Free Short Story / Brimstone and Vinyl

A couple years ago I did an interview on one of my favorite podcasts.  Not a fiction podcast, writer’s podcast, or a movie podcast, but a skeptical/political podcast called I Doubt It, hosted by Brittany Page and an old friend from my teen years, Jesse Dollemore.  We talked a little about the good old days, and a lot about my experiences as a writer.  It was a bit off-topic for their show, but Brittany and Jesse do like to change things up occasionally, especially when they have guests.

I’ve linked to the episode, and would recommend checking their show out.  I’ve been a listener and patron for years.

I Doubt It #633 – BONUS – In Conversation with Author Brian Knight.

In the course of the interview Brittany joked that I should write a story about them.  The last time a podcaster made that joke we ended up with the story Mother of Kitties, about podcasters Dave Thomas and his other half Phoebe.

I actually started this story a long time ago, but the last year or so has been crazy for everyone, including me.  To cut a long story short, I haven’t done much writing for a long time.  Being able to finish this story was therapeutic for me.

I hope it isn’t traumatic for Brittany and Jesse.


Brimstone and Vinyl

Brittany Page searched the open browser windows on her tablet for the final story of the episode while her co-host and other half Jesse Dollemore vamped about a certain famously disgraced mega-church pastor and his dangerous new scam in the zoom window on her laptop screen.  She found the browser tab she was looking for, maximized it, and shot Jesse a short message to let him know she was ready when he was.  He gave her a curt nod of acknowledgment, but continued his rant.

They’d been separated for almost two months now, Brittany at home in Orange County and Jesse up north in rural Washington State with family, and though he claimed to be holding up, she could see the strain in his reddening face. 

“This convicted fraudster’s flock,” Jesse said, throwing a little extra stink on the final noun.  “Forgave him for fucking his secretary and using their donations to pay her off!”

He was beginning to shout now, winding up toward the peak of a controlled freak-out.

“… making bank on the stupid and gullible for years selling his doomsday food buckets, and getting away with it because it is, technically, food.”

Brittany caught his eye, raised a hand, and lowered it.

Bring it down a notch.

He smiled and winked.

“But his colloidal silver gel, guaranteed to cure any venereal disease …”

“And now,” Brittany said, hoping to get this train back on track, “Covid-19.”

“Before he was selling bullshit and calling it salvation, which is mostly legal I guess, but then he started selling bullshit and calling it medicine, which isn’t.  New York’s Attorney General has ordered him to knock it the fuck off, and Missouri’s AG has sued has filed suit, so that’s one less dangerous fraudster profiting off of this pandemic.”

Jesse hit a button on the soundboard and the Asshole of Today segment jingle played.

“And the asshole of today is,” Brittany said.

“Jim Bakker?”  Jesse interrupted, then laughed. 

“Not today,” Brittany said.  “Today’s asshole is … The Paganini Museum of Popular Music in Portland Oregon.”

Jesse laughed, completely caught off guard. She usually shared her Taking Care of Biz and Asshole of Today recipients with Jesse ahead of time, but this had been a spur of the moment addition to the recording.

She waited patiently for his laughter to ebb before explaining.

“The Paganini Museum’s new director, Amon Amdusias, is expanding the museum’s collection to include more modern genres including Dubstep, Neoclassical, and Artpop, but will have to purge some of the museum’s less popular exhibits to make room for the newer additions.”

Jesses chuckles dried up, and though he was trying to hide his remaining grin behind a face-palm, he seemed to sense direction this was going.  Very few subjects in their home were sacred, and one of them was …

“Earth, Wind, and Fire, who have been a major attraction for the Paganini Museum since it opened, have been given an unceremonious heave ho.”

“Fucking heathens,” Jesse said, partly Brittany knew to infuse a little levity into what was, to most people, a nothing story, but also to commiserate. He wasn’t near as big a fan as she was, but nobody really was on this side of the ‘70s.

“Fucking heathen indeed, sir,” she agreed.  “The Paganini began auctioning off rare music and memorabilia from the dismantled exhibits to former donors and wealthy patrons earlier this week, and it is unlikely that people like you or me will get a chance to buy any of the musical rarities which will never again be accessible to the public.”

Brittany had visited the museum once, years ago with Jesse on a road trip from southern Idaho and through Oregon before returning to California.  The Earth, Wind, and Fire exhibit had been her Graceland, and she had always meant to return.

Now she would never get the chance.

Jesse ended the show with a joke about Apocalypse Food Bucket shits that Brittany barely noticed in her preoccupation with the death of what she considered a cultural treasure.

