Bad Neighborhood

Hi! The paperback version of Bad Neighborhood is now available on Amazon. 🙂

http://www.amazon.com/Bad-Neighborhood-Fox-Emm/dp/0997084103

This splatterpunk anthology is for extreme horror fans. It includes a reprint of my story, “Hitchhiker”.

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A themed anthology for extreme horror fans.In this chilling horror collection, 29 writers and poets have come together to share tales of the grotesque, the supernatural, and more. Their words will pluck you from your comfort zone and leave you for dead, or worse. Have you ever considered where evil bides its time when it’s not outside your door? What disturbing locale could make it feel safe? We’ve all heard that home is where the heart is, but alas, that heart is sometimes racing…
We hope you live in a good neighborhood.

Contributors Include:

  • Richard Ayre
  • Louisa Bacio
  • Charlotte Baker
  • Rudy Barrett
  • Roger Beckett
  • John L. Davis IV
  • Fox Emm
  • Norbert Gorá
  • Kathryn M. Hearst
  • LinnieSarah Helpern
  • Matthew J. Hockey
  • Adam S. House
  • Neil Hudson
  • Mac Jones
  • Ariel Klontz
  • John McGuiggan
  • Malachy McDermott
  • Jonathan Moeller
  • K.Z. Morano
  • Lori Myers
  • Rachel Nussbaum
  • Matthew O’Leary
  • Riley J. Pierce
  • Benjamin Sperduto
  • Luke Schamer
  • L.B. Shimaira
  • Sharon Twizell
  • Donald Jacob Uitvlugt
  • Hugh Warren
  • Jenna Weaver
  • Josh Wilson

xox

K.Z. ❤

SpaSpa Book Awards: Best Drabble Award

Hey! It looks like I won the Best Drabble Award with my story, “Google Search History”. This is awesome and so unexpected. 🙂 This is actually a very old drabble that I wrote for Friday Fictioneers.


2014 Self-Published and Small Press Awards

Congratulations to all the winners of the SpaSpa Book Awards!

Thank you ❤

xox
K.Z.

Google Search History
by K.Z. Morano

MAY

two receipts identical jewelry husband’s pocket

signs that my husband is cheating

telltale signs husband having affair

how to tell my husband have mistress?

JUNE

why men cheat?

marriage advice rekindling passion

sexy lingerie shop

tips better sex

how to get rid of husband mistress

JULY

investigators infidelity

private investigator Chicago

THIS MONTH

coping infidelity

am I depressed?

how to handle depression

suicidal thoughts

LAST 7 DAYS

poison for drinks no taste

tasteless colorless poison

where to buy arsenic

TODAY

how to chop body

tips on chopping meat

how to get rid of carpet stains DIY

Undead Legacy

Readers of hardcore horror and zombie fiction, Undead Legacy is now Available on Amazon!!! 🙂

You stir early, removing your head from the beaten pillow. Your home is silent. The familiar, everyday noises that introduce you to the beautiful morning are absent. The dog barking, the neighbour’s irritating car alarm, the flush of the toilet – all missing. After stumbling down your hallway, stepping into your slippers and avoiding the rug that always attempts to break your neck, you open the front door, adjust your eyes, yawn and…
You scream.

The world before you is chaos, mayhem, absolute anarchy. No…it’s an apocalypse. A zombie apocalypse, where the living dead rule and humans are a tasty, but pesky afterthought. You look to your left and see a group of the undead. Your dog is massacred, mercilessly shredded between them like a sloppy, gore soaked entrée. Their eyes lock onto you. You’re dessert. You gulp, pee your pants, panic…what do you do?

From JEA Wetworks comes Undead Legacy, an anthology of undead horror. Featuring 23 stories and poems from some of the best writers in the genre today. Whatever your view on the undead – modern, old school, classic, fast, slow – there’s something for everyone in Undead Legacy. With two very special forewords from Terry M. West and Richard Laymon artwork aficionado Steve Crisp, Undead Legacy looks to cement its place in horror literature for years to come.

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The Sirens Call – Issue #19 – ‘Whispers in the Dark’ Celebrating Women in Horror

Hi! I’m very happy to announce the release of The Sirens Call – Issue #19 – ‘Whispers in the Dark’ Celebrating Women in Horror.

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The publication contains 125 pages of fiction, artwork, and poetry from several talented female authors, artists and poets, and the great news is … you can DOWNLOAD THE MAGAZINE FOR FREE!

Click to access SirensCallEZine_Feb2015.pdf

“The Murder of Cassie Hartford” is the second short story that I’ve written since I started this blog. I like this story and I’m very proud to say that it has found a home in this very special issue along with the works of many wonderful women in horror!!

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Cover Reveal: Undead Legacy

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COMING THIS MARCH!!

You stir early, removing your head from the beaten pillow. Your home is silent. The familiar, everyday noises that introduce you to the beautiful morning are absent. The dog barking, the neighbour’s irritating car alarm, the flush of the toilet – all missing. After stumbling down your hallway, stepping into your slippers and avoiding the rug that always attempts to break your neck, you open the front door, adjust your eyes, yawn and…

You scream.

