Ivor Steven: Broken Plates and Rabbit Stew


Have you ever had that weird fantasia sort of dream.

Where you can’t see beyond the silver screen.

Greyness is black and red is green.

Straight lines are wavering slivery beams.

Stitched inside your brain’s sewn-up seams.

Bagged and tagged a pale corpse unseen.

Blueness in blood and plasma in streams.

Like chunky bittersweet rhubarb pie and cream.

Being injected directly into your open arteries.

Hallucinating a mad, mindless vortex of fun and games.

Spiralling outside in moonshine, as bleak bedroom coldness reigns.

Over mountains made of bland home-style rabbit stew.

Slowly eaten with a wooden teaspoon, hundreds of times.

Digested, your tummy gurgles and ejects buckets of spew.

While a hairless dog chases the postie’s bike, a whistle screams.

Dawn awakened to ice-covered broken plates and frozen lakes.

Shattered upon creek-bed rocks and your floor’s underlay.

This nightmare dream begun in April and ended dismayed.



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(Rabbit stew illustration by Poet Rummager)



Walt Page: My 12 Nightmares of Christmas



Imagine, if you will, a classic Christmas song,

Turned into a nightmarish 12 nights of nightmares!

Behold my monstrous last chorus of

My 12 Nightmares Of Christmas

Sung to the melody of

The 12 Days Of Christmas…


On the 12th nightmare of Christmas,

These nightmares came to me—

12 Slasher Monsters

11 Bleeding Bogeymen

10 Drooling Drummers

9 Priestly Perverts

8 Butchered Trump Dolls

7 Howling Werewolves

6 Voluptuous Vampires

5 Ex-Girlfriends

4 Shower Stabbings

3 Headless Horsemen

2 Decaying Corpses

And a cemetery full of my victims


Monster Christmas to all and to all a Slasher night!



©Walt Page 2017

Click HERE to visit Walt’s blog!



Spreading Holiday Fear


Red Christmas


I’m bleeding a red Christmas,
just like the ones I used to woe
where the blood-drops glisten
and demons hissin’
to scare cold kids who sleigh in the snow.
I’m bleeding a red Christmas,
that’s why every Christmas song I write causes blight
may your nights be dreary and full of dread
and may all your Christmases be stained red



Written By



All I Want For Christmas Is Bloody Goo


I don’t want a lot for Christmas.
There’s just my hunger to feed.
I don’t care about the presents.
When you tear them, they don’t bleed.
I just want you for my own—
a neck to break and lick like ice cream cone.
Make my wish come true.
Baby, all I want for Christmas is bloody goo.



Written By




Put on those Sasquatch fur mittens and wrap your neck in a spider silk scarf…it’s gonna get cold in here!


Pick Your Favorite Holiday Carol


  • Add a dark, peppermint twist to a popular Christmas/holiday carol
  • Write a comment and share your carol
  • Spread holiday fear!


** Click HERE & Select a Holiday Carol **


Holiday Illustrations By Poet Rummager


Ivor Steven: Lily and a Lizard of Wizardry


My loving dog Lily, died last week.
And I broken heartedly buried her deep.
Beneath her favourite sunny spot.
In the middle of our warm courtyard plot.

Then today, on top of her grave.
Sitting, staring at me so brave.
Lazily sunbaking, a big Blue-tongued Lizard.
His pointy tail twirling like a wizard.

The lizard laid near our orchids, like our Lily.
He squinted as I moved towards him stealthily.
But he shook his sleek head in fright.
And raced fish-swift out of sight.

Whimsically I wonder, is he !
A reincarnation of our little Lily.
Not that I really believe.
And what would you believe.
Could Lily be a Lizard of Wizardry.
Or her living spirit, now named Lizzy.

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MegaEggz: Bound to Rebound

Like a melted bar of soap,
Your soft resistance floats away.
I think it’s time to fetch the rope,
and I’ll leave it to you to pray.

Darkness; kind hearts glow brightly.
Rituals repeated nightly.
Read thoughts become so slightly
Restrained and bound ultra tightly.


©MegaEggz 2017

Click HERE to visit Josh’s blog!


Walt Page: The Demons of Darkness

A glint of light shot skyward
And summoned the creatures of the dark
One by one their howls filled the night
Their dance of the darkness had begun

All of your phobias, your childhood fears
Surrounded you, taunted you, haunted you
You trembled and gasped as you felt something touch you
A cold, slimy touch as the howling grew louder

The demons of darkness moved closer and closer
You fell to your knees and reached for the heavens
You tried to call out, to beg for forgiveness
But nobody heard you, your demons had won

When you fired that gun, shell casings were ejected
The glint on a casing was the moonlight reflected
It summoned the creatures who knew what you did
And your screams went unheard as their feeding began

©Walt Page 2017

Click HERE to visit Walt’s blog!



