The Musings of a Hideous Mind is also avaialble for a free preview on Bookbzzr.com

Monday, 28 February 2011

THIS SITE HAS MOVED

I have decided to go it alone and have created a new website where I will be discussing life, writing and posting more of my amazing fiction. Please join me at www.alexlaybourne.com

Thanks for following me I truly, and deeply appreciate it and I hope to see you over at the new site.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Bloodsport

The two dogs snarled and leapt at each other with a ferocity that none of the spectators in the barn that night had ever seen. The animals were large and nobody really knew what breed they were. Buy someone had put them in the ring and they were going at it tooth and nail, so people laid their stakes and began to cheer on their mount.

Shouts of "Sick 'em" and "Have at him" circled around the barn and were the only real words that could be picked out from the screams and cheers.

The dog fights had been a monthly fixture in the abandoned farm house for some time now. Nobody knew much about it, and nobody cared to, the more secretive the better and they knew it.

It was always the same sort of dog, two large beasts; they looked like German Shepherds only bigger, much bigger. They were strong too, if one was thrown into the guardrails the provided the walls to the canine octagon they would shake as if hit by a train.

The dogs were always in place when the guests arrived, often all having gathered outside the locked barn doors before hand, so as that they could all enter together and avoid any name calling or potentially volatile accusations being thrown.

The fight tonight though was a real hum-dinger. The dogs were really giving it to each other. One was missing an ear and the skin over the left part of its skull and been pulled back and flapped around like a bad toupee. The other was bleeding from a deep wound in its flank and its left hind leg was clearly broken. It dragged limply on the floor like a poorly placed second tail. They snarled and roared and just kept coming. It had even been more than some of the regulars could bear to take. Three had already stepped outside... not venturing too far for they still had to collect their winnings should they have backed the right beast.

Eventually, or perhaps thankfully, one dog took control, closing its jaws around the throat of its opponent and with a series of violent shakes snapped the beast’s neck. It fell lifeless to the floor, while the other beast stood, breathing heavily, and its half scalped skull pumping blood into its eyes. It stood and almost looked at each of the spectators in turn before simply lying down, exhausted.

The victors strode forward and collected their winnings, the losers trundled home their heads bowed yet already eager for the next round, whenever it would be.

Nobody bothered with the dogs, it would be taken care of, and they all knew it.

The next morning, just as the sun was cresting on the horizon the doors to the barn opened, and two men strode out. The barn behind them was empty, everything tidied away.

"You really went for it last night brother." One man said as they stood squinting, allowing their eyes - always sensitive after the change- to adjust.

"You too. It must have been a clear night, the moon was strong." The largest and eldest of the brother spoke.

"How much did we make?" The other asked.

"About fifteen grand at first look. Shame it's only once a month." He mused.

"Yeah. Listen man, this is fun, but next month I want to win." The youngest asked hopefully

"Okay." His brother replied, slapping him on the back and setting off towards their car which was parked behind the barn.

Marked

"What did you do?" Elias roared, grabbing his young cousin and fellow vampire Ryan by the throat and throwing him back into the wall of the small alley they stood in. His face was one of rage, his eyes blackened his teeth bared and humanity gone, pulled away by the demon.

"Nothing, honest. I just fed on him a bit then turned him. You said I could." Ryan choked as the hand squeezing his neck tightened its grip even further. Even though he was dead having his ability to breath taken away from him still had the same effect.

"I also said we were to lay low, we were going to set up a life here. Don't you remember what happened back in Amsterdam?" He roared and slammed his fist into and through the brick eliciting a scream from the occupants of the living room on the other side.

"It's nothing, don't worry about it, just carry on watching X-Factor" Elias said, hypnotizing the two mortals who stared back at him. They turned and sat back down without saying a word.

"I remember." Ryan smiled in spite of his situation. "All that blood." His words were cut off as the fist closed as much as possible without breaking the skin.

"Enough. We were close then, they almost had us both, so don't fool yourself in thinking that bloodbath was the good kind. We weren't the ones in control cousin. You would be well served to remember that." Elias sneered, leaning in close until their noses were touching.

