll I had to do was ask myself, who would be dumb enough to hold the Mayor’s kid for ransom.”

Chuckles rocked back and snickered. One of the mimes feigned holding back laughter.

“You’re a funny clown, Zappo. What do you want? A cut of the action?”

Zappo pulled off his red nose and jammed it in a pocket, “I want leverage.”

With the ridge of his hand, Zappo struck the mime on his right in the throat. The other mime waved his hands franticly as Zappo smashed his face with an oversized shoe.

“Mimes,” Zappo huffed, “I thought your tent was bigger than that.”

Chuckles grinned at him with a ruby smile, but didn’t move. Bending over, Zappo grabbed one of the mimes’ uzis. The girl straightened; hope shining in her eyes.

“If you don’t want me to pop your balloon,” Zappo growled, “Then you’ll do exactly what I say.”

Outside there was a squeal of tires. Zappo ran to the window as Chuckles cackling laughter followed after him.

“I guess you didn’t hear. My crew is with Daddy Longlegs now!” Chuckles giggled.

From the window, Zappo saw the tiny car roar to a stop. Dozens of hatchet-wielding clowns poured from the car toward the building.

Chuckles yanked a hidden pistol from the cushions of the sofa and brayed, “Looks like the jokes on you!”

Zappo whipped around and fired the uzi at the clown, peppering him with bullets. After the shooting stopped, the girl uncovered her eyes and looked up at Zappo. He was holding a hand out to her.

“Come on kid, no time to clown around.”