Ivor Steven: My Dragon (The Trilogy)


My Dragon.

A Monstrous Dragon, breathing fire.

Did arise from the gurgling mire.

Dark gangrenous green, from head to tails.

Claws blackened, sharp as nails.

Purple secretions, from his scaly chest.

A spear harpooned, a grizzly mess.

Eyes seeping yellow maggot heads.

My Dragon’s crying, and nearly dead.


My Dragon, The Revival

My harpooned Dragon’s fallen and out of breathe.

Gazing around, pleading, near death.

The slayers spear, protrudes from his scaly vest.

And I quietly hear his soulful pounding chest.

Quickly, I plunge my sword, cutting shard.

Removing the spears horrid barb.

My Dragon exhales a fearsome howl.

Eyes Bulging, tears flowing down his jowl.

In agony, thrashing his spiky green tail.

Then slowly abating, like a windless sail.

Is he dying, lying there loudly groaning.

Nostrils snorting, neither afire nor smoking.

Suddenly, his left wing begins flapping.

And my Dragon’s head rises, stretching, arching.

Green horns twitching, like a mythical serpentine.

Yellow eyes glowing, like magical sunshine.

My Dragon’s revived.

And ready to skydive.


My Dragon, Can He Fly.

My wounded Dragon, stands so proud.

Neck arching up, looking to the clouds.

Seeing graceful birds flying apart.

He feels a huge scar close to his heart.

My dragon bows, and shakes his beastly head.

But his enormous tail feels like lead.

Flapping one wing, then the over.

Dejected he looks, not even a hover.

Nostrils snorting, no sign of fire.

To fly again, his deepest desire.

From within I hear, gut-rumblings soar.

My Dragon angrily spews an almighty roar.

And his gigantic jaws open wide.

A bloodied tongue swishes his fangs side to side.

He swallows and belches another gruesome howl.

A flame burst forth from his boughs.

My dragon frantically begins to respire.

Again and again his exhales are fire.

And gyrating his heavy green tail.

He spreads his wings like full sails.

Frightened at first, fluttering end to end.

My jumbo sized reptile gradually ascends.

Twenty, then fifty, a hundred leagues above.

Suddenly flying, like a flock of beautiful doves.

Magically rolling and frolicking he flies.

Happily he shrieks and swoosh, rapidly down he dives.

Majestically gliding, he arrives.

My Dragon, again King of the skies.

unnamed (1)


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SMM 2017 Halloween Horror Writing Contest: Winners & Gifts

Sharpen your wooden stake and get ready to stab the nearest innocent vampire—the SMM Halloween Horror Writing Contest has risen from the dead. Slather some popcorn with blood: the winners are about to be announced.

 ** First Place **

$50 + 1 Free SMM Subscription (1 month)

Master of Pumpkins

L.T. Garvin submitted her story “The Girl on the Stairs”, and like a glowing jack o’lantern—her creation haunts the night…and our nightmares.

!!** Click HERE & Subscribe to L.T. Garvin! **!!

** Second Place **


Ghost Summoner

Ivor Steven ain’t afraid of no ghosts! “Burning Fears” possessed our readers…and they liked it! Yikes.

!!** Subscribe to Ivor Steven **!!

** Third Place **


Vampire Slayer

Tale Told dipped a sharp stake into a dark inkwell, and then wrote an adventurous poem which took our attention hostage.

!!** Click HERE & Subscribe to Tale Told! !!**

Transforming into a werewolf was easier than selecting contest winners, so if your story or poem wasn’t chosen, please remember that zombies don’t cry…their tear ducts stopped working many years ago. The SMM Halloween Horror Writing Contest returns next year. Keep your wooden stake sharp, you filthy monsters.

SlasherMonsterMagazine would like to send the remaining participants a special gift! SMM will contact all winners and participants. 


2017 Halloween Horror Writing Contest Graveyard


Boo! The ghosts, ghouls and goblins stuffed their ethereal maws full of caramel-chocolate. Yum. The 2017 SMM Halloween Horror Writing Contest inspired our spines to quake and shake—now it’s time to take a stroll through the graveyard…if you’re brave enough.