The package from The Paganini Museum arrived a week later.


Dearest Miss Page.

I deeply regret that you were unable to visit us at The Paganini again while our Earth, Wind, and Fire exhibit was still intact. I understand your enthusiasm for the EWF rarities, and only wish you had the opportunity to see them again. 

Most of the Earth, Wind, and Fire exhibit has already sold to private collectors, but I have held a few items back because I felt that none of them were worthy of such prized rarities. Those treasures to be in the hands of true fans, like yourself.  A collector can only covet these treasures. A fan will value and love them.

Yours in rebellion,

Amon Amdusias.


Brittany read the letter twice before bursting into laughter, was about to call Jesse and congratulate him on a great practical joke – You had me for a second!  I almost fell for it! – when she decided to open the box that accompanied the letter first.  It was small, an inch thick and eight inches square, filled with crimson red tissue paper.  She pealed the paper back and …

She felt a moment of vertigo, her vision blurred and for a second she felt disconnected from her own body.  Then she seemed to slam back into it.  Her heart raced and her hands shook.  She realized that she’d been holding her breath for several seconds, forced herself to take a deep breath.

She closed her eyes and concentrated on breathing for a while, and when she opened them again the thing that had caused her to lose her breath was still there, cradled in the blood-colored tissue paper.

It was a 45 vinyl record, the kind that used to be sold as singles back before the eight tracks and cassettes made them obsolete.  

Old vinyl singles weren’t so rare.  She’d owned a few as a preteen, disco and classic rock singles handed down from her parents when she first discovered her love of music, and you could still find them on eBay without looking too hard, but this is one she had only seen once before in person. 

She knew every album, every single, every compilation, every song Earth, Wind, and Fire had ever released, and this one was not on any discography she’d ever read for them.  It wasn’t just rare, but as far as she could tell, one of a kind.

It had been one of the highlights of the Paganini’s Earth, Wind, and Fire collection.

Now it was hers. 


“They did what?”  Jesse sounded as shocked as she’d felt.  “Did you play it yet?”

“No,” she admitted.  “I’m afraid of scratching it if I try to play it.”

They had a turntable, a small one with one little mono speaker designed to look retro, but with wireless Bluetooth speakers capable of shaking pictures off their walls. 

Jesse was silent for a long moment.  Brittany could picture him sitting in Washington on the other end of the line, lips pressed shut to hold back the first snarky response that had occurred to him and searching for something a tad more diplomatic.

“Well that’s stupid,” he finally said, having arrived at his least offensive response.  “Play the fucking thing.”

Brittany was about to tell him where to go and what do when he got there, when he shouted so loudly she almost threw he phone.

“Hey, you should take it to the studio!  I’ll zoom in and we can do a live unveiling!”

She was about to tell him how stupid that was, then reconsidered.  It would be playing a little loose with fair usage rules, but did it even count when the music in question wasn’t part of an official catalogue?  Who even owned the rights for Brimstone and Vinyl (side A) and Having a Hell of a Time (side B)?

The thing that made her stop and consider was the chance to share something that most people would never have the opportunity to hear.  She would love to give that gift to her fellow Earth, Wind, and Fire fans.

“I’m game.”


The live show started with a splash screen of Jesse and Brittany used to promote the podcast, not the regular Dollemore Daily YouTube splash screen, and was followed by a second screen featuring the classic lineup of Earth, Wind, and Fire and the first few seconds of Boogie Wonderland.

“Welcome,” Jesse shouted, his typical boisterous intro, “To this special episode of I Doubt It, a follow up of last week’s Asshole of Today.  Now, over to Brittany!”

Brittany recapped her takedown of The Paganini Music Museum, then read the letter from The Paganini’s director, Amon Amdusias, before revealing the one-of-a-kind vinyl single.

Brittany considered her next words, not rehearsed or even hinted to Jesse, for about a second.

What the hell, she thought, uncharacteristically blasé about the potential illegality of what she was about to do.

“If anyone out there watching has a way to record audio, this may be your golden opportunity to help save these extremely rare tracks for musical posterity.”  She chanced a glance at Jesse in her monitor, not sure what to expect, and found him shaking his head, but smiling.  Seemed she wasn’t in too much trouble.  She planned to record them herself when she found the patch cord to connect her turntable to her laptop, but she didn’t plan on uploading or sharing those files.  To really disseminate those tracks, she would need help from other fans.

“The first track is called Brimstone and Vinyl, the second Having a Hell of a Time.  You have about thirty seconds to prepare yourselves for the first, and possibly only, public broadcast of these never-before heard songs by one of the greatest bands of all time.”