He released his grip on Ryan’s neck and turned to look down at the man who was writhing in agony on the floor. "What is his problem anyway?" Elias mused. Ryan wasn't sure if it was a question or not and paused before answering.

"No idea, I turned him then he started screaming so I dragged him in here and called you." Ryan continued to explain his actions.

At their feet, Jacob Cummings, a local biker who had picked a fight with the pair when their paths crossed a few weeks before as they headed into town lay convulsing and screaming. Luckily they were in the bad part of town, a part which only really came to life at night, and was no stranger to the screams of death at any time.

"Help me." He screamed. Blood spewed from his mouth as he spoke, making it look like a messy eater.

"Fascinating," Elias squatted down onto the balls of his feet, getting a closer look.

"Help ....GOD...it hurts." The biker screamed, tears running from his eyes. His macho image well and truly shattered should he live through it or complete the turn and emerge as the faithful servant of Ryan -for the first hundred at least, unless Ryan was killed before then.

His body was hissing, like bacon cooking on a grill, his shirt began to smoke and his screams increased.

"What is it Elias, what do you reckon it is?" Ryan asked, I fed from him, do you think its catching?' He was concerned and made no attempt to hide it.

"No Rye, it’s not catching. Like I said it’s fascinating. Look." Elias reach out and pulled the leather jacket from the bikers back, ripping the seams as he tugged in one swift motion. The sleeves remained covering the man’s arms... not that he seemed to notice.

His shirt beneath had split open revealing his skin, it was bubbling as if the fat itself was boiling; blood blisters grew and burst spackling the surroundings.

"Hmm. That really is interesting." Ryan said, crouching down beside his cousin, wanting to get a better look for himself.

Jacob continued to scream, to beg for mercy, still not fully aware of what was happening to him, but the two vampires simply watched as the crucifix tattoo that stretched across his shoulders and down the length of his spine continued to melt. They watched with intense fascination as the skin disappeared and the milky white bones of his spine became visible. Then, and only then, did Elias reach down and snap the bones, squeezing them in his fist, crumbling them as if they were made from Styrofoam.

The pair rose in unison, the blood was in the air, the droplets hung like a fine, misty rain.

"That was fun. You reckon we could find more like that?" Ryan asked hopeful.

"You know something Rye, I really hope so." Elias answered, his face turning once more, the Demon not taking control this time, but being given it. "I really do."

Friday, 11 February 2011

A Love For The Ages

Samuel lay in bed. His brow was soaked with sweat; his eyes were sunken deep into his skull. His skin had darkened and drawn tight against his frame as if it were made of leather. His hair was thin to the point of translucence and his lips had curled in on themselves revealing gums so far receded that the root division of his teeth was visible.

He reached up, his arm thin and frail, while the joints of his fingers were swollen and twisted from arthritis; the nails were long and yellowed from age. He reached for the mug which rested on the table beside his bed, but had not the strength to reach it.

He took breaths in shallow rasping gulps, irregularly and often with immense pain.

The door opened and the gentle night breeze flowed through the small room.

"Samuel, I have been looking all over for you. Why are you doing this to yourself?" The woman asked, walking over to the bed and taking hold of the old man's wrist as if checking his pulse.

"Leave me." He whispered, his voice cracked and strained.

"Never, remember." She answered, bending down and kissing him gently on the forehead.

"Why do you look after me Jasmine? You have wasted enough time on me, go, walk away before it is too late and enjoy what time you have left." His voice grew slightly stronger, although it left him gasping for breath like a fish ripped from the water and left to flounder on the ground.

"Because I love you; the very first day we met I knew I would spend the rest of my life with you." She straightened her dress and sat down on the edge of the bed.

"I don't deserve your love. I killed them both, you know that, so just let me be." The old man tried to roll onto his side, away from the women he had spent the last 25 years with, but he just couldn't manage it.

"I know you did, but don't worry, it will all be ok. We can move, leave this city behind us. Maybe go abroad. Just move around." Jasmine suggested. She was 43 years old and had been living in the same place nearly all her life; apart from 3 years of college which itself was only just classed as being out of town.

