Short Story-Drop by Drop

Here’s another little vignette starring rockabilly vampire hunter Alex Rains, star of the soon to be released novel  The Devil’s Mouth.

Terry leaned sideways across the armrest of the old couch, one hand behind his head and the other across the back of the couch, holding a lit cigarette between two fingers. His mohawk wasn’t done up, and the blonde stripe of hair fell down to one side. He was shirtless, and had a skull tattoo over his heart.

Amber leaned into Terry, her head against his bare chest. Her tank top rucked up over her lean belly, revealing a bangly navel piercing. She readjusted and scooted higher upon him, her knees tucked up close.

The little house was dark, only lit by the TV.

“Babe,” said Terry, “I’m hungry.”

“I know,” she replied, playing with his hair. “But I can’t do it again. Not this soon.”

“Oh come on, just a little bit.”

“No, Terry. I can’t. I’m still dizzy from last time.”

“But I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Terry picked up the TV remote from amongst the mess on the coffee table and changed the channel. “But baaaaabe, I’m hungry.

“You just ate yesterday.” She rubbed her hand against his bony chest. “You said you’d be good for three days.”

“But I’m hungry now.”

“You know I can’t do it again so soon.”

Terry took a drag off his cigarette. “I don’t see why you have to be such a bitch about it.”

“Come on, Terry. I love you.”

“I’m just kidding.” He blew out smoke. “Bitch.”

“Don’t say that.” She snuggled against him like a child. “Just love me.”

“I love you even though you’re a bitch.” He tapped ashes onto the floor and then snaked an arm around her shoulders. She sighed contentedly.

Terry leaned in, parting his lips as he neared her neck. “I’ll just take a little bit. Just a pint.”

“No, babe. Please.”

He pulled his lips back, razor sharp fangs slick with saliva. His breath was hot on her neck. “But you taste so good. You know you want it.”

“Please no, Terry, you know what’ll happen.”

“It’ll just hurt for a second.”

“Please don’t.”

“Bitch.” He leaned in, and suddenly his hand was an iron collar around her neck. “You couldn’t stop me. I could just take what I want.” He rested his lips against her neck, and the tips of his fangs just grazed the skin. Her breath hitched.

She squirmed, halfheartedly pushing against his chest. “You know I couldn’t. But you love me.”

Terry grinned. “If you won’t do it, maybe I’ll go find some girl who will. Maybe I won’t be so nice to her. What about your sister?” Still holding her fast, he leaned forward and dropped his cigarette butt into one of the empty beer bottles on the coffee table.

She grimaced, and her voice was a childlike whimper. “Please, babe. I can’t. I’m still sick from last time.”

“Don’t you love me?”

“You know I do.”

“Well I’m hungry.”

She let out a shuddering sigh. “Okay,” she said. “Just a little bit.”

He smiled gleefully. “I love you, babe!” He released her neck, and slapped her ass as she stood up. “Bitch.”

She walked into the  bedroom and returned with a shoebox, then sat down next to him and opened the lid. He watched hungrily as she took out a length of surgical tubing and tied it around her arm. Amber clenched and unclenched her fist, watching as the veins swelled in her forearm. “Just a little bit, babe.”

He nodded. “I know. Just a little.”

Amber took out a length of plastic tubing, terminating at one end with a needle. She made sure the plastic ratchet clamp was tightened on the tubing, sighed, swallowed, and slipped the needle into her vein.

She undid the tourniquet around her arm. Red flowed up the tube to the clamp and stopped. She took a length of tape and secured the needle in place, then put the other end of the hose into a simple drinking glass.

“Hurry up, babe.”

“Almost there, Terry.” She released the clamp. Red flowed and looped through the clear plastic hose, sputtering and pouring out into the glass. She watched the level carefully, her fingers hovering over the tube clamp.

At about two fingers, she reached for the clamp.

“Wait,” said Terry. He held her wrist. “Just a little more.”

“No, babe, it’s too much.”

His eyes narrowed. “Who fucking cares.”

“Babe…” She made to sit up, and he pinned her down with a hand around her throat. Careful not to disturb the hose, he straddled her, holding her down with his weight. She struggled and he held her fast. “Babe, please.”

He screwed his face up into a parody of hers, “Babe, please,” he whined.

The level of blood in the glass still rose.

Her eyes fluttered. Her skin grew pale and clammy. She tried to fight him, but could not. Tears flowed down her cheeks.

“You know what, I’m fucking sick of you.” The glass brimmed, and Terry took the hose and popped the bloody end into his mouth. “You know why I never bit you? It’s cause I wouldn’t want you to be a vampire. The thought of listening to you whine for eternity makes me want to fucking kill myself.”


