Angelic Knight Press: William Cook:
Angelic Knight Press is excited to announce that William Cook, a very talented author, poet, and artist/ illustrator from New Zealand will be gracing us with his presence in the form of his fantastic novel "Blood Related" which we are slating for release in December. We have to take advantage of the holiday season sales mania!
Yvonne, Stacey, and I are in love with this chilling horror, mystery tale. William sent us a very polished Ms. Below is a portion of the synopsis sent to us by him.
Meet Caleb Samael Cunningham, a diabolical serial-killer with an inherited psychopathology, passed down via a blood-soaked genealogy. Caleb is a disturbed young man whose violent father is a suspected serial killer and mother, an insane alcoholic. After his Father’s suicide, Cunningham’s disturbing fantasy-life becomes reality, as he begins his killing spree in earnest. His identical twin brother Charlie is to be released from an asylum and all hell is about to break loose, when the brothers combine their deviant talents.Blood Related is a serial-killer/crime novel told in a first-person narrative style from the killer’s (Caleb’s) point-of-view.
Need I say any more? Later, I will, but for now this should give you a vivid idea of what to expect with this great novel. As for the cover art, William asked if he could do his own. He is quite an accomplished artist so I naturally said yes. We can hardly wait to see what he will present to us.
We feel very fortunate to have William joining us. Angelic Knight Press is not the only publisher interested in publishing this novel. We won!
Keep tuned for more information, dates, etc. Exciting times for all of us!
I had a dream on the anniversary of her death. In the dream, I heard her unmistakable voice calling me, then I saw her and she was so real, I could almost touch her again. Everything about her hit me deep in the chest, I sat bolt upright in our big empty bed. My breath gasped, sweat beaded itself on my cold skin. I could still hear her voice in the dark. I rationalized there were only two possible reasons why I could hear such a thing. I was either hallucinating, or what I heard was her ghost whispering in my ear. Then she was gone again.
I lay down and listened, my breath held in my chest, afraid to break the silence. The dawn light bled through the cracks in the blind as I strained my ears, listening. Listening for her sweet voice, playing her words over repeatedly in my weary mind –
‘There’s no turning back.
There’s no turning back now.’
I longed for her touch, the feel of her soft cold skin, her beautiful words carried on her sweet breath. The memories came flooding back – projections of my need. As I began to drift back into sleep, I thought of the way she played me with her brown eyes, teasing me, imparting so much desire . . .
The radio-alarm went off, waking me violently. I checked the time and acknowledged the precious two hours of sleep I just had, turned the screeching alarm off and got out of bed. I passed her photo in the hall on the way to the bathroom. It was the only photo I had of her on display: an enlarged black and white shot of her sitting on a beach in a lotus position, gazing mystically into the sun, long black hair out behind her in the breeze, framed by a silver expanse of ocean in the background. All the other photographs had been secreted in an old suitcase in the attic; some memories were just too painful to look at in such quantity.
I went to work, exhausted. Throughout the day, I thought about the morning’s events. Waking up with her pristine voice whispering in my ear from behind, thinking she was beside me in bed – it was so real. Must be stress, I reasoned with myself. Loneliness does strange things to a man’s mind.
Ghosts don’t exist. Do they?
The day finished quickly and I gladly closed the office door and loosened my tie with a yawn. Outside, the day had turned to night. On the way home I heard a song she used to love on the car radio. I passed the streetlight down the side road where we kissed beneath for the first time, then the church where we married. I stopped at the bottle store before turning into my street and our empty house.
The voice came again. The same words, her voice seemed closer than before, I could almost feel the skin of her soft lips against my ear. I woke with expectation – she wasn’t there, just the dim light cast across the sheets and a hangover from hell, twisting its evil blade between my tired eyes. As the days fell into each other, her disembodied voice seemed to talk louder. The same words –
‘There’s no turning back now.’ ‘There’s no turning back . . .’ adding emphasis that began to take on an ominous air –
‘There’s no turning back . . . now. There’s no turning back, for YOU’ and so on.
