06 -July -2020 - 02:02


Pandora's Box

Pandora’s Box

James Ward Kirk

Loving the blush of fame glowing from her merry clitoris and hard nipples, without thought of the dark haired man laying sleeping in the tangled sheets on the bed, or her man at home with the gold wedding band, Pandora slipped into her silk pink thong.

Pandora loved her body, her blond hair, her face. She loved her name. She loved everything about herself.

Pandora decided the memory to keep from this encounter came on the way to the hotel, the way the raindrops slapped the windshield, sounding like an infant’s first breath.

No condom meant too much to drink but she didn’t feel drunk. Pandora drank champagne as politicians shake hands—fast and easy.

She didn’t feel drugged or confused. In fact, she firmly believed she just experienced the best fuck of her life. She just wished she remembered it, rather than feeling it.

Pandora did remember sitting in . . . now what was his name . . . Peter, yes that’s his name . . . Peter’s black Suburban and singing “Dear Mr. Fantasy” while waiting for the rain to let up a bit. She applied pink lip-gloss. She remembered running barefoot into the hotel, keeping her three-inch fuck me heels from danger.

Pandora slipped her pale yellow sequined dress over her braless body. She didn’t need a bra and bras just got in the way. Pandora loved it when a man went straight for her breasts. Sometimes she thought it possible she hid a clitoris in each nipple; she loved such suckling.

She headed for the hotel door, then made a detour toward the bathroom, an urgent need to urinate overwhelming her. She took the longest piss of her young life.

Back at the hotel door, Pandora stopped again, itching like crazy—down there. I hope the bastard didn’t give me crabs, but if he did I can explain that away to John with a story about using a public bathroom. A minor inconvenience, just a hill of beans is all

Pandora returned to the hotel bathroom, lifted her dress, peeled off her pink thongs, sat down on the toilet lid and examined her happy trail. She thought a big bush unappealing, especially if the guy enjoyed giving oral sex--nothing like picking hair off your tongue—she knew from experience. Brazilian was out of the question. She thought it rude.

Sure enough, tiny little black bugs moved up and down her happy trail like ants at an anthill, some even taking up shop in the vulva. The bugs didn’t look like crabs, more like slugs, but they were so small it was difficult to say unless she had access to a microscope. Pandora pulled her panties up. She considered disturbing the man on the bed and checking him for bugs, but deciding against it, to avoid a scene. She did take his cash from his wallet. Pandora only carried plastic, never cash.

Standing at the hotel door for the third time, she stopped to scratch. She stepped into the hallway and saw no one, so she scratched all the way to the elevator. By the time it reached the first floor, she’d drawn blood.

Pandora practically ran from the hotel to the nearest pharmacy. She didn’t want to ask the pharmacist where she might find the medicine she needed, but did so anyway, certain her panties had caught fire. The pharmacist, an old fat man with a huge nose, pointed toward the store’s restroom with his eyes. She ran towards it, slamming the door and locking it.

She ripped the medicine box open and threw it into the trashcan along with the instructions and her pink thong She didn’t want to see the crabs again, or the damage she’d done scratching—she had some explaining to do for John; maybe they’d do it in the dark, because she couldn’t let him see down there. Fortunately, her period was due and she could stretch 10 days out of it; with oral sex, she might even get fourteen days. Everything’s going to be fine.

Pandora sat down on the toilet, spread her legs wide, and emptied the tube of cream, again without looking, all over her pubic region, even moving past the vulva into the vagina, spreading the ointment all around.

Instantaneous relief. Pandora released one long sigh and a single tear. I didn’t deserve this. Taking a quick look down at her pubic region, she saw blisters the size of dimes.

Greg, Pandora’s brother, told her the first symptoms of genital herpes takes at least three days. For him, ten days passed before the first symptom.

Upon closer inspection, the blisters stretched from the top of her happy trail, continued downward, spreading to inside both thighs and it looked like one crab floated inside each blister. At least the pain is gone.

Pandora stood outside the hotel room, hesitated for a moment and then knocked. The door opened almost immediately.

“Welcome back, lover,” Peter said, still naked and still as beautiful as the first time she saw him. “Come in.”

Pandora walked in, hearing the door lock behind her. She quickly turned. “What did you give me?”

“Take you dress off,” he said. “I’ll explain.”

Pandora complied. Why not? He’s seen me.