“Say goodnight, bitch. I think you’ll be a better lay after you’re dead.”

Her fingers trembled and twitched.

A shotgun blast shattered the stillness of the summer night. The doorknob of the tiny house spun across the room and put a divot in the drywall. The cheap hollow core door, mortally wounded, twisted on its hinges.

The man in the white cowboy hat racked another shell into the shotgun as he kicked the remains of the door away. He wore a gaudy Hawaiian print shirt, unbuttoned, with a white tee shirt underneath. A Japanese sword hung at his waist. His eyes were dark as the shadow of a tombstone. He levelled the shotgun at Terry.

Terry spun Amber around as a shield and cowered behind her. She hung limply in his grip, her head lolling over his fist. “Who the fuck are you, man?”

“Boy, I’m the fucking grim reaper.”

Terry’s eyes danced around the room, searching for escape. “I’ll fucking kill her, I swear to God.”

“Looks to me like you already did.”

“Are you sure of that, asshole?”

“Seems she’d be dead either way. And really, what’s one more? See, I been lookin’ for you, boy. Been followin’ you since Taos. I know about all of them. Jessica. Sarah. Bethany. Rachel. In the big scheme of things, one more don’t matter to me. What matters to me is putting your punk vampire ass in the ground for good, and that’s gonna happen one way or another.”

“Then why don’t you just shoot through her, asshole?” Terry laughed, “Yeah, that’s what I though. You fucking pussy.”

Amber’s eyes fluttered open. She reached her hand around and seized the tube protruding from her arm. In one smooth motion, she ripped it free and jammed the needle, still spurting blood, into her lover’s eye.

Terry screamed and let go of her throat as he brought his hands to his face. She fell to the ground.

In an eyeblink, The vampire hunter fired. Terry’s head, from the nose up, ceased to exist. A red mess decorated the far wall. His body fell headlong over the couch, coming to rest at an obscene angle, legs dangling crazily in the air. Amber sunk to her knees and sobbed once.

“Easy there, little darlin’.” Alex drew his sword as he approached Terry. “It’s all over now. You best look away.”

She didn’t look away.

Microfiction-Cold Comfort


The president faced the cameras. “My fellow Americans. We’ve all heard the rumors. Let me assure you, they are completely false. We are in no danger whatsoever. NASA has assured me that the asteroid will miss the earth by a wide margin. Everything is fine. I repeat, there’s nothing to worry about.”

The cameras shut off. The president loosened his necktie and poured himself a glass of scotch. He raised his drink to the room. “Not long now. It’s been a pleasure knowing you all. God help us.”

He emptied the glass in one swig, grimaced, and poured another.

Short Story-The God Seed

By Matt Kincade


Our people’s history began when the God-Seed fell.

Before that, time was a wheel, endless cycles, uncountable, none different from the last.

Then, in the third moon of the birthing season, it happened. The God-Seed came out of the sky.

 It began as a new star. Then it grew brighter and brighter until it was a fire in the sky. A great roaring sound filled the air. We cowered in terror, believing that our destruction was at hand.

It fell with a crash, and all of the land shook. When the dust had settled, there stood the God-seed. We had no words for what it was. A tree? A mountain? It stood, stuck in the earth, towering over the plains, made of a strange, hard material. Our stone axes shattered upon it.

The tribes gathered from all corners of the land to observe this strange new phenomenon, to decide what should be done.

Even as we gathered, the God-Seed began to change. It sprouted things like the leaves of a tree, but hard and reflective. And roots, that travelled across the ground away from it. Each of these roots began to swell, to grow, and a bulb appeared on it’s end. The bulb grew larger and larger, until it was larger than the largest of our roundhouses. Still it grew. Segments of it became transparent like water, and we could see strange things happening inside.

There was another world inside the god-seed. Strange grasses grew. Lakes appeared, and bizarre creatures flickered below the surface. We build huge scaffolds leaning against the structure so we could see inside, but still, our best tools wouldn’t leave a scratch on it’s surface.

Something grew that looked like a door, but we could not open it, nor would it burn. A strange thing appeared next to the door, a cluster of nine square knobs, and above it a glowing rectangle with these strange symbols: ENTER ACCESS CODE

The greatest scholars from all over our world gathered at the god seed. They discovered many, many more of the strange symbols, mapped out every inch of the thing. They catalogued every group of symbols. ATMOSPHERIC SENSOR PACKAGE, GAS VENT 3B, ANTENNA CLUSTER.