My nerves were stretched to capacity. My mind was tumbling over itself, trying to bridge the gap between reason and a slow-turning madness.
The voice was unmistakably hers, the intonation painfully real. Her name was, is, Alicia. We had been together for seven years before she left. We had a passionate relationship to say the least. A veritable love and hate fest, with more making up and breaking up than we both needed. We had met at the office and soon fell for each other. A drunken bout of knee-trembling sex against a photocopier in the stationary room after a work party, heralded the official beginning of our tumultuous relationship.
I didn’t want to think about the inevitable disintegration of our passionate affair, but it eventually happened and that was that. As Alicia said, there was no turning back now. We were young and had aged well together, into our fifth year, we even started talking about marriage and children and then she got a new office manager. I heard the talk among my colleagues. At first, I thought it was mere gossip, as office talk usually is. Then I saw his eyes undress her as he sauntered past her desk across the way. A coy look as she pretended to shuffle papers, her eyes caught in his swagger.
She started working late. I asked around discreetly and no one else knew of any overtime available. Then she ‘transferred’ to another floor, promoted as she put it. The evenings became a waiting game. I tried to impress with the usual chattels of love – the flowers, gourmet meals, expensive perfume. In short, I tried to purchase her affection as I had exhausted all other means of reconciliation. When she did arrive home, she was always freshly showered and well mannered, courteous almost. A peck on the cheek that made Grandmother’s kisses seem like incestuous advances. Her back turned toward me perpetually. A ‘not tonight’ was the standard response to my romantic overtures, every night.
Good old Mr Forgiving tried to get on with things, forget her indiscretion and lies and pretend that she still loved me. I knew she didn’t love me at all – not even a fraction of desire was left in her cold heart. I started to think things – what could I do, how could I get her back? The migraines kicked in and I started to drink heavily. It seemed to block reality out, for a while, and then she didn’t come home one night. But that was over a year ago; that was then, this is now.
Things started slipping. I called in sick three times in one week. When she spoke in my ear, no longer whispered now, in those frenetic waking hours – I started ‘feeling’ the words. After two goddamn weeks of visual and auditory apparitions I started feeling her. I felt her tucked against me at night, relishing each second, stuck between the ecstasy of the moment and agony of the inevitable realization that she wasn’t actually there. Her full tanned breasts against my back, soft lips brushing my shoulder, hands soft so soft like silk caressing. Supplicating my disbelief. and her photo – I can’t explain it, but she seemed to move within, animated, changing pose each morning – one day staring at the sun, black and white – next, a different tilt of the head, her hand rested on her leg just so, next . . . and then she was there. Not quite, but I could see her. Some copper coils of her hair on the pillow next to me, a fleeting glimpse of a smooth-brown shoulder. Then she’d fade away again.
The anticipation drove me delirious – I lost my mind, my heart pumped desire and love to every cell. Whatever she was, ghost or hallucination, I hungered for each second – a panacea for the sad soul. If her memory was just an indentation in the bed where she slept, I could’ve lived with her this way if it weren’t for the words – ‘There is no turning back for her NOW’ screaming in my brain, like a loudspeaker next to my ear, almost painful.
I tried to shut it out to no avail. The migraines increased, nausea, bursts of white spots before my black ringed eyes. I couldn’t shave, the sound of the razor sent blasts of pain ripping through my spine to brain. I took a month’s leave from the office – they gladly gave it to me – “You need a break Harry. You’ve been working too hard lately. Rest up. Take a break. Come back when you’re better, ok?”
Sometimes I’d like to kill those patronizing bastards, just walk in one day in Gucci suit and tie, axe in hand. Walk into the office – “Good morning Miss Secretary, Mr Boss . . . I’ve come to kill you!” Chop chop chop chop chop . . .
Then she was there one morning – “My love, my love. There’s no turning back for us now” she said, completely naked. Her burning eyes glowing hypnotically. Her hair coiling like twisting black snakes, framing her beautiful deathly countenance. I tried to touch her. She reached into me, cupping my pulsing heart in her taloned hand. I could feel it. She withdrew and walked into the bedroom. I followed. She wasn’t there . . .
