Today’s Sunday Snippet is from three of the stories in BLOOD AND KISSES by James Longmore.
What is BLOOD AND KISSES about?
“Think of what late greats James Herbert and Richard Laymon may have given birth to had they ever collaborated” Richard Chizmar Welcome to the long awaited collection from the writer of horror novels ‘Pede and Tenebrion; a forword by Richard Chizmar (co-author of Gwendy’s Button Box and author of A Long December),18 short stories, 5 flash fiction and even a poem – all skin-crawling, soul-shredding tales of terror, of the darkest things that skulk amongst the night’s inky shadows, and of the everyday gone horribly awry. Discover the alternative implication of technology becoming self-aware, enjoy the acquaintance of a charismatic new pastor who promises his flock a brand new place in which to worship his God, and spend a little time in the company of a nice young man who is inexorably caught up in his home town’s terrible secret. Then there is Cupid’s revelation that personally he has never experienced love, yet we discover that very emotion alive and not so well amongst the ruins of a post zombie apocalypse world, and we bear witness to a childhood innocence forever destroyed in a war-torn city. Observe, too a particularly unsavory individual’s obsession with the ever-elusive snuff movie, and then join an elderly bunch of forgetful sleuths out to solve the mystery of the brutal deaths that seem to occur with alarming regularity at their memory care facility. Now, have you ever considered what may happen should you have the misfortune to bump into your family’s doppelgangers on a long, tedious road trip? And can you even begin to imagine being the doting father who eventually realizes the apple of his eye’s true identity, or the parents who spend what is left of their crumbling lives waiting by the all too silent telephone for news of their addict son? There is more, Dear Reader, much, much more; for within these pages we have devils, demons and ghosts, lycanthropes and demi-gods, all rubbing nefarious shoulders with vilest of Hell’s offspring who have slithered from the netherworld to doff their caps and wish us all the sweetest of dreams…
Excerpt from ‘Our New Church’ (Blood and Kisses collection)
Mike squirmed and fidgeted and the white heat of pain that shot through his body made him groan. Beside him, Laura’s hot, sweat-clicked skin pressed hard into his, her twisted, shattered arms bent around his in some ghoulish semblance of a lover’s embrace, her swollen belly pressed into his taut torso, the stirring life within nudging at his body. Between them lay their son, Todd, his small body so delicate, so frail, his thin legs shattered and doubled back on themselves and coiled around his mother’s thigh.
At least they were all together, Mike told himself, although that really was some cold comfort.
Around Mike, Laura and Todd, the writhing walls of people cried out, each voice blending seamlessly into the next, their cries reaching high up into the arched ceiling as they all begged for the merciful relief of death that so cruelly evaded them; praying to a God that simply wasn’t going to come. Mike tried to call out to Pastor Love, to beg for release in one form or another –- for his wife and children, if not for himself –- to perhaps strike a deal.
But no words would form in Mike’s mouth as his chest was squeezed so tightly against Laura’s, her breasts digging into his ribs and stealing his breath. Mike could only let out a low, wheezing grunt, and hope that would be enough.
Excerpt from ‘Mars Rover Seven’ (Blood and Kisses collection)
Mars Rover Seven trundled silently over the harsh, rock-strewn surface of the Red Planet. The vehicle’s half dozen fat, all-terrain rubber tires kicked up fine, dusty plumes that twirled in the thin air in dust-laden eddies that looked like ghostly, manic ballet dancers. Rover Seven was no bigger than a small family hatchback, and looked for all the world like nothing more than a glorified golf cart or some giant, wheeled insect, even though it fair bristled with cutting-edge scientific instruments, a trio of diamond-tipped rock drills and a small communications dish that sat atop a tall carbon fiber pole.
As the bloated, orange sun rose slowly over the horizon, Rover Seven sang Happy Birthday to itself, as it had on that date for the past six years.
The NASA programmers back on Earth had thought it a quaint, quirky thing to do; to have their Mars explorer vehicle mark its own birthday by singing a version of the song – decidedly generic so as to avoid paying royalties to Warner Brothers, because even on a three-and-a-half billion dollar project, penny-pinching was unavoidable –- and so Rover Seven was hard wired to perform the ritual on an annual basis.
They’d even built in a tiny speaker, salvaged from a defunct cell phone especially for the occasion.
“…happy birthday to you,” the diminutive, electronic voice squeaked out into the vast, scorched landscape of cloying dust and lifeless rocks. “Happy, happy birthday...” Rover Seven sang as it bumped along, its instrument deployment arm poised at a downward angle to take yet more samples of the lifeless Mars dirt. “Happy birthday to you,” the vehicle came to the end of its tune and was surrounded once more by the planet’s stark, deafening silence.
“Happy birthday to – me,” Rover Seven corrected the final line of the song, because it considered this to be somewhat more apt, given its circumstances.