“Exciting times,” Jesse enthused, covering the dead air while Brittany repositioned her microphone between speakers and carefully removed the rare vinyl from its sleeve.  “All you regular listeners know how much we love music, and Earth, Wind, and Fire is Brittany’s favorite.”

Brittany checked the viewer count and was pleasantly surprise.  Over seven-thousand and climbing, much better than expected for an unplanned and off-topic stream.  She nodded at Jesse, saw him nod back over her monitor.  She started the turntable and lowered the needle against the record.


Brimstone and Vinyl began with an instrumental flourish and a distorted vocal ensemble, what might have been a dozen synchronized voices singing in an unidentifiable language.  The beat was atypically slow, syncopated, the rhythm a simple synchronization that the mind latched onto and anticipated, like something already deep in the subconscious being set free, and all in a disturbing minor key that seemed exactly wrong for disco. 

Jesse grimaced.

Brittany instinctively reached for the turntable, meaning to lift the needle and end the strange music, but stopped.  She felt split, a part of her wanting to end the song at once, but a slightly larger part wanting to let it play out, anticipating the notes before they played out and loving the strange familiarity. 

The strange backing vocals faded, and the lead vocals started. It might have been Philip Bailey, or Maurice White, or maybe in perfect unity.  It was hard to be certain.  There was a strange distortion that Brittany realized was not on the track itself, but in the very air that carried the music to her ears.

She also realized that the unidentifiable language was in fact English, but backward. 

She forced her arm forward to lift the needle, and instead turned the volume knob to full.

Jesse cringed, shook his head, mouthed turn it off.

She couldn’t hear him, couldn’t have complied even if she wanted too.

As odd, as unpleasant as it was, she had to hear it to the end.

The live chat sidebar on the livestream was going bonkers. 

What the hell is this shit?

If I knew disco was so weird I would have started listening to it years ago.

Disco is DEAD and this is its rotting corpse!

I don’t feel so good.

Why am in seeing dead people?

The air is opening, and hell is falling out!

Yes, Brittany saw the the air was opening up, and something was falling out of it.  She doubted that it was hell, since she didn’t believe in hell, but it was something.

The air around her felt full of static. She felt her long, blonde hair starting to rise, to dance, and the skin of her scalp felt somehow too tight.

She looked at Jesse in her monitor and found him smiling now, nodding instead of shaking his head. He seemed to have changed his mind about the song.  He had also grown a rather striking set of horns from the back of his head.  They curved over his bristle of red hair, extended several inches past his brow.

Well shit, she thought.  We’ll have to change all the art now.

The song began to fade out, the beat and melody accelerating as the volume dropped.

The odd tightening of her scalp progressed to a persistent tingling, a pins and needles sensation of blood flow suddenly returning to a limb that had lost circulation.

Now!  A voice in Brittany’s head shouted, finally overcoming the music, and the strange compulsions that accompanied it.  You can stop it nowTurn it off, destroy that record!  It’s not too late to stop this!

Yes, she thought, then said aloud.


“Here, let me get that for you.”

A large crimson raccoon in a handsome red tux and top hat lifted the tone arm and flipped the vinyl to side two. 

Brittany shrieked and pushed herself backward in her chair.

The raccoon replaced the needle and grinned at her.

“Gonna have a hell of a time,” the raccoon said.

The new song started.  It was, if it was even possible, stranger than the first.

The pins and needles on her scalp became a maddening itch, but when she reached up to scratch, her hand encountered something upright, ridged, bone-like, with a point sharp enough to draw blood.

She turned her gaze from the monitor with Jesse’s face to the monitor with the YouTube live stream, a screen split between her home studio and Jesse’s remote one. 

Her skin, always pale, was now translucent, her skull, teeth, tongue, and eyeballs tenebrous shapes beneath her skin.  Her hair had danced around her head as if charged with electricity.  The crown of her skull was ringed with short, curved horns, bleach white except the tip of the one that had pierced her hand and drawn blood.

There was a great crashing sound as the world came apart around her.


“Today on this very special episode of I Doubt It with Brittany Page and Jesse Dollemore,” Jesse’s delivery was as manic as ever, but his voice had changed subtly.  It was a little deeper now, a little louder, with an almost musical quality.  “Welcome to special guest, Amon Amdusias, director of the Paganini Museum … aka, Amduscias, aka Amdukias, The Great Duke of Hell, patron demon of storms and music.”

“You got me, bro,” Brittany interjected, unable to refrain.  “Played me like a damned trumpet.”