Click Here & Read “Diary of Sarah Richards”



Click Here & Read “Jack’s Trick”



Click Here & Read “Burning Fears”


Click Here & Read “The Girl on the Stairs”


Click Here & Read “The Elf”



Click Here & Read “Memories You Never Forget”



You’re still alive! You stepped on the zombie fingers poking through the grass, but don’t worry, they’ll rise from grave…next year, of course. Explore the graveyard: click some links. Read some stories. Don’t get eaten. Ignore the howls. Please.


Thanks to all the slashers and monsters!

Contest winners will be officially announced on November 2, 2017.

(Bring your stake…just in case)



Grime Street Halloween Special: Pumpkin Guts


Sharpen your knife and get ready to carve into a Grime Street Halloween special! Look over your shoulder while exploring this episode—a coldblooded slasher stalks the greasy alleyways. Wade Hackette investigates gooey murders and discovers a pumpkin filled with guts. A sick joke? Revenge? Insanity?  The scariest questions are the ones that can never be answered.


Silver specters of smoke embrace each other—delicate tendrils rise above a burning ember. A golden elixir shimmers inside a glass while ice cubes bleed.

“Don’t worry about it, okay? He’s a walking dead man, and I’ll tell ya a little secret. Come here. Closer. Dead men don’t live very long.”

A well-dressed man leans back in his seat. “Ha, yeah, are you sure about that, Stitch? Some say he’s a ghost…perhaps he’s already dead.”

Stitch gulps the golden elixir. “That’s exactly what I just said! Have you been paying attention, Scabby? He may be alive now, but he’s as good as dead.”

Scabby eye’s rotate in their sockets. “…So…he’s not a ghost?”

“Yes. I mean…no. I don’t know. Let’s stop talking about this, okay? I’m getting a damn headache.” Stitch says. Scabby nods, and then sips a purple potion. “So…are you dressing up for Halloween?”

The question crashed into his face like a runaway train. “What? Huh? I’ll take my suit off, but I sure as hell won’t be asking for candy. Well…not the kind of candy you stuff inside a pillowcase.” Stitch says.

“Candy?” Scabby says.

A sugary voice charms his eardrums. Stitch points toward the stage. “Look, do you see that? Yup. Candy.”

Scabby nods. “Oh, right, Michelle Moon, she’s hotter than those Atomic suckers. Have you ever had one of those? I don’t know how people are supposed to eat ’em. Doesn’t make sense.”

Stitch finishes the golden elixir, then slams the glass down. “I wouldn’t mind unwrapping her wrapper. Anyway…J.B. Hammer will be here soon. He said he’ll be in room 118. We need to make this quick and quiet. Not like last time, okay?”

“There won’t be any problems. We’ll be outta here faster than a wet mongoose.” Scabby says.

Stitch punches the elevator button. “Take the stairs, just in case he tries to run.”

Scabby pushes open a wide door with his foot, then ascends a rusty staircase as an airy fist jabs his black eye. He stands near the landing and looks through a window. Stitch opens room 118, and then steps inside.

“Stitch? Is that you?”

He turns around. “Oh…J.B. Hammer…I didn’t see you standin’ there…ummm…how you been lately?”

J.B. Hammer squints at Stitch. “Is everything okay?”

Scabby’s hand reaches for a pistol which is hiding behind his back. “Oh, right, yeah, okay, yup, everything is grand. Nothing to worry about. Yup. I’m just…you know…”

He grabs the pistol, but his crocodile leather belt won’t let go of the barrel.

“Right! You must be here to listen to Michelle Moon sing. She’s a real firestarter, let me tell ya, I know fellas who would cut their own heart out, just to have the pleasure of saying they took her out to dinner. I believe ’em. I sure do. Are you dressing up for Halloween this year?”

Scabby pulls on the pistol. “Me?”

“Yeah.” J.B Hammer says.

“Well, probably, what about you?”

J.B. Hammer crosses his arms. “I’m going to toss a bed sheet over my head and pretend to be a ghost.”

“Is that so?” Scabby says.

“Very so.” J.B. Hammer says.

He looks at his watch. “The show is going to start soon, and I’m too sober. If you don’t mind, how ’bout we continue this conversation some other time.”

J.B. Hammer walks down the stairs, and then vanishes beyond the door. Scabby wiggles the pistol from the crocodile belt’s maw. “Fuck! He’s gonna kill me. Okay. No big deal. Calm down. Breathe slowly. Right…just tell Stitch he ran away and there was nothing you could do. J.B. Hammer is good at running. He’ll believe that story.”