I couldn’t eat. I looked in the mirror, my gaunt pale unshaven face stared back at me forlornly – eyes blackened, pupils dilated, trembling . . . my heart quivered delicately under my rib-cage, then missed . . . a beat. It felt like it, my heart, was encased in ice. I felt sick to my stomach. Where was she? I decided that it was the sleeping that did it – maybe I was reciting a spell I had lodged deep in my subconscious mind – dreams or something that kept conjuring her up every morning. Invoking the muse at every breath, so to speak.
It had taken exactly one year and twenty-one days after our break-up, or should I say her ‘disappearance,’ before I realized I could not go on without her any longer. I mean she was with me all the time, all day and night now – naked, following me around the house, hovering above me on the ceiling – whispering to me indescribable things, obscenities of the vilest nature. She had started to taunt me, yet my love grew stronger as if with a will of its own – then she started to slap me – ferocious backhanders that rattled my teeth and left droplets of nose blood on the white walls.
Half of me wanted to leave, just run as far away as I could. Pack the car and put a match to the godforsaken house as I escaped, but the other half – the stronger half, wanted to stay – couldn’t leave. Besides I knew if I tried to escape, I’d look into that rear-view mirror and those black cold eyes would be boring into my soul, her white forearm draped around my neck, her blue lips mouthing the words – “There’s no turning back now . . .”
That day I ordered in a couple of one-liter bottles of gin – I’d discovered booze could block her out for a while. I began to drink sitting with my back against the bedroom wall, watching as she undulated like a snake on the yellow duvet on the bed. Her once tanned now white body arched, her full breasts swelling with her movements, her hand pressed deep between her thighs – pink tongue darting across her full lips. Moaning. I gulped the gin quickly – ten mouthfuls, my jaw clenched and then it was easy. Half a bottle, she began to fade out like bad TV reception. Each drink twitched, erased another part of her lithe form – I couldn’t take any more. I knew I had to be rid of her once and for all. Rid of everything.
I stumbled to my drunken feet, pulling drawers out, cupboards open, photographs letters clothes newspaper clippings onto the floor. I looked over my shoulder, her head and torso moved on the bed. Her arms, legs, pelvis – gone. I stared at what was left of her, tears spilling down my face. She mouthed her silent words again – “There’s no turning back.” Her eyes glazed, hair disintegrating, writhing crumbling like black maggots, her skin peeling into nothing. My head was spinning. I threw everything in the bathtub, all the photographs, letters, clothes, newspaper clippings – fire – I opened the window. Smoke blew out.
I shuffled down the hallway past her photo now completely metamorphosed from the original. She was facing me, arms outstretched like Christ. Her blank eyes pleading. The sun behind her a ball of blazing fire. Wild hair dancing blackly around her gaunt white face. I took the photo and threw it through the bathroom door into the fire with the other memories. I’m sure I heard her scream, but it wasn’t a scream of pain – rather, a triumphantly defiant roar.
I sat down on the toilet next to the burning bathtub and put my head in my hands. Flames ran up the plastic shower curtain dropping molten lumps of fire like napalm on the linoleum. Flames licked the walls and the black smoke billowed from the bath – I saw her again, I couldn’t hear anything except the roar and burn of the blazing fire – the smoke melded together, transformed into her unmistakable snake-like coils of hair twisting and swirling, reaching for my gasping throat. Long black fingers of smoke in my eyes, in my ears – forcing my mouth open in wrenching breaths, reaching deep into my burning lungs. My heart felt like cracking ice trapped between my rib-bones. The flames burned red and blue but no heat – just intense cold – so cold. I shivered, inhaling my last breath of her love – her fading words hissing in the black smoke, echoing in my dying ears – “There’s no turning back now. There’s no turning back . . .”
2016 (C) William Cook
This story won 'Runner-Up' in the Parlor of Horror's 2016 short fiction awards and is part of my collection 'Dreams of Thanatos' - now available to all new subscribers for free - click on image below to download your copy.