She looked down. The blisters were now the size of half-dollar coins. The crab within each blister grew in proportion with the blister.

Peter said, “I’ve given you the gift of life.” He walked over and caressed a blister. “Grow strong, my son, we have a planet to colonize.”

Peter split his exoskeleton, exposing his true habitus corpus.

Tomorrow's Promise

(this story is actually over twenty years old and was written for a writing contest at the polytechnical I attended. It did very well in that contest.)

Mike Jansen

Short and careful my steps through the rubble of Indianapolis, past waste of a million people. I don’t have to search for long, the smell of decay leads me to a dark cellar entrance, a steep slope down and dark shallow water at the bottom. Far away down there, the bars are shiny new between the dilapidated structures of the once proud high-rises. A rusted sign proclaims a heap of rubble ‘ChaseTower.’
  A sharp pain stabs into my left leg, much fiercer than the previous one, deeper, more intense, a red fire that forces me to the ground. I grunt softly and I watch a single tear drop from my left eye, splashing a small fountain in slow motion.
My legs go over the edge and I slide down. My one boot trips over an opaque plastic bottle, but my right arm grips and I halt my descent. The bottom of the cellar is covered in needles and glass shards. The edge of the pool is a murky dark brown. As I get up I see that my right arm caught a hand, sticking out of the rubble, greenish, nails grown long, claw like. I let go with a shiver and step away until my back touches the bars. The hand is not moving, the arm is buried under lumps of stone and concrete.
  All anew a deep stab in my lower back, I gasp for breath, push my hand into my back, push, knead, pinch; I know there is only one solution. I turn around and stare into the darkness beyond the glistening bars. I notice the soft breeze that carries the sweet stench of decay.
  Heat spreads from my lower back, climbs up my spine. I want to scream but my lungs are empty. My left hand grabs the bars to keep myself upright. With my other hand I pull my dagger. I smash steel on steel and the sound grates on my nerves. A deep tearing carves shards from my brain.
  The world seems to wait, seconds stretch to minutes, my nerves fire randomly, painfully, my sight grows dim and I see glistening towers rise up above me, rise into eternity and a deep fear overcomes my thoughts.
Too late, flashes through my mind, to die in Indianapolis, the horror! My chest heaves and I feel the final darkness stealing over me.
  Wait, something moves. Delusion or reality? I reach up, miles and miles, hours away while my body burns...
Frayed linen, blackish brown, scent of rotting meat, heavy and sweet, stiflingly close, a hand like a mummy’s. And an ampoule. I grab the glass, smooth, the needle in my wrist unbearable pleasure.
  Crystal pain, ice in my veins, fine branching sweetness, I feel divine. Time passes.
  My payment is a watery jewel set in fiery gold.
  Tomorrow I shall be late again. It makes it so much better...

The Spirit of Pike Mountain

This is an old favorite of mine.  I hope you enjoy it.



The Spirit of Pike Mountain

James Ward Kirk


Cletus Givens, an ox of a man, and hairy like a bear, credited his mighty physique to the cutting down of trees to build his home, barn, chicken coop, wood for his fireplace, and to his father and his father’s father. Dark of mind, he prayed to chickens.

And he prayed to chickens through Her, the wraithlike woman at the top of Pike Mountain. Perhaps soon she might journey down the mountain for him. Cletus prayed mightily.

Sometimes on overly warm nights Cletus slept in the chicken coop with his chickens. The stench, and his familiarity to the smell of chickens and chicken shit, did not bother him enough to interfere with the gentle cooing of his friends helping him sleep. Cletus rarely slept well, sometimes not for days, and when he slept he dreamed of foxes. He rarely wore clothing, finding it necessary only when in the company of humans.

Yesterday, while hunting for ginseng to trade for flour and other commodities in Harlan, Cletus came across a black walnut tree with a wide circular hole at the same level of his head. Understanding this as a sign, he put his ear to the hole, hoping to hear from Her—and much to his delight, he did!

In ten days slaughter 216 chickens. Be certain to wear their blood and feathers and entrails and nothing else. The God of chickens favors you. Come back tomorrow at noon.

As Cletus owned more than 1000 chickens, this did not seem overly demanding. He ate mostly chicken and fried eggs anyway, only occasionally supplementing his diet with bread or wild field garlic, mushrooms and quickweed. The weather was turning, so a lot of the dead chickens could be stored in the creek or taken into town for sell.