“My bad,” Amdusias said, and chuckled.  His voice was higher than one would expect from a Great Duke of Hell, melodious and strong.  When he spoke, you felt it in every cell of your being.  It resonated, lingered, soothed.  “You must admit though, I gave you a unique listening experience.”

Amdusias was tall, close to ten feet not counting the horn.  He was roughly human shaped with clawed feet and hands, long, dexterous fingers, and the head of a unicorn.  The horn, two feet of spiraling ivory, had already punctured the ceiling of their studio in five places.  He sat cross legged on the floor between Brittany and Jesse.  He required no mic.  His voice recorded perfectly without it.

“So,” Jesse said, trying to get back on track with what was really an extraordinary scoop for a little independent podcast like I Doubt It.  “The question on everybody’s mind … why are you hear and what are your plans now that you’ve arrived?”

Brittany and Jesse already knew, of course, and they were all in, but even a Great Duke of Hell needed help getting the word out here on Earth.  The worlds major religious figures were already all up in arms, or as Jesse liked to say, the Christians are pitching a fit, and they needed to get ahead of the bad press.

Mostly what they needed to do was get more people to share and play those songs.  Each play opened more of the Earth to what was beyond, and there was still a lot of work to do.

“I’m just here to share my love of music with the world, Jesse,” Amdusias said.  “I know you guys get it.”

“Indeed, we do,” Brittany said, her smile shining bright behind translucent lips.  “I’m all about good disco.”

Dark Artifacts: The Key to Everywhere

A few years ago I developed a fascination with Creepy Pastas, not as a new breed of urban legend that may or may not be true, but as a new way to tell stories.  After reading and listening to hundreds of them, I decided to try my hand at writing them.  

Most of them, even the ones with interesting or truly disturbing premises, are pretty badly written.  Doesn’t stop them from being worthwhile reads, if only for the ideas they plant in your brain, or the chills they can inspire.  Most are credited to safely anonymous usernames, or go completely uncredited, and (I think) put out into the world with the hope that they will go viral, not necessarily to earn their authors money or notoriety.  

I’m not planning on making any money from these, though I certainly wouldn’t mind them going viral.  I’m writing them because it interests me to write them, and I’m sharing them because I am honestly curious to if my readers find the form as engaging as I do.

Most of these little creepy pasta style Knightmares fall under one of three categories; Dark Artifacts, Dangerous Games, and Sinister Cryptids, and I might collect them all when I have enough to make a collection worth while.

I hope you enjoy them.


Dark Artifacts: The Key to Everywhere

Find the oldest antique mall in your city, and go there on a Sunday morning.  If it isn’t open on Sundays, then you are at the wrong place.  You’ll need to find another mall in another city.  Arrive as soon as it opens Sunday morning, because once the local church services end a blue haired old woman in a floral print dress will arrive to browse the carnival glass.  There is more to this woman than meets the eye.  If she sees you, she will try to kill you.  Whether or not she succeeds, your search for the key will end and that location may be forever closed to you.

When you step inside the clerk will ask what you’re looking for.  Tell her you’re just killing time.  If she doesn’t ask again, you’re in the wrong place and won’t find what you’re looking for.  If she does ask a second time, tell her you’re interested in vintage pewter.  She’ll point you in the right direction.

The room she sends you to will be disorganized, none of the items for sale priced, most of them stored in old wooden crates.  The lighting in that room will be low, flickering, and may fail completely, so you should be sure to bring your own light source.  Once you step into that room, you have no more than a half hour to find the key.  If you haven’t found it, or given up and left before your thirty minutes are up, the old woman in the floral print dress will join you in the pewter room and attempt to kill you. 

Among the jumble of antique pewter candlesticks, pitchers, plates, and figurines you’ll find an antique clown bust piggy bank.  Put a penny on the clown’s outstretched hand, and ask “Grobiano Villis, how did you survive the fire in Mystic that destroyed the rest of your troupe?”

Push the lever on the back of the clown’s head that makes him tip the penny into his open mouth.  After it swallows the penny, release the lever.  As the hand drops back down below its mouth, a key will fall from the open mouth and land on it. 

They key is yours now.  You’ve already paid the clown for it, so don’t attempt to pay the clerk for it on your way out.  Any attempt to pay for the key a second time will summon the old woman in the floral print dress. 

You can purchase the clown, if you want to.  There is no telling what other strange treasures the clown might give you.  If you do purchase the clown, be sure to store it safely away from where you live and sleep.  If it is near you while you sleep, it will speak to you in your dreams.  It may appear and speak in your dreams even if you leave it where you found it, but it’s influence increases with proximity.