Scabby stands in front of room 118, then places an ear on the door.


He opens the door—a flickering orange light slices open the belly of darkness. The dead silence awakens the fear inside his heart.



“Stitch? Are you here?” Scabby says while flipping a nearby switch. The darkness banishes as Scabby is stunned by dizziness. A trail of unidentifiable muck and gunk leads to the bathroom. Stitch covers his mouth. The pistol’s metal spine quivers. A pumpkin stares at him…those flickering orange eyes pierce through Scabby’s soul. Gooey seeds smother the bed sheets. Stringy filaments stick to the walls like a grotesque web. The red stuff underneath the smiling pumpkin twists Scabby’s gut as if it were a tornado.



He lifts the top of the carved gourd. “No…no…no…this can’t be happening…”

The wooden floorboards whisper.

“Huh? Who’s there?”

Stitch aim’s the pistol toward the bathroom. “I’ll blast ya straight to hell! Don’t come near me! I’ll do it! I really will!”

A pale hand flips the switch—cold darkness envelopes Scabby.



Wade turns on the radio.

“…And remember, kids, when the ghouls come out to play, make sure you’re tucked underneath your blanket…tune in next week and listen to the conclusion of Dr. Night’s Dark Realm…”

The silhouette behind the glass stares at Wade. He feels her eyes but doesn’t bother to look up. Wade drags a filthy rag across Sinorita’s long barrel as the door opens.

“I love a man who knows how to clean a gun.” Sammy says.

Wade wraps a huge fist around Sinorita’s maple grip, while shifting the barrel in Sammy’s direction. She throws her hands in the air. “You wouldn’t shoot an unarmed woman, now would you?”

The radio crackles. “…Two bodies were discovered inside Hellmouth Lounge…the identity of the two individuals is not currently known, due to the severe and unusual trauma they sustained…”

Sammy drags a match across Wade’s desk—a flame burst into existence as the pungent aroma of sulfur insults their senses. She dips a cigarette inside the flame’s belly. A soft breath kills the fire. Sammy sits on the desk. “So…Wade…are you dressing up for Halloween?”

Wade pinches the radio’s volume knob.

“…Investigators found a carved pumpkin on a bed…the gruesome scene turned horrific when they learned that a brain was stuffed inside the hollow gourd…”

Sammy exhales three smoky rings. “You haven’t heard about the Grime Street Slasher? There are plenty of lovely stories about people being cut into little pieces, but the Grime Street Slasher always leaves a calling card. Always. I suppose she’s in the mood to go trick or treating this year.”

“She?” Wade says.

“Of course! What? Do you think a man would be that maliciously meticulous? Come on, Wade, someone stuffed a damn pumpkin with a brain, yeah, the Grime Street Slasher is surely a woman! A tough guy would have just put a few metal slugs in the brain, and then have a few drinks. Do you know how long it takes to extract a brain? Do you know how long it takes to carve a pumpkin? A long fucking time, that’s how long.”

Wade puts on his coat and hat. “I hate pumpkins.”

The gray clouds slobber greasy raindrops all over the dark city. A black cat prowls the sidewalk—two full Moon eyes glow and glisten as the shadows smother the wet streets. Thunder rolls while an iridescent spider web entangles the sky. Purple light pulses inside the cloud’s belly. Wade stomps inside a shallow puddle. The black cat hisses at a soaked rat.

“Do you know when Edge’s shipment will arrive? We been standing out here for an hour. I don’t have time for this bullshit. He doesn’t pay me enough. Look at me, Slim Tim, soaked like a rat.”

Slim Tim puffs on a cigar. “They’ll be here any moment, Gloom, any moment. We can’t leave now.”

Gloom spits in a polluted puddle. “I’m gonna get out of this rusted dump. I swear. Rain everyday. Rust on my shoes. Do you know how much I paid for these shoes? It’s crocodile skin.”

Slim Tim’s eyebrows arch. “Shouldn’t crocodile shoes like the water?”

“Very funny, really, you don’t know style.” Gloom says.

A dark shadow eclipses Gloom. Slim Tim stares at a solid wall of black. Something is there. Numbness wraps its hands around his spine. Nothing to feel. Nothing to see. Nowhere to run. Rain falls upon a puddle.



A silver barrel emerges out of the darkness. Slim Tim’s eyes bulge as he stares at the largest gun he has seen in his entire life.

“What’s wrong, Slim Tim? Looks like you seen a ghost.” Gloom says.