This night, sleeping with his chickens, he dreamed of her ethereal figure as she began her journey down Pike Mountain.




Cletus awoke, covered with chicken droppings, feathers stuck to the droppings, with a tiny erection. Normally he wouldn’t rush to the creek just to wash off, but he expected Her to pay him a visit this evening.

The sky, cloudy, dark shapes moving briskly with the strong wind, Cletus considered a friend. He loved counting chicken-shaped clouds.

 He enjoyed the cold water of the creek, and the bitter breeze drying him.

Checking his traps, he found a cat, a tabby, and jumped for joy. As much as he enjoyed chicken, an occasional cat made a special breakfast.

Taking control of the cat and walking over to the huge tree stump he used as a chopping block, a rush of excitement overcoming him, causing another erection. Using his hatchet, thick with yesterday’s blood and stench, he chopped the cat’s head off. In no time at all he butchered the cat, skewered it over a pit dug for roasting, and enjoyed his breakfast. He wiped cat grease onto his chest, arms and genitals to help protect against bug bites.

Looking up at the sky to check the sun’s position, he decided the time was correct to return to the tree.

This time, Cletus poked his entire head inside the hole in the black walnut.

As the time for my appearance approaches, you must prepare a special meal in tribute.

Cletus, removing his head from the tree, turned and headed south to his secret cave. Removing the brambles from the cave’s entrance, he walked in. The temperature was colder than even outside the cave. Moving in the darkness, he came across the male corpses hanging on metal hooks.

Lifting the meatiest corpse from a hook, Cyrus Sullivan, a wealthy landowner from Breathitt County, he retraced his steps back out of the cave.

He laid the corpse next to the chopping block, not bothering to look around for anyone that might be looking on because no one ever did.

Then he prepared to work on the chickens. First he started a fire in the large pit made for butchering chickens. He carried a metal pot and set it down into the fire, but only so far as the flames from the fire reached only halfway up the sides. He then filled the pot with water from the creek. Soon enough, the water boiled.

After around the twentieth chicken, their screams began to fill the air.

He paused after every ten chickens, pulling their bodies from the boiling water and removing their feathers. After removing the feathers, he gutted them, allowing their offal to pile high.

 After 108 chickens, he broke a sweat. After 54 more chickens, his back began to hurt. After 215 chickens, his hand slipped in the blood and he chopped off the pinkie finger of his left hand. He swallowed it whole.

Cyrus Sullivan took no time at all, since he lacked feathers.

Cletus’ remaining chickens stopped screaming, their music becoming a calming clucking.

The approaching twilight, the buzz of flies, a slight breeze rustling the tree leaves and a stirring in the bushes alerted Cletus to Her arrival




Big Mary, a dermestid beetle, known as a skin beetle to the locals and used in its regular form to clean the skulls of deer and other kills, presented her corpus to Cletus; twenty-five feet long and as thick as the prize hog at last month’s Harlan County Fair.

Cletus observed Her surveying the hill of butchered chickens, the four feet tower of chicken offal and then the blood dripping from his finger.

Cletus heard in his mind: I’m going to miss ‘ole Cletus, but that stump on his hand . . . makes me queasy . . . and its so Flannery O’Connor. And saw: his ghostly dream-woman aiming her left mandible and sending him a blow toward the spot between his eyes; and his final thoughts, halfway to bulls-eye, also Big Mary’s: I must get started on the chicken. There are bones to clean.


By: Chantal Noordeloos

Not often did a trial horrify Judge Marie St Jacques, but the case of Fleur Bellecourt caused her flesh to hurt. Plainly the woman had murdered her eldest daughter, Sara. The photograph of the victim portrayed a pretty seven year old girl with big grey eyes, black curls and bleached death. Bellecourt even admitted to the murder, but she pleaded with the court and told them she murdered her child to protect her three other children.

Marie looked over at the three fearful faces staring at their mother with the same grey eyes as the girl in the picture. She assumed the fearful faces were meant for their mother, who in Marie’s eyes was clearly insane. Marie sentenced the woman to be committed to a psychiatric hospital in Ontario.

The look in Fleur Bellecourt’s eyes touched her, frightened her. “Don’t take me away from my children,” the woman pleaded. “If you take me away from them, I can’t protect them from Sara.”