This has just been listed on Amazon and i'm proud to have been included with a handful of my illustrations, a poem, and this cover illustation (art only not text). Check it out if you are a fan of Horror, i'm sure you'll find something you like therein.
It is a hostile & balmy atmosphere — everywhere injustice reigns. There is violence on every street-corner, in every home, in every heart & mind. People split into packs like wild dogs & lions, armed with knives, guns, clubs. Cults recruit vast armies who are searching for the right belief — the salvation — but all the while, famine, disease, & confusion reign the streets, roaming & slaying like huge black worms of energy, effusing the city in rising tides of blood.
Today has become a sick & diseased perversion of a body that once burned with life instead of death. Scenes from all parts of the world flood the TV screens with death & carnage, sickness, cruelty; sinful flesh eating orgies of hate & greed . . . & so we were warned with our eyes, many years ago. The city begins to crumble & suck us into its vortex in a divine lesson of justice & revenge.
We have joined hands with death & sin, never now to let go, while beyond the burning rubble & decay, the black clouds part for an instant & a blinding light emanates in throbbing rings of energy. A beautiful woman cloaked in sun smiles softly & wipes a crystal tear from her fair cheek, turning back into the shimmering phosphorescence. There is an impression of great purity, yet great evil beyond comprehension. Emancipation somehow seems so far from this place & time, yet I have seen a tree on a mountaintop that is so large & green, that I can think or see of nothing else.
I stand at a filthy shop window, looking through the smeared & murky glass, I see a frame & in that frame I see life trapped, in a dirty glass soul-box. I see liberty coveting oppression, hate, greed, violence, control. I see the whole of humankind linking arms in abandonment & themselves. I see them with bared teeth, lips curled back, eyes burning blood red, face-to-face killing, raping, hating, each other. They cannot talk, nor hear, nor see their own reflections.
Behind me a flash of light & above the noise of the hungry city streets I hear the low belly thunder pushing out the clouds. The rain starts pelting the cars & newspaper shields of citizens, swearing, cursing, heads down — some fall in the slippery litter-blocked gutters, cracking their heads on the pavement as they exclaim ”Jesus!”
I watch them fall, like burst balloons they crumple & spread their blood across the dirty asphalt. I look into one man’s eyes as he rolls over, his black hair stuck wetly to his chalk forehead, dark blood spread like chocolate across his face, his white teeth glistening, chattering. His eyes fill with rain like pools of crimson tears, glazed like cherries, he jerks & slumps, staring up at the churning sky.
I begin to walk, the air being sucked from my chest, all around I see trees sprouting from drains, from cracks in the footpath, from balcony windowsills — plants, moss, ivy, vines, leaves, grass — burst across the street in front of me, scurrying up grey concrete & red brick walls . . . as the people continue to drop, scratching at bleeding throats, & weeping blisters, broken bones peeking through skin, black-rimmed eyes with no pupils, falling, falling, fallen, like mange-ridden dogs on all fours yelping, barking in pain & contortion. The green blanket of vegetation covers everything for an instant like a shroud, enveloping their writhing forms, constricting, devouring, renewing, living. Oily silver minnows begin to rain from the sky, bouncing off the street like taut pieces of thin chrome — the green vines twist through & under their pelting brilliance — as if hungry for some feast of fish — the clattering of flopping fish & the rustle of procreation is almost deafening — I close my eyes, hands over ears . . .
I keep walking, vaguely bemused; is this a dream? Am I alive? Naked couples copulate in doorway shadows, screaming, snorting, convulsing, singing strange songs of joyful celebration in their unhappy bonds of coitus, tearing flesh as they break their desperate bones against each other. I turn away in time to see a nude man, pale, skinny, dishevelled, climb the steel back of a neon sign buzzing in the rain. He stands on top of the sign; it advertises some product in the shape of a cross. He climbs down on to its face & drops onto the small platform in front of it. It has white lights that pop & switch on & off around its ϯ shape. He unscrews the bulbs, throwing each one in an arc over his left shoulder, bouncing them off the side of the office building & smashing down on the slick street.