As he turns around, Slim Tim runs across the street. “Hey! Where you going! Wow, what an asshole, he won a bullet, I’ll give him the prize next time I see him.” Gloom says. He leans against a brick wall and lets the rain fall on his red feathered fedora. “Well? What are you waiting for, Wade? Last time we met, you pushed me out a damn window. If the dumpster hadn’t broken my fall, I would have splattered all over the concrete.”

Wade steps out of the darkness. “I knew the dumpster was there.”

Gloom laughs. “Ha, yeah, what? Really? You’re a true bastard! So…are we gonna talk all night, or are you gonna pull that trigger?”

Thunder grumbles.

“I’m looking for Billy Buzzard.” Wade says.

Gloom nods. “Really? You must have a death sentence. Billy Buzzard is a certified maniac, and nobody likes him. He earned the privilege to be called one of the slimiest slugs alive. I tell you what…put that hand cannon away and I’ll take you straight to him. What do you say?”

Wade jams the barrel into Gloom’s scared kidney. “Drive.”



The backseat of the silver coup is as wide as Wade’s shoulders. Gloom rolls down the window—globs of rain bounce off Wade’s hat. Gloom’s eyes squint at the barrel protruding between the seats.

“Will you put that damn thing away, Wade? You’re making me nervous, and I don’t like being nervous when I’m behind the wheel. You know how these people drive. No respect for the rules.” Gloom says.

He flicks on the radio.

“…hypnotized by those city lights…purple, blue, and green…I can’t be innocent…beautiful and mean…drop ’em dead when they learn my favorite color is blood-red… ”

Gloom points at the radio. “Michelle Moon has a lovely voice. I listened to her sing when I did a job at the Hellmouth Lounge. They say she really knows how to slay an audience, and let me tell ya, she could slay me all night long.”

The silver coup cruises down South Grime Street, and then stops near the end of a congested block. Slick brick buildings stab upward into the cloudy turmoil—unnatural beehives that glow within the segmented windows.

“You see that black window way up there? Billy Buzzard lives there. Don’t worry. He’s home. He’s always home. Room 708.” Gloom says.

Wade’s finger slides against the trigger. “Let’s go.”

“What? Me? Wait…you’re serious? Listen, Wade, you been bullying me all damn night, and you know what? Enough is enough.”

Wade jams the barrel into his ribs.

“Okay, fine, I’m going.” Gloom says.

Wade follows behind Gloom as they march toward Serenity Heights. Gloom swing open the wide double door, and then stands in front of a cigarette machine.

“Hold on a second.”

He reaches in his pocket and grabs a handful of coins, then drops them into a brass slot. Gloom pulls a metallic handle—a pack of smokes falls toward a spacious opening. He takes the pack and bounces it upon his palm. “Let me guess…you don’t have a match.”

Rain drips from Wade’s hat like a leaky cloud. “No.”

“What a shocker.” Glooms says while walking toward the front desk. He pushes a newspaper to the side, as well as a bag of Mr. Atomic Suckers. “You better not eat that stuff…it will rot your teeth.” Gloom says as he chews an unlit cigarette. A book of matches sits in the middle of a crystal ashtray. “Looks like it’s my lucky day.”

Gloom awakens a match while walking toward the elevator, and then punches the call button. “Forgive me if I don’t take the stairs.”

The elevator door opens.



“Ladies first.” Gloom says. Wade steps inside the elevator as Gloom lags behind. The door closes.

“I have a feeling Billy Buzzard won’t take kindly to our intrusion, especially if he’s carving people up. What a demented sicko. He’s good with knives, too. I bet it’s him. He always needs to have the last laugh. Not many people know this—Billy is a sculptor. Can you believe that shit? He’s real good, too. So…are you dressing up for Halloween?” Gloom says.

The elevator door opens.

“Dead men first.” Wade says.

Gloom steps into the hallway. Two glittery ladies bounce words to each other as Wade and Gloom thud down the hallway.

“This is it. Right here. Shhh…do you hear that? He’s listening to jazz. I don’t know about this,Wade…we should come back tomorrow.”

Wade knocks on the door…

…with his foot.



Sinorita sways to the left, then to the right, up and down—specks of light sparkle along her metal hip. A spicy aroma sets Wade’s nose on fire. He steps into a small kitchen and allows Sinorita to kiss the back of Billy Buzzard’s head. He stirs a pot of boiling bubbles. “Hello, I didn’t see you come in.” Billy says.