The elders stayed up late, sitting around the campfire, smoking Djatt out of long pipes and scratching the strange symbols in the dirt, debating their meaning long into the night. A city grew up around the god-seed.

Inside it was another world, green, lush, teeming with life. An oasis in the middle of our hot, dry land. Two legged things strutted around, pecking at the fertile earth with their hard, pointed mouths.

One day the scholar Kanak, a young male from the far continent, arrived. He sat for many hours, smoking Djatt, observing the symbols, running his hand softly over the keypad. He went out into the desert for a day and a night. When he returned, without a word, he pushed four of the strange knobs. The knobs lit up. There was a whistle like the call of a Knarud, and the door slid open. Cool, wet air poured out.

It was a bounty as we had never known. We knew then that it was truly a gift from the gods. We had solved the riddle and proved ourselves worthy. The God-Seed was large enough to fit all of us within. There were plants and animals there, more delicious than we could have imagined. Enough fresh water to fill an ocean. We thrived in that place. Our scholars long having studied the God’s symbols, soon mastered the knowledge machines found within the god-seed. From there we learned of math, of astronomy, of medicine, of Shakespeare and Homer. We learned the history of the mythical creator beings, the humans.

And then one day another star appeared in the sky. Was it another God-Seed? The gods themselves, come to reveal greater knowledge and greater truths? We huddled inside the God-Seed, deep in prayer, awaiting whatever bounty the gods might bestow.

High above planet XR-44211, the colony ship Sojourner flickered out of foldspace and entered a high orbit. Fresh from twenty years of cryosleep, captain Brillan, her long auburn hair still wet from her first shower in decades, stepped onto the Sojourner’s spartan bridge. Her dark-blue uniform was crisp and freshly ironed, and her knee high boots polished to a mirror shine. She returned the officer’s salutes and stepped up to the window. XR-44211 turned slowly outside the viewing window, a broad marbled sphere of reds and oranges and yellows, with wisps of white clouds roiling across its surface.

“There it is,” she said, “our new home. Not much to look at, is it?”

“It has what we need.” said the tech officer. “The hab modules arrived safely, and have fully deployed. Once we get settled in, we can start the terraforming— wait a minute.”

“What is it?”

“We’re getting some strange signals from habitat five. It looks like…it looks like the door seal is broken. We’ve got a bit of an infestation.”

“Do we have a visual?”

“Just a second,” said the tech officer. He hit a button and the viewscreen filled with video of hordes of furry six-legged creatures running amok in the habitat, chewing the corn, slaughtering the chickens, plucking the Tilapia from the lake, lounging on the genetically engineered carbon-sequestering grass.

Brillan made a disgusted face. “God, what a mess.”

The tech officer tapped a few more buttons. “Sensors indicate they’re carbon based, largely water-based chemistry, standard oxygen-carbon dioxide respiration cycle. Not that much different from Earth fauna.”

“Okay,” said Captain Brillan, “Let’s get ’em out of there. Let’s try piping a broad spectrum nerve poison through the fire suppression system.”

The tech officer hit a few more buttons. “I can do that.”

Deep in prayer, we waited for the will of the gods to be revealed to us. When the water began to fall from the sky, we wondered, what new gift will our benevolent gods bestow upon us?

Short story-The Guardians

By Matt Kincade

The young buck approached an ancient forest clearing. Tentatively, his ears swivelling this way and that, he stepped forward. His dark eyes, wide with fear, searched the moonlit night for danger.

Still, an ancient calling pulled him forward. His hooves sunk into the soft carpet of pine needles. Delicately, he perked his head up and scented the air.

Stands Proudly,” said a voice that seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere, speaking the buck’s secret name.

Stands Proudly stood, rooted in terror.

Stands Proudly, step forward.”

Then he saw her. The doe was pure white. Her eyes were pink. Standing in the clearing, surrounded by a perfect circle of pine trees, she glowed with an inner light.

Grandmother,” said Stands Proudly, bowing his head until the velvety tips of his young antlers scraped the ground.

My child,” said the old doe,you have been chosen.”

the young buck snorted in frustration and pawed at the ground. His eyes rolled as if searching for an escape. “By why me?” he cried, “I have so many summers ahead!”

I am sorry, young one. I do not choose. I am only a messenger. A conduit. I wish that it could be otherwise.”

After a moment, Stands Proudly nodded. “I know, grandmother. You are wise. I do not question you. I only wish…I wish I could have had a little longer.”

As do I. You deserve many more summers. Many mates, and mighty antlers spread like the branches of an ancient oak. Alas, it is not to be. Our mission is too important.”

“But why must it be this way?”