A small crowd has gathered below, staring expressionlessly, blankly, up at the naked man. Black, white, brown, blue, pink, mustard, coloured faces melt together as they begin a slow clapping chant: --- Mary! Mary! quite contrary, how does your garden grow? Mary! Mary! quite contrary . . . The pitiful man has now turned to look down on the crowd; his ribs cast shadows in the sickly light of the remaining neon bulbs. He looks to the sky, silhouette framed in light & the sign’s red background. Looks at the crowd blankly, his toothless, sunken skinny face, smiles. Thumbs up, arms out stretched, he starts singing along with the crowd’s new hymn — Mary! Mary! quite contrary, how does your garden grow? Mary! Mary! quite contrary . . . then he thrusts his bony thumbs into the crackling black sockets of the neon sign . . .
Fire incinerates his jumping form, like a thin tree he crackled, sending sparkling showers of sparks & ash up & out across the crowd, twisting & turning, then burning out in the whirling wind & rain. I looked at their blank faces; they were covered in a sooty mask of what looked like mud or clay. They continued to clap, now humming, quietly.
I climbed down from my vantage point & walked to the next block, stepping across bodies, clambering across car bonnets, over steaming man-hole covers. The sky was growing dark; all the lights dully gleamed like pearls of oil, a long straight street with black doorways spilling filth into the light of city night. Nude women, naked men, fondling, groping, leering, prancing, grinding each other against graffiti covered walls of peeling newsprint & brick, amidst twitching piles of trash & broken glass, dead rats & cats, stumbling blind dogs with three legs urinating everywhere, a man dressed in a silver suit made from broken mirrors, smiles at me his face is greasy with perspiration his mirror hat tilted toward my face so my eyes are sitting above his — “A girl, a guy, a thing, a thang, an it, a bitch, a child, a frog, a toy, a gun, a hook . . .” — he paused for a second, looking this way & that, his eyeballs swivelling madly in his dripping skull, reaching behind the face on his lapel & pulling out — “ a cross?” he asked. I turned on my heel & walked deliberately, slowly, languidly, down the hall of ancient mirrors on death’s dark boulevard — plucking a green bottle, from the grimy hands of a broken-down bum propped up against a rotting mule – drinking deep of that refreshing draught that was poison.
I looked at the passing forms & they too were lost in consumption, swigging from dark bottles of jolly-roger juice, smiling at the city with lust in their eyes & happiness in their wayward hearts. The night took over, I smashed my bottle against the gutter, its foul liquid evaporating in a steaming pool of nothing, all lights went out & I found myself on the other side of morning. On the side of the highway, the red sun bleeding through the cobalt dawn, the brown aura of loss concealed the dying breed of flesh-eaters & saints.
Cars droned past while I sat & looked back on whence I had come. Faces pressed against the glass of their windows, naked, staring straight ahead — gunning their engines across the swaying steel bridge that leaves this place. Grasping clubs, machetes, rocks — smeared with blood, war paint — their exodus determined by the liquid fuel of self-determination. Dragging broken, scraped, grated, bodies on lengths of steel rope & chains behind their wagons. The dismembered bodies of castrated males wearing rosary beads — some strangled with them — leaving a bloody trail like engine oil behind their sputtering, speeding, steeds.
The people were revolting against polarities of power that kept the barking dogs of apocalypse at bay in fear. A great evil had burnt itself into the minds of those with the means to end it all. Empires crumbled under the weight of a new morality of survival & insanity. Dichotomous choice became ingrained in the perception of the masses: things were black or white, give or take, live or die, hell or heaven. A juxtaposition of sanity, a great meddling of the senses bred tiny monsters that gnawed at the soul & the very essence of humanity’s last ounce of self-control. A moral was a badge you wore, a uniform of dissent, a rifle or pipe bomb in your clenched fist — a thumping in the chest.
If you're the type of reader who buys books based on instinct, then this post might not be for you. If, on the other hand, your book-buy...