Gloom stands near the refrigerator and looks at a dirty cleaver inside the sink. Dried red stuff won’t let go of the edge, while chunks of gunk cling to the black hole in the center of the sink. Billy taps a wooden spoon on the hot pot. “I can’t let this overcook. You understand.”

Billy’s eyes creep over his shoulder. “Look at what the cat dragged in! I thought you were dead, Gloom.”

“Me, too” Gloom says.

Billy turns around as Sinorita kisses the center of his forehead. He wipes his hands with a towel. “I wasn’t expecting to have guests this evening. I’m sure you two swell lads have a perfectly acceptable reason why you’re here.”

Gloom watches the sunshine in his face turn into a thunderstorm. Dead-locked eyes. Emotionless. Cold.

“I don’t know anything about that, but I do know if you make a move, Wade will blast you straight to Pluto, ain’t that right, Wade?” Gloom says. He picks up the dirty cleaver. “So…where have you been the past few nights? People are dead and your cleaver looks guilty. What do you have to say about that, huh?”

“I’d say that only uneducated low lives make those kind of assumptions.” Billy says, and then he stares at Wade. “This is who you work with? I’m disappointed in you.”

Gloom tosses the cleaver into the sink. “You and both know you’re a maladjusted little prick. You’re lucky, Billy, I swear…if I was holding that hand cannon…”

He stirs the pot with a wooden spoon, then tastes the stew. “Your bad attitude doesn’t impress me. Are you two lads hungry?” Billy says.

Two fiery eyes incinerate Gloom’s back. “Huh? Who’s there?”

Beyond the kitchen’s light, pale legs stroll from the realm of darkness. Gloom squints. “Michelle Moon?”

“Big sweetie-pie, you’re holding my date hostage.” She says.

Billy stirs the pot. “These gentleman think I’m stuffing brains inside pumpkins, but what they don’t know, is that don’t acknowledge mandatory days of celebration. I stopped blowing out candles 25 years ago. I stopped opening presents 30 years ago. And I stopped carving pumpkins 15 years ago. Unsophisticated activities, including gaudy murder, don’t impress me.”

Michelle Moon’s eyes glow as if they’re two red laser beams.

“Come on, Wade, let’s leave these two lovebirds alone. If she turns up missin’, we’ll do you a favor and crack your skull. You’re a smart guy. Little. But smart.” Gloom says while pointing a finger at his temple. They drift out of the apartment, and then Billy locks the door. “Please don’t let those inept thugs dampen your night. They’re playing detective, that’s all. Do they really think someone like me would risk getting guts on their shirt?”

Michelle Moon’s fingers tap against the counter as they crawl like spider legs toward the dirty cleaver.

“Please forgive me—I’ll open a bottle of 1879 De La Emeraldo…a rare vintage of red wine. Do you like wine?” Billy says.

“I’ll drink anything you have to offer. Anything.” Michelle says.

Billy’s collar grows hot. “Oh, okay, that’s…ummm…okay. I’ll get the pink crystal glasses. Hold on. Please. Thank you.”

He opens a large cabinet while balancing on his toes. “Let’s see…oh! Here’s the bottle…so…are you dressing up this year?”

Michelle’s reflection looms within the cabinet’s transparent skin. Billy watches her stalk—Michelle raises the dirty cleaver above her head. “I didn’t think you had it in you.”

“That’s what they all say.” Michelle says.

The dirty cleaver bites into Billy’s wrist—the pink crystal wine glass shatters upon the floor. Red droplets splatter upon the sparkling shards. He tries to move his hand but it won’t work. An excited artery pulsates blood on Michelle’s face, while the dirty cleaver nips Billy’s good hand. The bottle of 1879 De la Emeraldo slips through his numb fingers.



Wine flows from the open bottle as a crimson river flows from the open gash along Billy’s palm. Michelle’s menacing eyes inflate as the dirty cleaver drags its sharp tongue along Billy’s chest. The silk shirt splits apart, revealing a canyon sliced into the landscape of his tissue. Michelle pushes Billy into a chair, picks up the bottle of De la Emeraldo, then pours the spirit into her mouth. She drags a hand across his lips as a frozen grin refuses to thaw.

Michelle drops her purse on the table, and then reveals a cold gourd sitting within her palms. “Every pumpkin needs a good carving, right Billy?”

She slides the pumpkin across the table—a cold gourd stares into Billy’s faded eyes. Michelle Moon caresses the radio’s knob. “You like music?”

“I…ahhh…he…lp…I…” Billy says.