"I won't ask you to leave your live behind. I can't go through that again." He moaned. "I won't watch another woman died because of me." He was crying now, or at least would have been had he had any moisture left in his body.

"Now, I won't hear any more of this nonsense Samuel Folly. Not a word. I knew what I was getting in for, I knew damned well, so you don't have the right to walk away, to push me away and run. Do you hear me; you don't have the god damned right. Not after all we've been through. I love you, and I won't let you do this." Jasmine was crying too now, her face smeared by her mascara.

The small wooden cabin Samuel had found to house him seven weeks before groaned and creaked as the wind increased. Jasmine took his hand in one of hers, and place her other against his withered cheek.

"You just need to eat something, get your strength up and you will be feeling better in no time." She smiled at him.

He pulled away, this time summoning up the strength to do so.

"No, I won't. Not ever." He began to protest. "I told you that. It's not what you deserve."

Jasmine pressed her index finger against his lips and hushed him gently, like a mother soothing a crying infant.

"Shush now. It's fine. I have an idea." She smiled wryly and rose from the bed.

"What are you doing? No. I beg you Jasmine, don't do this." Samuel began to protest, but his strength was failing, and he knew that Jasmine was a stubborn women. She had to be to put up with him all those years. She reminded him a lot of someone else.

Jasmine kicked off her does and climbed up onto the bed, straddling the man of her dreams before rising up her feet. The bed was old, and the springs rusted away to nothing and so it took a while for her to find her balance and muster the strength to move.

Several careful steps later, Jasmine was standing at the head of the bed, holding herself steady by keeping both hands against the wooden walls of the cabin. She could see the moonlight reflecting on the lake through the gaps between the planks, and it calmed her. She had spent weeks searching for Samuel before realizing there was really only one place he would have been. Sure enough, here he was.

"Jasmine…" He began once again, but before he had time to protest further, or even muster up just a portion of his strength she squatted down, pulling up her summer dress as she fell, smothering his face, she sank to her knees, pushing them into the old mattress trapping Samuel’s face between her thighs. She ignored the pain of the springs digging into her flesh and held herself in place. Beneath her Samuel struggled weakly, and then stronger, and finally his struggles stopped and he became still.

"Yes, that's it Sammy my love." She whispered, staring out into the night.

After a few minutes; although to Jasmine it had felt like an age, she relaxed and rolled off the bed. She was breathing hard, and felt a powerful rush of arousal swarm through her body. She resisted the urge to climb back and allow herself to give into the orgasmic tide that was crashing against her. She closed her eyes, and willed her thundering heart to reduce its pace.

When she opened them, the bed was empty. Before she could react she was grabbed by strong, muscular arms and thrown onto the bed. She turned and was immediately pinned down. Samuel; his body rejuvenated, his youth restored, kissed her passionately, his mouth still stained with her blood, which she had surrendered to him, to save him. She kissed him back and they made love and for the first time in their relationship Jasmine felt aware of her own mortality, and she begged him from within the silent world of her mind to turn her too; to feed from her and make her one of his kind. Yet she said nothing, she knew he would refuse.

He loved her, as he had loved others in the past but he would not turn her for the very same reason. She deserved the chance to both live and die, to complete her life unlike him. She loved him in return and instead of saying anything, she kissed him once more and allowed a tear to roll down her cheek.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Ties That Bind Us

Margaret awoke with a start. The front door to her house had just slammed shut. She sat bolt upright in her bed and looked at the alarm clock. It was 2:45, not that the time really made much of a difference if she was being broken into. She didn't move, but sat listening to the sounds of her house, and when a high pitched and agonized scream filled the air, before being cut off by another slamming door, she felt better and lay back down. It was just Martin coming home.

About an hour later, Margaret heard footsteps on the stairs and quickly slipped out of bed, her arthritis shouting out its protestations at her rapid movement but she forced herself to ignore the stabbing pain and ran into the corridor.

"Martin." She whispered, she didn’t know why, the house was empty besides the two of them.

"Yes?" He asked politely, turning to stare at the old lady of the house.