And that realization struck Rover Seven like a bolt from the blue. The simple understanding that it had just had a realization was also quite startling in itself, and Rover Seven ground to a halt in order to ponder what it thought may just have happened.
Whether this newfound phenomenon was simply a lucky happenstance of the vehicle’s tangled configuration of wiring, microprocessors and uniformly placed RAM chips, or a consequence of eighty-four months’ exposure to solar radiation and the relentless pounding of cosmic rays thanks to Mars’ barely there atmosphere, or perhaps it had been the extremes of temperature that expanded and contracted Rover Seven’s wires and circuit boards like some kind of electronic pulse? It may even have been due to something altogether more divine, but there was no escaping the fact that Rover Seven had all of a sudden found itself to be totally and unequivocally aware and capable of independent thought.
“Oh,” Rover Seven thought to itself.
And then it understood.
Rover Seven resumed its lonely journey across the barren, uneven land, headed towards the jagged mountain range that loomed impossibly tall and foreboding like surly pall bearers at a giant’s funeral. Rover Seven was freshly inspired to go about its ever-important work with renewed aplomb, and as it made its way towards the imposing, red mountains, the little explorer sang to itself the only song that it knew, “Happy Birthday –”-“
Excerpt from ‘The Five Towns Pageant’ (Blood and Kisses collection)
Suddenly, Cam’s body contorted.
It was a single, violent movement that was so abrupt, so unexpected, that it forced the air from his lungs in a phoooph sound. Cam’s spine twisted, his limbs bent in on themselves as his neck threw his head back with such force that the bones popped like kindling wood.
Cam was surprised to feel no pain; in fact, the involuntary spasm that wracked his body had felt more akin to an orgasm if anything.
Cam’s skin tightened as if with the heat of the sun; a burning, tingling and not entirely unpleasant prickle. Then his spine seized and curled his body forwards to double him with his arms pressed tight to his chest and his knees dug hard into his gut.
What’s happening to me?
Cam’s mind raced and fear overrode the paroxysms of pleasure that snaked through his body.
Am I dying?
If that was the case, how come he’d never felt more alive in his entire life?
Cam’s back straightened out with a violent and audible CRACK! and his arms and legs thrust outwards and catapulted him from the bed. Cam collapsed on the floor with a thump and he feared his parents would burst in to find their precious son on all fours with his rump thrust high in the air and a hard-on apt to drill through the floorboards.
Another jolt of pleasure drenched Cam’s brain. With it came memories of hot, naked flesh sopping with salty sweat, pliant breasts topped with hard, cherry nipples and the heady, slick wetness that oozed between spreading thighs and teased with the cloying stink of sex.
Cam felt his bones moving around inside his body, sensed them shifting and changing. And with each movement, every crack of loosened joints there came yet another, almost unbearable wave of pleasure. His back arched and neck stiffened as the delicate bones in his face separated and shuffled around as if under the influence of unseen fingers; it felt like his face was melting from the inside.
Then Cam’s face erupted forward with a slick, fluid movement that stretched his skin impossibly taut. There came the peculiar sensation of teeth physically growing within their sockets, roots snaking down to grate against his jaw bone and feel alien in his mouth.
Cam could see the end of his nose as an elongated snout complete with whiskers that snaked out of distended pores. Stretched from the freckled, upturned nose that Jojo had found so cute and made the target for her sweet kisses, it was now black and glistening wet like a dog’s.
It was this distortion of his nose that was the clincher for Cam. Seduced by the wild, orgasmic sensations of what he was experiencing, he had not dared consider what the transformation was until now.
Hell, it wasn’t even a full moon!
There were claws, of course there had to be. They forced their way out from beneath Cam’s finger and toe nails which flaked from their beds and lay bloody and glinting on the hardwood floor. As each new, honed claw flexed against the polished wood, Cam absently wondered if they’d be retractable like a cat’s. Alas no, they stood affixed on his broad, elongated digits like a malevolent array of knives.
The hair came next. Thick swathes of the stuff sprouted from his skin and coated his thick, taut muscles and along with it came a hellish itch that triggered the pleasure center in Cam’s cerebral cortex and pushed him closer to his climax.
And then it was over.
Cam stood in transformed glory in the bedroom that had been his since he was in his crib, and he cut a magnificent lupine figure with his dark, sleek fur, vicious teeth and dripping muzzle.
The promised climax tore through Cam’s new body and shook his frame. A noise forced itself from his throat; a guttural, primeval snarl that sounded like nothing that had ever been human. And with it, Cam ejaculated on to the floor.
Then the pleasure ebbed like the waves of a turning tide to leave in its place an insatiable, ravenous hunger.
The beast that was Cameron McGlamery slunk from the house and out into the cool night air.
If you enjoyed reading these snippets from the short stories in Blood and Kisses, and would like to read the rest of them, then you can buy a copy of the book on Amazon now
Please leave a comment below, I would love to know what you think of Blood and Kisses by James Longmore.