Michelle laughs. “It hurts too much to speak. I know, darling, you’re suffering is cute, but I expected more from you. But…there’s still time.” She winks while gliding a finger along the dirty cleaver’s edge. “Ouch! You keep this thing really sharp, Billy.”

There was a quick blur.

Billy chokes on the life he has left. The fleshy threads that hold his throat together no longer do.

Michelle sucks on her finger. “Look, you made me bleed.”

There was another quick blur.

Michelle pulls on the dirty cleaver, but it refuses to let go of Billy’s brain.



“See? What did I tell ya? Billy is a little creep. You should keep an eye on him, however, you and I both know he ain’t the one carving pumpkins.”

A flickering orange light glows on top a trashcan. Gloom parks the car across from Jade Dragon. Wade stomps down North Grime Street. The cold gourd sits upon the trashcan lid while Gloom stands in a puddle. He looks inside a glowing hollow eye. “I don’t think we should peek inside that thing.”

Wade pops the gourd’s top.

“Gross! What the…okay…we’re dealing with a truly sick grub. Is that what I think it is? No…it can’t be…right? Please tell me I’m wrong, Wade, please, or I’m gonna be sick…!



“I feel better now. Much better.” Gloom says. He points toward Jade Dragon. “Mr. Polterstein is really good with a bone saw, or so they say. I’m sure you heard the rumors about Mr. Polterstein experimenting on executed criminals. He was banned from medical school. Hmmm…I wonder why…” Gloom says as he stares at the cold gourd.

An aerial specter howls while globs of black rain descend from abysmal clouds. A crushed cigarette rolls down the soaked sidewalk. Wade pinches the cigarette and studies the familiar lipstick stain, then places it inside his pocket.

“His colleagues say Mr. Polterstein knows the secret of life. The restaurant is just a front, of course. The food is bad for you. Don’t eat it. Trust me. I bet he had to crack a few eggs to learn something like that, and by ‘eggs’, I mean people.”

Gloom yawns. “Well, Wade, it’s been fun, really, but if you want continue this investigation, you’ll have to go alone. Shoot me in the back. I’m not dealing with walking dead men.”

He waves while drifting away through a sea of grey fog.

Wade enters Jade Dragon—invisible exotic spices set his nasal cavity on fire. Someone sits on a stool near a counter. “Do you have an order?” He asks while flipping a page within a small book.

“I’m not here for the chop suey.” Wade says.

The strange man behind the counter closes the book and places it on the counter. “Of course not.” He says as the smirk lingers.”You have…darker tastes.”

Wade lets the silence do the talking.

“I know exactly what you mean.” The strange man says. “Follow me”.

He opens a door and vanishs beyond a black dimension. Light refuses to glow near the shadowy threshold. A frigid gust pushes against Wade’s shoulders, while a newspaper crackles and laughs as it spreads apart like a pair of bat wing soaring through the night. One more step and Wade crosses the point of no return.

A purple bolt of electricity arcs and hisses across the dusky cellar. “That was a close one, Igoritz, you almost killed us. Again.” A tall man says while taking off a pair of gloves. He raises his dirty welding goggles, then stares at Wade. “This is him?”

“Yes, he’s not interested in the chop suey, Mr. Polterstein.” Igoritz says.”

Mr. Polterstein’s mouth hangs open. “Right, well, neither am I.”

He orbits Wade while rubbing his chin. “You’re quite the specimen, and that, of course, is the biggest gun I have ever seen. But…as you can see…nothing is going on here.”

Igoritz pulls a cover over a presumably dead body—a hand dangles over the edge of the table. Mr. Polterstein shrugs his shoulders. “I stopped practicing medicine years ago. I’m just a hobbyist, that’s all. No big deal. An experiment here…and experiment there…you know how it is…” He says.

The dead bodies green fingers twitch. Igoritz screams but catches it with his hands. He sits on the dead thing’s stomach, then crosses his leg. Igoritz tosses a grin at Wade.

“He thinks you’re carving pumpkins.” Igoritz says.

Mr. Polterstein points at himself. “Who? What? Me?”

Wade looks at a scalpel.

“…That doesn’t prove anything. Everyone has a scalpel. Right?” Mr. Polterstein says.

Igoritz nods.

Wade glares at a bone saw.

“…A common household tool…”

Wade winces at a tray of needles.

“…You can never be too careful…”

Wade stares at a rack of glass vials.