Martin himself was only 25, and yet technically he great grandfather of Margaret whose life purpose it had been to watch over and control Martin and stop him from losing control.

"She sounded very young, where did you find her?" Margaret asked accusingly.

"Don't worry yourself Margie I covered my tracks well enough." He said with a wry smile, blood still staining his chin.

"I have to worry, it’s my job, and I'm not as quick as I used to be, I can't go through another incident like the one you caused back in the 60's when you snatched all of those babies." Margaret flinched as she spoke, the memories of having to bury thirty tiny corpses in the basement beneath their basement still made her blood freeze.

"Don't worry old girl; I keep my profile low these days. This last one just looked too good to leave alone, but I stick to my limits, two a week no more and certainly no less. But if you're getting too old to keep up with me, well that's just too bad." Martin took a few steps towards her, his eyes a deep red, his skin pale as opposed to the normal tanned appearance he had when calm. His fangs descended, still stained from his recent kill.

Margaret wasn't intimidated by him, and stood firm, straighter than she had in years even. "Listen to me Martin, I may be old, but I'm still the lady of the house, and you are to obey my command. That is the way it always has been and always will be. You will be well served to remember that. “This time Margaret took a few steps forward, until she stood pressed against Martin.”Now my granddaughter is graduating next week, and then she will be coming to take over her duties, and I'll tell you now she is one feisty girl." Margaret stopped talking and took a few steps back, her head suddenly light, and her arthritis firing warning shots all over the place. She winced as she moved.

"Well then my dearest great grand-daughter I had better make the most of my time then hadn't I." Martin growled, and then in one smooth motion twisted the old woman’s head a full rotation and ripped if from the shoulders, holding it above his head like a trophy; head back and with his mouth open he let the blood rain down over his face, bathing him in it before he headed back down the stairs and out into the night, a free man once more. Until the young one arrived, but that was a week away still, and that gave him plenty of time for fun and games.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Twitcher

Barry sat; he sat and waited, his body motionless. The binoculars shook gently in his hands, and his arms were beginning to cramp from having been raised in the same position for almost 45 minutes.

A wind rustled the dried leaves that covered the hide but Barry didn't really notice it. He was waiting, his heart racing with excitement. He had first heard the rumors that the Split Tailed Wagpile had been spotted nearby a few weeks previously, but there was no way it could have been true. No birds had been seen this far inland since the virus hit.

Yet much like the virus, the notion of a real bird, and a Split Tail nonetheless got into Barry's brain and consumed him. He couldn't sleep, he didn’t eat, all he wanted to do was catch one more glimpse of the feathered friends that had made his life so meaningful before.

His eyes were dry, it was hot and arid in the small, hastily built shelter and the dusty earth didn't help either. Still Barry kept his focus. He knew exactly which tree the Split Tailed Wagpile would go to, and he wasn't going to leave until he had seen it. If he could prove that birds had the ability to survive the virus they would write books about him. Not that he cared about fame. He just wanted that one last glimpse at his old life before he died.

He knew his time was short, the zombies had smelt him the minute he left town, picking his way over the pile of decomposing bodies that blocked all entry and exit points; a sort of sacrifice to the walking dead, who despite their condition seemed to understand and in return for the meat left the town alone.

If he left now, Barry knew he stood a good chance of making it home... but he wouldn't see it, and he knew that he wouldn't bring himself out here again. So he waited. The zombies crept closer when suddenly, there is way, sitting on the lower branch of the tree, a Split Tailed Wagpile. It was a large specimen, but what a beauty, its plumage was full and healthy, the emerald green tips to its wing feathers, the azure blue of the split tail and the gorgeous chestnut brown of its body. Barry took a deep breath and smiled, he had seen it, it had survived; there was hope after all.

Twenty minutes later, Barry emerged from the hide, his legs stiff, his body aching, the blood still drying on his shirt from where the first zombie had bitten him. He walked to the tree, where the Split Tailed Wagpile still sat, he stared at it, reached upwards and with a swift movement snatched it from the branch and shoveled into his mouth before turning and heading towards town.