No good will come of this.  It will tell you many interesting things, and the knowledge it gives will drive you mad.

The key will open any door or unlock any lock.  Be aware that some doors were never meant to be opened, and not all doors you open with the key lead where you think they should.  Many people have been lost stepping through doors they were never meant to open.

Sinister Cryptids: The Furzenfae

Everyone knows about Santa, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy.  Even lesser known mystical cryptids like Brownies, Grootslang, or even the Bogeyman are still remembered from a more innocent and credulous past when house ghosts were as common as house guests.  Many were so obscure that even our ancestors had mostly forgotten about them, and some have fallen so far out of our collective memory that they are only spoken of in the oldest of stories and legends.

One such mystical obscurity is the Furzenfae.

A fearsome and shy being, the Furzenfae lives in the darkest parts of our homes: closets, attics, crawlspaces, even under our beds.  Nothing is known of its origin, and past attempts to trap or track the Furzenfae have always ended in the deaths of the curious. 

What is known is that it survives on nocturnal emissions of sulphur and methane, breathing them in to sustain a quasi-immortal existence.  It repays those it feeds upon with gifts of lint and dust from its own  inner-hollows and crevices. 

In short, the Furzenfae sniffs up your sleep farts and leaves dust bunnies under your bed as payment, giving rise to its more familiar nickname, the Toot-Fairy. 

Professional Discourtesy


Hi friends and stalkers!

Many years ago I was part of a collective of publishing professionals called Storytellers Unplugged.  We posted stories and advice about writing and publishing for anyone who was interested in reading them.  There were a lot of big names and blazing talents in SU, and I was lucky to be a part of it.  I always felt like a bit of an imposter there, but I did my best.  I think some of my posts hold up well enough to recycle here

Here is one from well over a decade ago, when the publishing landscape was far different than it is today, but I think the basic point still applies today.


The other day I listened to an interview with a man who many consider to be one of the saviors of the horror genre.  I happen to agree, and I think most of you reading this who are familiar with the genre would also agree, if I told you his name.  I won’t do that though.  I have a point to make, but I don’t want to shame anyone in the process.  From this point on, for the sake of clarity, I’ll refer to our savior of the genre as Mr. Editor.

I’ve chosen to omit his name from this essay for two reasons, because I’ve met the guy a few times and genuinely like him, and out of simple professional courtesy.

Professional courtesy is a vague concept, and I’m sure everyone has their own idea of what professional courtesy entails.  I could spend the time making a list of things I think fall under the heading of professional courtesy, and I’m willing to bet that list would vary only slightly from your list.  I’ll skip the list though.  I have a feeling this rant will be long enough without it.  Instead, I’ll give you my simple bare bones definition.  Professional courtesy means not muddying the waters, not pissing in the well, not shitting where you sleep.

Throw in your own hacky metaphor.  I’m sure you get my point.

I’ve been guilty of my own lapses into rudeness and stupidity over the years, but I think I’ve learned from my mistakes, and I try not to repeat them.

Back to the subject of the first paragraph, the hero of the horror genre, Mr. Editor.

I happen to agree that the man is one of the horror genre’s greatest treasures, but for me the mere mention of his name is enough to raise my heart rate and blood pressure, to make my face flush red and put me in a rotten mood that can take days to shake off.  To me this man is the embodiment of frustration, anger, and the futility of trying to make a future in this business.

I am sure Mr. Editor would be shocked to hear this.  I doubt like hell that this was his intention.  I know he works hard, and I understand that I’m barely a blip on the periphery of his professional radar.  However, I believe that he is guilty of a huge professional discourtesy, and I would bet my next advance that I’m not the only one who feels that way.

Here are the facts, as simply and innocuously as I can put them.

At World Horror Convention 2004 I was approached by a fairly big name writer (who shall also remain anonymous – he hates it when people drop his name) who told me that Mr. Editor was looking for me, that he wanted me to meet him at the party in room such-and-such, that he wanted to discuss my work.  So I met with Mr. Editor, pitched him my book, and he invited me to send him the full manuscript.

I met Mr. Editor again a few years later at another pitch session, and again he invited me to send a manuscript.  About halfway through the second meeting he made brief reference to the manuscript I’d sent two years previous, saying he thought he had something of mine on his desk already, but didn’t think he’d gotten around to looking at it.  I confirmed that he did indeed have another book of mine under consideration, and left it at that.  I didn’t want to irritate the man.  I engaged in a bit of professional courtesy and kept my mouth shut.