Marie looked at the woman with her pale skin, dishevelled black hair and large grey eyes, and she said: “I am protecting your children. I am protecting them from you, so that you can’t drown them in the bath like you did with your eldest.”

The finality in Marie’s words set the frail looking woman into a rage. She cleared the table at which she sat and, before the guards could even react, Marie climbed over the judge’s bench and clawed her fingernails into the temples and cheeks of Marie.

Bellecourt’s face shocked Marie. The woman looked like a wild witch and her gashing was drawing blood. “May she visit you next,” she spat and Marie flinched as drops of saliva struck her face. “La mort vous attend.” Death awaits you. Court deputies pried the small but strong woman from Marie, and that was the last time Marie saw Fleur Bellecourt.

Three weeks later Bellecourt and her children were dead. Doctors could not diagnose the cause of Bellecourt’s death, but the frozen expression on her face testified to terror. The children were found in their separate foster homes, torn to little pieces, the walls decorated with their blood like paint. Marie had seen the pictures and could not believe any human could do this to a child. The report said that something had ripped the jaw clean off the three year old girl. The skull of the nine year old boy was crushed; his brains spilling out of his ears. The thought of the report kept Marie up at night. In her mind’s eye she kept seeing the desperate face of Fleur Bellecourt.

After Fleur’s death, Marie became paranoid. As if someone was watching her. There were moments Marie thought she saw something move in the peripheral of her vision. Her husband told her she was just tired, an understandable result of her emotional involvement in the Bellecourt case. One night in early April when Marie went to bed after having spent a long time working on a new case she was judging, she noticed her husband was not in bed. Perhaps he was in the bathroom, she thought, as she crawled under the cool duvet. She turned on her nightlight and lay down. The mural upon the ceiling commanded a scream.

“La mort vous attend,” scripted in blood; a frame made of human parts. A body had exploded. In between the blood spatter she saw fingers, hands, feet, legs, intestines, arms . . . all in pieces. The worst was the top half of a head cut off half way through the nose, and was now attached to the ceiling as if gravity refused to let it fall. Crying and screaming Marie tried to get up, she called for her husband, but there was no


response. A hand fell off the ceiling. It fell right next to her on the bed with a soft thud, the only remaining finger, the ring finger... She couldn’t help but stare at it and realised the hand still bore a ring; her husband’s wedding ring. Marie screamed again. Something moved on the ceiling: a little girl in a pretty white dress crawling like a spider. She turned, her large grey eyes sparkling, and her smile . . . Marie screamed for the final time.




Chantal Noordeloos is a writer from the Netherlands who graduated from the Norwich School of Art and Design (UK) with a major in creative writing in 1999. Apart from work, motherhood and a busy social life that also includes -playing in and organising of- regular LARP events, she has been writing stories and honing her writing skills through workshops, seminars and a lot of writing. During 2012 she decided it was time to start her actual writing career and to have her work published. She now writes stories for various English language magazines and anthologies and works on her debut novel. Chantal lives in The Hague with her family.


Demons Aren't All Bad

By: Apple Ardent Scott


I was hungry and Murphy was dying. Memories of the ancient days when I hunted freely and without pity aroused a sweet melancholy, and I imagined squelching his flesh between my fingers and extruding his savory soul from his veins. A familiar, bitter hunger rose in my throat, the unfortunate scar left by a foolish priest. While his feeble beliefs and clumsy rhetoric failed to banish me to the abyss, a forgotten spark of faith in his soul cursed me to wander in the twilight, always hungry, yet powerless to take a soul without consent. I leaned against the corner of a building and watched an old man named Murphy as he wallowed in his own twilight.

His lips were dried and cracked like the trail of crusted spittle across his dented chin. In the light of a distant streetlamp, his thin gray hair glowed like a sulfurous halo around his head. He shuffled to a hunchback stance from a concrete stoop with one hand in his pants. He scratched and adjusted his junk, then withdrew his hand from his threadbare jeans and raised his fingers to his nose. With a clenched grin he sniffed long and hard, savoring the scent of his own dirt and piss. His nose lay like a flesh-covered boulder of pumice on his pockmarked, uneven face. He licked his fingers and his flat brown eyes rolled up in his head. His eyes might have been a bright chestnut once, but long ago their brightness sank below layers of bloodshot yellow pus from a passive-aggressive liver. His toothless smile revealed the dark, rotting flesh of his gums stretched thin over his jawbone. He cackled and flies swarmed toward his gaping maw, drawn by the stench of stale beer and decaying food coating his tongue and throat. With bleak hopefulness he thrust his hand back into the crotch of his jeans and leaned with his other hand braced against a filmy green dumpster. Facing a brick wall, he pulled out his short, pinky-thin penis and grunted. A trickle of urine dribbled from the tip, across his index finger and onto the ground. The old man flapped his dick up and down like a down-home grandma wrung a turkey’s neck on the day before Christmas. Drops of piss soaked into the ground, his shoes, and his shirt, reigniting crusted layers of dormant filth into the active, moist stink of a living death.