The old forest gods have chosen our kind, young one. It is our eternal task to keep the balance. To maintain harmony. When the earth’s energies are out of tune, then we must act. It is our duty. This is known.”

Yes, grandmother.” The buck sighed again and bowed his head, accepting his fate. “What is my mission?”

A man approaches,” said the old doe. “The fate of universes hinge upon his actions. He is as innocent, as blameless as you. Yet another pawn of the cosmic dance. But his son, should he be born…” Grandmother closed her eyes then, and Stands Proudly saw a vision in his head. Liquid death raining from the sky, a wave of fire rolling across the land, slaughter and sorrow and pain.

Stands Proudly’s eyes widened. “All that, from one man?”

Grandmother nodded sadly. “Some beings are as a rock balancing upon a hilltop. The slightest push may cause a landslide. Untold destruction from only the smallest breeze. We must prevent this. He must be stopped. It is our ancient duty.”

I will not fail you, grandmother.”

I know, Stands Proudly. I know. You are of a noble line. Your ancestors have served me well, from the very beginning.” The white doe’s ears perked up. “He approaches! Go now! Quickly!”

Stands Proudly dashed through the forest, leaping fallen logs, splashing across a stream bed. He hurried down the embankment and felt the hard, smooth surface under his hooves. “If I die, I die standing proudly,” he whispered.

The young buck held his head high and bravely stared down the headlights as they rushed around the bend in the road.


Author’s note: This odd little story was written in response to the question, “Why are these stupid kamikaze deer always jumping out in front of my car like it’s their job?”

Short story-The Last Time

By Matt Kincade

I knocked on the old, warped door. It opened a crack, and James’ face appeared. His eyes were red. He looked pale and gaunt. He eyed me nervously.

“Hey, James.”

He looked around at the street behind me. “Hey man. Haven’t seen you around in a while.”

“Yeah, I’ve just been busy. How’ve you been?”

“Good.” He looked at me for another few seconds, then opened the door and stood aside so I could enter.

The curtains were drawn in the tiny living room. There was a new Pink Floyd poster on the wall. Black Sabbath played on the stereo. Against one wall lay a disassembled drum kit, a guitar in a soft-sided case, and a guitar amp.

Three total strangers sat on the stained, threadbare sectional couch; two men and a girl. They watched me suspiciously while I entered the room. Paranoia hung heavy in the tobacco-stained air.

Soda cans and beer bottles covered the coffee table, except for the space that had been cleared away for a piece of mirror. On the mirror was a pile of white powder, a razor blade, and a section of McDonald’s soda straw. White with the red and yellow stripes.

James sat down. He picked up the razor blade and resumed chopping the white powder, finer and finer. The others sat hunched over, watching him like a lonely man watches a stripper.

I sat down at the end of the couch. Nobody said a word.

Five people in the room, including me. James pushed the coke into five little lines on the mirror. He handed me the straw.

With a shrug I put the straw to my nose, bent down, and inhaled.

The world brightened and snapped into Kodachrome focus. My face went numb. That old, familiar bitterness ran down the back of my throat. Suddenly the shabby room felt like home. I felt like a million bucks.  “Shit,” I said.

James smiled for the first time. “Right?”

The strangers relaxed. The ritual was complete, the test passed. They smiled, laughed and leaned back on the couch. One by one they bowed their heads and did a line. James lit a cigarette.

I stayed for fifteen minutes or so, making small talk, catching up on old friends.

Finally, I stood up and said, “Hey man, I gotta go. I just wanted to drop by and say hi.”

“Cool, man.” James pulled out a small bag of white powder. “You want one for the road?”

“Nah, I’m good. Hey, while I’m here, why don’t I grab my guitar and my amp?”

James managed to look a little hurt. “It’s not taking up any space, if you want to come by and jam sometime.”

“Nah, I need it. This guy I work with plays base. He wants to jam.”

James nodded slightly. “Oh. Okay.”

I picked up my Strat in one hand, the guitar amp in the other.

“Let me get the door for you,” said James.

“Thanks, man.”

And then I walked out that door.

Microfiction-The Sandcastle

Timmy dragged his father’s big sledgehammer across the back yard to the sandbox.

In his dad’s scrap-pile, he found a two-foot length of rebar. He posted it in the sand.

The boy strained to lift the sledge. Tink tink tink, the rebar sank until six inches protruded.

He upended a bucket of sand over the steel then lifted the bucket away, leaving a smooth, tall tower. He added walls, moats, battlements.

Johnny rounded the corner and spied the sandcastle. His eyes lit up evilly. “Nice sandcastle, nerd,” he said, as he wound back for a mighty kick.