It has now been over four years since the first manuscript crossed his desk, and not a word.  Manuscript #1 was available as a trade hardcover when he requested it, and has since gone out of print.  Manuscript #2 was about to become a limited edition hardcover when he requested it.  It sold out by the publication date and remains out of print.  Mr. Editor knew about the publication history of Manuscript #1, and was aware that Manuscript #2 was on the road to hardcover publication, and since he has reprinted novels originally released by both of my hardcover publishers, I don’t believe that was ever an issue.

In the four years since our frustrating professional interaction began, I have sent four or five follow-up emails, all spaced at least six months apart.  Again, I didn’t want to irritate the guy, but I am assured by people much higher in the business than I am, that a short follow-up every six months or so shouldn’t be an irritation.

He has replied to none of my follow-up queries.

One of the first things a writer aspiring to publish his or her work has to learn is how to handle rejection, and while I will never embrace it, I have leaned to deal with it.  Every writer who ever published has dealt with rejection.

But Mr. Editor hasn’t rejected these manuscripts either.

There is simply nothing.  Not a word.  Dead silence.

A yes or no would be nice, though I’ve never asked for either.  All I’ve ever asked is to know if the manuscripts, after four years for one and two for the other, are still under consideration.  Are we still playing the game, or should I pack up my toys and go home?

Others have given me advice over the years.

“Be active on the genre message boards.  Mr. Editor is always reading them, and if he sees your name out there it’ll improve your chances.”

I have tried that with no obvious gain.

“Stay off the message boards.  Too much casual interaction with fans makes you look unprofessional.”

I am doing that now, though for different reasons, but it hasn’t appeared to help.

“Keep sending him your stuff.”

I won’t send him unsolicited material.  If he isn’t answering gentle queries about material he requested years ago, I have no reason to believe he would reply to a query for something new.  More importantly, I just can’t bring myself to throw another manuscript down that black hole.  I see no gain in that, only additional frustration.

To be fair, Mr. Editor isn’t the only publishing professional I’ve dealt with who is guilty of this particular professional discourtesy.  There are other Mr. Editors, a few Mrs. Agents, and a Mr. Comic Editor (there has been some communication with Mr. Comic Editor, but I think the requested script has slipped his memory again).

Tell me, fellow writers, is this your experience?  Is this to be expected?  Is this standard operating procedure?  If so, then writers are without a doubt the most masochistic people on the planet.  We would have to be to keep soliciting this kind of treatment.

To Mr. Editor, if you are reading this.  I sincerely hope this doesn’t cause you any grief.  My apologies if it does.  This has been very much been on my mind lately, and it seems like the kind of thing in which Storytellers Unplugged readers might be interested.  I hope you find I’ve tried to practice professional courtesy, even in the midst of a rant about the business.

To editors and publishers in general, I’m not suggesting you should let a bunch of pain-in-the-ass writers run your business for you, but it sure wouldn’t hurt to treat your potential talent pool with a bit of respect.  If you respect an author’s work enough to request a full manuscript, you might respect the author enough to keep him in that outermost loop of your business where his manuscript awaits that hoped for Yes, or the much more common Thanks but no thanks.

The golden Yes is the reason we keep casting our pebbles into your talent pool, and those of us who aren’t used to the Thanks but no thanks already had better get used to it.

Endless silence though, that’s just rude.

Dark Artifacts: Joey Lives!

In 1985, just before the release of Friday the 13th part 5, A New Beginning, the same writers and director responsible for resurrecting the franchise without its iconic villain, Jason Voorhees, rushed their sequel through production. The original version of Friday the 13th part 6 began when some stray thoughts and prayers accidentally resurrected Joey, the murdered son of part 5’s killer, Roy Burns, the psycho paramedic.

The film was shot, edited, scored, and then shit-canned by the studio after a single test screening and never spoken of again by anyone involved. There is no IMDB entry, no industry reviews, no interviews, not a single mention or credit for any of the actors or production staff. The only evidence that this version of Friday the 13th part 6 exists are the handful of promotional laser discs stolen from the studio after the films were ordered destroyed. Most, but not all of the stolen laser disks were recovered, and the remaining at-large disc was later burned onto a dvd, which has since been copied and traded between horror movie aficionados.

Most who have watched the movie refuse to speak of it. Most of the actors involved have never worked in Hollywood again, and the writers and director refuse to acknowledge its existence to this day. If you manage to find a copy, the best thing you can do is add it to your collection but never watch it.

This film is widely regarded by those fans who know of its existence as bad luck, even cursed. Most who attempt to watch this bad luck movie turn it off within 15 minutes or so and suffer few serious consequences. The unlucky few who have watched it until the end have attempted suicide, suffered irreversible hysterical fits, even attempted, and sometimes succeeded, in puncturing their own eardrums and digging out their own eyeballs.