I inhaled the sweet aroma of desperation and sauntered into the alley. Murphy turned and tucked his little mole back into his pants. He glared at me, frowned, grunted.

“Fuck you, bitch.” The old man fell back against the cold brick wall and slid his ass to the pavement. “You ain't got what I want.”

“Murphy,” I laughed, “you don't know that. But you have something I want.” I flung my black hair forward with both hands, framing my smooth obsidian face. “Don't you?”

“I said fuck off.” Murphy turned his back to me and hunched over. The absentminded hand in his pants fondled his reluctant pecker.

“Let me help you with that, Murphy.” I opened my cloak and straddled his diseased face. “Look at me.”

The old man's hand went as slack as his dick. He shook his head and looked away. I leaned down and caressed his cheek with one slender, ebony finger.

“I can give you the release you want.” I let my breath singe his ear with each whispered word. I slid his hand up to my breast and let him feel my leathery skin. “Just ask.”

Understanding flared in his dim eyes. “You just want to kill me.” Murphy sobbed and his shoulders heaved, even as his scarred hand squeezed my breast with lustful resignation.

I knelt in front of the pathetic man. “Yes, Murphy, I do. But you have to want me.” My fingers reached into his hair and caressed his grainy scalp. “That's my curse. But then, it's your blessing.” I lifted his chin and looked into his old, pain-scarred soul. My lips brushed his forehead and he whimpered. “We both have needs, and we both have sorrows. Your release is final, but it only brings me more hunger. You get to choose. I have to beg.”

Murphy pulled his hand away and wiped a poisonous yellow glob from his eye to the bridge of his nose. “Will it hurt?”

I licked my lips and stood up. “It will be the most exquisite pain you have ever had.”

Murphy focused his weary eyes on mine. “Demon.”

“Tell me.” I leaned my head closer to his rank lips.

Murphy cried, dropped his head against mine, and whispered his last words in my ear. “Make it go away.”

“Thank you, Murphy.” I knelt on the asphalt and leaned his head back against the bricks. Softly, I licked away each bitter tear, put one hand on his chest and one on his crotch, and opened my mouth, baring my sharp teeth and scaled tongue. I longed to savor the lusciousness of his life, the heartaches and sorrows, the self-pity and despair, but hunger hurried my mouth to his. I latched on to his face and suckled like the runt of a litter granted a shriveled, dusty tit. Murphy held me like a lover in the throes of his last passion. His grunts and squeals muffled in my mouth, and his body shuddered in my embrace. Too soon his spirit slowed to a trickle and I withdrew, leaving him a last few drops of life to enjoy by himself.

“I take good care of those who take care of me. Goodbye, Murphy.” I squeezed his crotch, kissed his forehead and walked away. From the street I heard his moans of euphoria as his final bliss oozed into his hand and onto his jeans. His last cry faded and I heard his body slump over in death.

As I walked on, scouring the streets for more souls to sate my hunger, Murphy's soul lingered sweet on my tongue, and I savored every single one of his wasted years. We made a deal, and I gave him a bonus. Demons aren't all bad.



Apple Ardent Scott is a...

appleShuddermonger: (n): A person who is involved with something in a petty or contemptible way (usually used in combination): a shuddermonger. One who can cause another to tremble with a sudden convulsive movement, as from horror, fear, or cold.

She deals in things that make you shudder.

Her stories have been published on the web and in print to the delight (and sleepless nights) of her wonderful readers. She's currently trapped in Lafayette, Indiana with her family, including her grandmother's ashes in the garage, her father's ashes next to the television, and her favorite dog buried in the backyard.

Apple Ardent Scott is afraid of everything.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sapplescoot


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