IT DRIVES ME MAD

Hello!  I hope you’ve all been well since last we met.

The dog days of summer are upon us, so what better way to cool off than by actually getting hotter: courtesy of horror fiction, that is.  I offer for your reading pleasure my latest tale to appear on Pen of the Damned titled It Drives Me Mad.

If you love short horror fiction, remember to stop by the Pen of the Damned blog each Tuesday as a different member of our writer’s group proffers their talent for your reading pleasure.  There aren’t many things that are free in this world, but we, the Damned, offer our conjurings free of charge – if you don’t count the small bit of soul we siphon in exchange!😉

Kick back, relax and allow my latest yarn to drive you mad…

 

IT DRIVES ME MAD

It drives me mad.

That wet smack.

It is all I ever hear.

I watch them in my shower. Wispy bodies through beaded glass.

He is a strong man. Muscle fibers twitch, bounce within his thighs. The fog does not hide everything; not yet.

I see his face, his head thrown back, eyes clenched as if he is in pain. But I know he is not in pain.

Not yet.

That wet smack drives me mad.

It used to be me in the shower. My wife clings to him now. Legs wrapped around his hips, her perfect feet locked together. Locking her; locking them. He holds her, supports her effortlessly the way I once did; the way I want to.

That wet smack intensifies. His urgent groans fill the stall; my wife remains silent. Fog steals them from me. I am allowed the occasional glimpse of her breast pressed against his chest, the way she used to press against mine.

I am not jealous. I cannot be. This is our lifestyle. We share then come back to one another. But I can no longer come back. I cannot have my wife anymore. Not that way, no longer.

I watch them. Wispy bodies within the billowy fog; within the concealing vapor.

That wet smack.

That wet smack.

Then a thud.

The shower stall erupts in a geyser of red. The glass trickles red; all is red. Now that wet smack turns into a moist suckling.

Moist suckling.

I turn away.

***

The doorbell rings.

I am prepared; I am always prepared.

I greet him, make eye contact as always. It excites them. The eye contact. Knowing you offer your wife so willingly; knowing you offer your wife with such confidence. I lead him upstairs. I lead him to the shower. I watch him undress; he knows the rules. They all know the rules. I watch—I must always watch.

She waits for him in the shower. Perfect body glistening, hair dripping along her back; expectant Goddess. How I once loved to pull that hair; how I once loved to ball it within my fist.

She cracks the stall door open for him, beckoning. Her knowing smile arouses him; her knowing smile cuts me at the knees. He steps inside. The fog claims him; claims them. Water splattering the door as I watch. Beaded bodies through beaded glass. That smack.

That wet smack.

The man is anxious, too anxious. My wife is not pleased.

She ends him.

***

Months.

It has been months since my wife has been mine.

I have lost much sleep wondering how; I have lost much sleep wondering why.

I hear her, the same way I hear her every night; night after night. Her voice echoing down the hall; her voice echoing down my spine. Sweet as ever; suggestive as ever. She does not come out of the shower anymore.

Not anymore.

Tonight as she turns the water on, I imagine her perfect body moving through it. I imagine the water sluicing over her skin. She likes the water hot; she always did. Hot water; hot flesh. It disguises the cold, clammy death she has become.

I hear her calling.

Calling.

But she is not my wife. Not anymore.

I pull the covers over my head; she croons to me.

please

pleeeeeease

I no longer trust who she is; I no longer trust what she has become. I know that if I enter the shower, I am lost.

I will get through this night, somehow. I will get through.

When the doorbell rings tomorrow, I will feed her again.

Even as that wet smack drives me mad.
~ Joseph A. Pinto

© Copyright 2015 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.

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WHITE

Hi everyone!

I’m prone to quiet spells when it comes to social media and posting; I don’t like bludgeoning people with my work.  Sometimes it’s a necessary evil, I know.  Still, it’s not my style.  My silence doesn’t mean I haven’t been crafting, however.  I’m currently putting together my first poetry collection, as well working on a new horror novel.

Speaking of horror, I’d like to share my latest short story, WHITE, which was recently published on Pen of the Damned.  My partner Nina D’Arcangela and I have changed Pen of the Damned‘s format; all stories must now contain a maximum of 1,500 words, down from 2,500.  You should visit our site if you’re not familiar with us; a new story featuring a different Damned author goes live every Tuesday.  And even if you do know who we are, come on down and visit the Damned!

So without further ado, please enjoy my tale, WHITE.

WHITE

They preferred the angry gnash of the storm over the silence.

Like nervous teeth, the panes chattered. The rafters creaked; dust floated down upon their heads.

The man—the man who had been taken in—spoke in a hoarse whisper. “I’ll go. I’ll do it. If it wasn’t for your family, I’d still be out there. Or worse.”

No one answered. No one argued his point, either. Finally, the father spoke. “The shed is about twenty yards back. It’s unlocked.”

The man massaged his crooked chin. “Door swing in or out?”

The father believed it was a good question to ask; this man was sharp. Pride swelled within him. It had been harrowing, but his family had done good, risking their wellbeing to drag the man in from the outside. But a pit burned the father’s stomach. The man had gotten lucky once. Luck would not prevail a second time. “In.”

“Long as the wind didn’t bang it open, I’m good.”

The father pressed his hand against the pane, its surface cooling his fever within. He could see nothing beyond the glass, however. “The generator is in the back, set on blocks. It should be deep enough into the shed to be protected. When you stand in front of it, look down to your right. The gas can will be there.”

“Only one?”