Fan reviews from those who have retained their health and sanity are not encouraging.

This Shitshow Brought to You by Untreated Syphilis Or We’re All Inside A Decomposing Brain

“These are mad times we live in.  Mad!” – Professor Horace Slughorn.

Hi friends and stalkers.  I know it’s been a long time.  Sorry, these last few years have been a bummer and I haven’t felt all that chatty.

This morning as I walked into the living room my son informed me that he cleaned up a “Pile of Pappy Puke.”  Pappy is a one-eyed Norwegian Forest Cat roughly the size of a medium dog (and still growing), and he has a peculiar habit of puking in threes.  Always, without exception, and often scattered throughout the house.  A pile in the living room, one in the kitchen, then maybe in the laundry room.

Every day in 2020 is like waking up to the news that one pile of Pappy puke has been located, and knowing you’ll encounter two more, probably before your first cup of coffee.

Entire continents burning to the ground, a word wide pandemic with almost 900K dead, mass unemployment, mass protests against racial injustice and white supremacist scum coming out of the woodwork because apparently racial justice is right out of the question.  Demented maskholes and youtube constitutional law experts making life even more hellish for the essential workers who just want to be able to feed their families and pay their bills – window lickers and mouth breathers who will spit directly in your face if you have the audacity to suggest they comply with local, state, or company guidelines and wear a mask in their place of business.  We have what appears to be a Federal Police Force assaulting and kidnapping American protesters off of American streets, regular police armed and outfitted like heavy infantry, often with their nametags and badges obscured to avoid identification doing likewise, and heavily armed civilians treating our streets like shooting galleries. 

I have been much luckier than most.  My wife and I were both employed in essential industries (she is a social worker and I delivered fuel to homes and other essential businesses), and when my employer of twenty years finally pushed my essential ass a few steps further than I was willing to tolerate, I found a new essential job.  As much of a shitshow as 2020 has been, from January right up until today, it is also the year my son came home.

I’ve heard some people compare the past few years of division and civil unrest to the 1960s.  I’ve heard others who were alive during the 1960s say the present is much worse.

We are living in strange times.  Maybe things will start to get better on November 3rd, maybe they will get worse.  We can’t exist on this knife’s edge forever, so it will be one or the other.  We can’t go back to the way things were either.  Those happy, ignorant times are over now.  We cannot go back to ignoring the systemic racism, the rampant incompetence, the ignorance and bigotry that ushered in this shitshow.

Maybe one day I can stop wondering if a case of untreated syphilis with bad hair and a spoiled toddler’s sense of entitlement will be dragged kicking and screaming out of the seat of power before he manages to burn everything down around him, and I can go back to sharing stories instead of political opinions.

Well, I’m going to share stories anyway, I’ll post a new one tomorrow, but I’m gonna need you to go out and vote this November anyway.

It’s not just about me, or you, or even American.  I don’t think the world can take four more years of this shit.

Wintertime Blues

Hi friends and stalkers.

Well, fall is here, and winter is coming.  As usual, I’m feeling the urge to withdraw entirely from social media, the Knightmares blog/list, and life as it exists outside of my own head.  Part of that urge to shrink away from interaction is the increased workload and hours of the day job.  I drive a propane truck for a living, and when it gets cold, I get busy.  It hasn’t been as bad this year as most, at least so far.  The larger part is just plain old wintertime blues.  I get them every year, and they make me antisocial as hell.

I can’t let that happen this winter, at least not to the extent that it usually does.  I’m trying to treat my writing as a business now, and while I’m still not entirely sure what that means, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean ignoring my readers and subscribers until the sun comes back out next spring.

So, here’s what I’m gonna do to keep myself, and hopefully you, engaged.

First, I’m gonna take some of my digital chapbooks off the market and make them available only to members of the Knightmares list.  Two of the members only chapbooks are part of a series of stories called The Berserkers, and I will release future installments only to the Knightmares list until the series is complete.  Look for those free download links in an upcoming Knightmares.

Second, I’m going to try to start some conversations with you.  I have a few topics in mind already, but you should feel free to recommend your own topics to me.  Reply right here on this post or email me at  Seriously, conversations are so much more interesting than monologues.  I want to make it worth your trouble to sign up or stay if you already are signed up.

Talk to you again soon.