“…Just a decoration…”

A ghoulish bellow rumbles from the dead body. Igoritz coughs and bangs on his chest. “The flue is bad this year.” Mr. Polterstein takes one of the hypodermic needles, then flicks the cylindrical glass. A thick gel awakens from hiberation. “Pardon me.”

He stabs the needle into the dead thing’s temple, tosses a grin at Wade, then plunges the glowing gel into its head.

“…Just…like…that…and…presto! See? Is it science? Magic? Who knows. I sure don’t.” Mr. Polterstein says. He extracts the needle and places it on a cloth near the rack of vials. “Hey, listen, all my test subjects are legit. I don’t need to kill people—I scrape the scum off the boot heel of humanity. Criminals are executed everyday, and believe me, all of them end up in a shallow grave…a very shallow grave. Ain’t that right, Igoritz?”

Igoritz nods. “Yup, that’s correct.”

“Exactly, so that means I don’t have any motive to slice and dice live specimens. Not my thing. Carving pumpkins is a waste of time. What can you possibly learn from carving a pumpkin? They don’t even have a brain.”

“Some of them do, ha, right? Some of them do!” Igoritz says.

“Shut up. Go eat your medication.” Mr. Polterstein says, and then grabs a bone saw. “If I see something unusual, I’ll give you a call. I promise.”

Wade ascends the stairwell.

“Wait! Hold on. Now, if something, you know, bad happens, would you like to donate your body to science?”



Wade sits in the car while the radio says, “…say you love me a bunch…nothing but sweet hollow words…just another girl’s heart crunched…darling hold me one last time…Oh, yes, I never mind doin’ the crime…tune in tonight at 7:00pm and listen to Michelle Moon’s latest song…”

He examines the lipstick smudged on the cigarette. Wade smells the waxy substance stained on the filter. A black cat chases a rat down a wet sidewalk, while a neon sign blinks, ‘Sammy’s Corner’.

Wade grips two rusted bars, and then lifts himself on top a wobbly fire escape. He peers inside a window—Sammy puffs on a cigarette as she smashes her fingers upon a typewriter. Photographs are scattered across a wooden desk. A butcher knife sticks out of a carved pumpkin’s head.

Sinorita shivers.

He opens the window and slides a leg inside the room. Fat raindrops splatter all over Sammy’s photographs. “Hey! I just developed those! Why can’t you use the front door, Wade? Too small for you?”

Wade’s wide-brimmed hat rains on the carpet.



Sunny sparks a smoke. “Did you find the pumpkin carver?”

Wade reaches inside his pocket and places the crushed filter inside the crystal ashtray. “You forgot this.”

Sammy exhales a cloudy tornado. “What are you trying to say, Wade? Huh? That I did it? That I’m the scary pumpkin carver?”

Sinorita nods.

“You’re gonna point your big gun at me? Really? Anyone could have placed one of my filters at the scene. So what. Doesn’t prove anything.”

Wade slides the knife out of the pumpkin—a familiar red gunk stains the polished surface.

“I cut myself while making a Jack O’ lantern. I’m just clumsy. Journalists are not patient. Everyone knows that, oh, except you.” Sunny says.

She crushes a smoldering filter inside the crystal ashtray. “You never trusted me, but I suppose that your problem. You can’t trust anybody. You’re an evidence driven man. I like that.” Sammy says while sliding a hand up her leg. She feels that pearl-gripped Derringer strapped to her thigh.

“Doing the time for a crime I didn’t commit? That doesn’t sound like too much fun. I have a better idea…how ’bout we see who’s the fastest? What do you say? The winner gets to tell their version of the truth.”



A tiny bullet tumbles past Wade’s head and kills a light bulb. Darkness snuffs his senses. She’s gone.



Wade lets the water punch his back, but he knows he can never be clean—the grime sticks to him like chewed gum. He grabs a bottle of Citrus Dream and lathers a bubbly crown around his big head. Shampoo drops over the ledge of his forehead like a snowy avalanche, while a sharp silhouette stalks across the shower curtain. The shadow rises as if it were a fanged cobra. Wade focuses past the soapy blur and sees the dark shape ascend toward the ceiling. He closes his eyes, not because of the shampoo, but because that’s the only thing he can do.

The water’s rapid jabs tell Wade that he’s still alive.

He rips the shower curtain back and sees a pumpkin smiling on top the sink counter. There’s a note carved on the other side of the peeping gourd.


Dear Wade,

I’m your biggest fan.


Michelle Moon.








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Wade Hackette/Pumpkin Guts Illustration/Edited 


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