The father felt his family press behind him. Mother’s face stooped lower than the boughs of the snow-laden trees. What remained of them, anyway. She clutched their children—son and daughter—under breasts that hadn’t been touched in years. “Yes.”

“Mm-hmm.” The man knew what that meant. The generator would power the house for another full day, at most. “I won’t allow your family to grow cold. I’ll fill it. When it runs out, we’ll figure out what’s next. Together.”

The man shrugged into his coat, careful not to worsen the tear along the shoulder seam. He tugged his wool hat until it hung low over his brow. He looked at the children, the souls-sucked-dry children. “Together,” the man repeated, not sure for whose benefit he’d said it, and cradled his rifle in his arm.

He reached for the door, but the father seized his hand. “Keep low. Don’t stop.”

The man grunted and was ready. The father twisted the knob. The wind shoved the door aside, and immediately the shrieking swallowed the man as well the snow, the blinding snow. The father threw his back into the door, snaring the blizzard’s icy tendrils in the jam. The storm howled; the panes rattled like tormented bones. “He’ll make it,” the father said, talking to the walls. “He’ll make it.”

The father watched as the man sunk thigh deep into the drift, watched and lost him to the white. The blizzard erased his footprints in one exhale. Then he waited. The minutes passed. “We needed him,” he said to the mother. “It could’ve been me instead.”

“It should have been you instead.”

He exhaled icy smoke, then chewed the inside of his mouth. He slowly turned around, keeping vigil at the pane. Snowflakes clung, mounting and growing ever deeper, white locusts of a great plague. Minutes. Minutes. Minutes passed.

“Gas can’s emptied by now.” The father visualized the man’s progress, the man’s steps. “Priming it…cranking it over…he knows what he’s doing…he knows…”

The children sniffled on the hardened snot clotting their noses. And their mother hugged them close to a heart that had long grown cold.

The father clutched the knob. Waiting. It vibrated in his hand. “Any minute.”

A gust charged the house, a mighty bull outside the walls. The rafters groaned; dust danced upon their heads; small, ghostly marionettes. “Any time now…”

He heard a distant crack. Another trunk snapping. Another tree succumbing to the storm. He thought of his neighbors, the elderly neighbors, for whom he’d once mowed their lawns. “Any…time…now…”

A spirit beckoned from the nether; the man emerged, white, spectral white, coat and hat and legs white, face and brow crusted in wind-driven snow. The rifle slung like a long ice shard over his shoulder. “I told you,” the father said, voice rising like the wind, “I told you!”

The man, mere feet from the door, polluted the drift with a crimson spray. The father jerked from the window as if struck. But his eyes stuck to the pane.

They swirled round the man, the needle teeth, the razor claws, unnatural piranhas of winter’s blight, tearing and cutting as the gale disguised their intentions. The wind kept the man upright, and the drift kept him mired. And they swirled, swirled till the man was no more.

The crimson spray disappeared, the drift a new blank canvas from which to paint. The man’s entrails clung briefly to the pane before slipping away.

He shuddered, the father did, but he would not cry. He covered his mouth. “We lost a good man.”

Then a loud click in the father’s ear. “We lost a good man,” the mother said, “and now we have none.”

The father felt the cold metal against the back of his head. It pushed forward, forcing him toward the door. “We have power now. When it runs out, we’ll figure out what’s next. Together,” the mother said to her children.

“You won’t survive without me.”

“Maybe not. But I sure as hell won’t die with you.”

The rifle burrowed into the base of his skull. He clutched the knob. He would freeze to death without a coat, without the proper clothes. He prayed that would be the best thing to come.

The father stumbled into the maw of the blizzard. It chewed him alive.

“There, there, my babies,” the mother cooed to her children, watching as their father filled the pane. “There, there.”
~ Joseph A. Pinto

© Copyright 2015 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.

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THIS IS WHAT PAULA TAUGHT ME

I came for the benefit of a sick woman

this way, I was told
and I paused

I do not see a sick woman, I said
there, look, I was told

and I did

but I saw no one
save a radiant beauty
eyes cut from gems
sparkling
she twisted to rhythm
and good vibes
of joy
and smiled like a newborn

I came for the benefit of a sick woman,
I repeated

you’re in the right place, I was told

so I sat
ate
hugged
became witness to something

transcendent.

it came time for me to go

are you certain I’m at the right place, I said
yes, of course, I was told, and
we all joined in song

I left
full stomach
fuller heart
no longer counting the seconds
I’m dying
but rejoicing in the breaths
I’m reborn.

(for my cousin Paula)

~ Joseph A. Pinto

© Copyright 2015 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.

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STOLE THE MOON

You stole the moon for me.

I lost myself in the constellations
I traced along your skin
the night becoming a vacuum;
something ours alone.

I bottled your sweet sighs
while you weren’t watching,
memorized the flutter of your eyes
and the songs we kissed to
will play over and over again in my head;

like you.

~ Joseph A. Pinto

© Copyright 2015 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.

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NEW YEAR AND THE GYM

NEW YEAR AND THE GYM

it’s how it goes
raise a glass
or a paper cup
stuff food into your mouth

worry about the calories
when you join the gym
you will turn your back on
three months down the road

but your resolutions
won’t last nearly as long

a grand idea now
they glitter like
ornaments on your tree
soon to be packed away

forgotten and cold in your attic
boxed from the cruelties of winter
still by summer they’ll remain

like your gym membership
a grand idea

but nothing you intended to see through.

~ Joseph A. Pinto

© Copyright 2015 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.

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