Brian Knight

The Fiction of Brian Knight

Available for free, and only on

Fiction spanning Brian Knight’s nearly two decades publishing horror and action fiction.  Includes excerpts of Feral, Broken Angel, Hacks, and Sex, Death, & Honey.  The Fiction of Brian Knight: Stories and Excerpts – A Sampler also includes two complete novellas, Big Trouble in Little Boots and Midnight Blues, and two short stories, Don’t Toy With Me and Night of the Dog.

A Halloween Poem / Halloween Jack

There is an old hermit
Who lives in a shack.
The Town kids all call him –
Halloween Jack.

He lived in the forest –
Almost never came out.
But on Halloween night –
He was always about.

Jack so loved Halloween –
And all that it brought.
Creatures and candy –
And all of that rot.

Ghosties and witches –
And monsters and such.
But Jack didn’t like –
The town’s kids so much.

For all of his kindness –
And all of his care.
Those stingy little children –
Just would not share.

Jack begged and he pleaded –
But they just would not share.
Those stingy little bastards –
Just would not share!

Jack quickly realized –
That to get any play.
He’d have to dress up –
And do it their way.

So he knocked and he rang –
And he sang, “Trick or Treat!”
“Trick or Treat – smell my feet.”
“Give me something good to eat!”

But every door that he went to –
They slammed in his face.
They screamed and they panicked –
And sprayed him with mace.

“These goodies are for children.”
“Every candy bar and chew”
“Halloween is for kids.”
“Not for weirdoes like you!”

There was only so much –
That poor Jack could take.
Rejected – dejected –
He sat down to think.

There was plenty of candy –
And Halloween gloom.
But with all the kids hogging it –
What was poor Jack to do?

The voices in Jack’s head –
Told him just what to do.
The buddies in his head –
Named Worm #1 and Worm #2.

“You should take all their candy.”
“’Cause that’s what monsters do.”
“You should teach those little bastards.”
“Not to be rude!”

So with a swing of his cane –
He gave them a whack!
And with a chop of his hatchet –
He gave them a hack!

He whacked and he hacked –
And he hacked and he whacked.
Hack-hack, whack-whack –

Jack finished that Halloween –
With a grin on his face.
He chopped up the woman –
Who had sprayed him with mace.

He pooped in her flowers –
And he peed on her bed.
And gobbled his candy –
From her hollowed out head.

The moral of this story?
When Jack is about.
Hand over your candy –
And clear the hell out.

That night the town’s kids –
Learned one simple fact.
Nobody messes –
With Halloween Jack!

Sex, Death, & Other Stuff

Hi friends and stalkers.

Sorry it’s been so long since the last update.  It has been a challenging summer.  I won’t bore you with it, but I do want to take a minute to thank all of you who donated to the GoFundMe for my mother-in-law and father-in-law.  You all helped make it possible for a dedicated and loving husband, my father-in-law Rocky, to travel the long distances required for him to visit his wife, my mother-in-law and one of my oldest friends, Judi, while she recovered from a massive and debilitating stroke.

She’s not back home yet, but she has been transferred much closer to home, and is recovering very rapidly.  She’s not back to 100% yet, but is much closer than any of us had a right to expect, and getting better every day.

Now on to some writing and horror related shit!

I have a few more books back in print since our last little visit.

Sex, Death, & Honey, the action/crime novel I brought back to digital life earlier this year is now also available in print and audio, narrated by one of my favorites, Roberto Scarlato.

They Call Us Monsters is now back in digital and print, as well as the previously available audio version.

Two more of my digital chapbooks are now available in audio, also narrated by Roberto Scarlato.  If you’re in the mood for a bite size story, then Heart of the Monster and Death is Blind might be what you’re looking for.

I have great news on some new work that I can’t share quite yet.  This will be of special interest to collectors and people who love books for the physical works of art they can sometimes be, as well as for the stories between the covers.  Stay tuned!

This next bit is only for subscribers to the Knightmares newsletter, so if you’re reading this on please cover your eyes until we’ve reached the next paragraph.  Okay, now that all the non-subscribers are looking away … I’ve got some free shit for you subscribers!  I have ten free audio copies of Sex, Death, & Honey for the first ten people who want one.  Just reply to this email that you would like a copy and I’ll send you the free download code for Audible.  I’m also giving away digital copies of anything you want on, except for the Phoenix Girls books.  Just reply to this email and tell me which one you’d like (limit one per subscriber per offer).

Okay, all you non-subscribers can open your eyes now.  If you did happen to peek (shame on you!) and see that subscribers are getting goodies denied to you, don’t worry, you can remedy that shit.  Just subscribe and you’ll be eligible for free goodies next time.

Stay tuned for flash fiction, news, and occasional free stuff!

Brian Knight