The world before you is chaos, mayhem, absolute anarchy. No…it’s an apocalypse. A zombie apocalypse, where the living dead rule and humans are a tasty, but pesky afterthought. You look to your left and see a group of the undead. Your dog is massacred, mercilessly shredded between them like a sloppy, gore soaked entrée. Their eyes lock onto you. You’re dessert. You gulp, piss your pants, panic…what do you do?

From JEA Wetworks comes Undead Legacy, an anthology of undead horror. Featuring 23 stories and poems from some of the best writers in the genre today. Whatever your view on the undead – modern, old school, classic, fast, slow – there’s something for everyone in Undead Legacy. With two very special forewords from Terry M. West and Richard Laymon artwork aficionado Steve Crisp, Undead Legacy looks to cement its place in horror literature for years to come.

After all, a Legacy is timeless…

UNDEAD LEGACY

edited by Stuart Keane and Scott Essel Pratt

Cover art by Mark Kelly

with my zombie tale and stories by brilliant authors Roger Cowin, Magenta Nero, T.s. Woolard, Doug Rinaldi, Dona Fox, Anthony Crowley, Lori R. Lopez, Kent Hill, and many more.

UNDEAD LEGACY
isn’t your regular zombie book. This collection is sure to deliver several of the most original takes on the walking dead.

I’m baaack!! :)

Hello. I’m back! 🙂 I’ve survived yet another devastating typhoon here in the Philippines… I hope you’re safe and well.

I have great news for fans of horror! The Kindle Version of BONES III with my Editor’s Choice Award-winning story “Hitchhiker” is currently FREE from Friday – Sunday! ($0.00)

Grab your copy and if you liked the book or my story, don’t forget to leave a review. The authors would really appreciate it. Thank you so much and enjoy!

xox
K.Z. ❤

http://www.amazon.com/Bones-III-James-Ward-Kirk-ebook/dp/B00OU6O85S

Throwback Tales: The Hole in Her Soul

The Hole in Her Soul
By K.Z. Morano

Every night, spirits visit her bed like an orgiastic parade of shadows… taking turns in penetrating the hole in her soul. She’s sad and vulnerable. She used to fake it in school, lying on the floor, rolling her eyeballs and mimicking an epileptic seizure. She would gibber in an alien tongue and spout sinister phrases like “worship me” or “I will kill you”… Unoriginal, but it gets them every time. She has a histrionic personality… an attention whore just like me.

Tonight, it’s my turn. I slip inside her hungry, hospitable hole and she fits perfectly like a skin glove. There’s just a kind of softness in the female body that I like. So I make her pick up the knife and start mutilating the most tender parts… her breasts, her nipples, the delicate inside of her thighs… She chews on the meat and it saddens me that there’s no one around to witness.

I try to think of her body as an easy-to-use rented vehicle. Eventually, I’m going to have to turn her over to the others. I don’t own her. But I want to. So I leave a mark. Her fingers tremble as she carves my name on her belly. We have fun for a little while. We do the things that she likes. Like going to church…

Everyone eyeballs the shabbily dressed lady as she walks down the aisle in the middle of ‘The Fraction’. She’s all skin and bones now. Cuts mar her arms and there are eggplant-colored bruises on her pallid skin. Cobwebs of saliva drip from her palsied mouth. She walks with a limp because I’ve kept her for myself for several days and we’ve been having so much fun together.

As the priest breaks the unleavened wafer of Christ, she grabs one of the small crucifixes and I make her pleasure herself with it. Horrified gasps leave every throat; the faithful’s faces whiten. People make a huge deal out of it. I love it. The last thing I want is to fade into anonymity. Prying hands start grabbing her arms and I fight them off with the strength of ten men. Incoherent prayers bounce off the church’s walls as the people mutter Hail Mary’s and the Lord’s Prayer as if their tongues are on fire. For once, they actually mean it.

The priest starts sprinkling holy water on us and it irritates me. I decide to put on a show and make her skin seethe into pink mist, exposing some skeleton. The praying stops only to be replaced by terrified cries. Some people hide, shaking behind the pews; the others start rushing towards the exit. It takes a lot of strength from me, but I seal the heavy wooden doors by sheer will. I want… no, I need an audience. When my laughter pours out from her mouth, the sound is like breaking mirrors. I want to do more things, to show them more tricks. I want them to tremble… to question their faith. But more than that, I just want to be noticed.

The other spirits use this body for small acts… unlike me, they refuse to go all-out. They’re more concerned about lingering in this world… using her physical form as a tool to exact their petty vengeance, to cling to earthy possessions and to relive the pleasures that they’ve missed. So they use her up little by little, masking themselves behind a diagnosis of psychosis. They carefully preserve her body, maintaining its undernourished yet active state. She deserves better than that. She deserves better than to live her life in between episodes of mania and depression and states of fugue. She deserves to be immortalized.

The racks of candles collapse and scarlet and tangerine tongues lick their way towards the altar. The life-size crucified Christ falls face down onto the ground. Soon, her physical body fails me. So I allow her to faint as several men pin us to ground. People try to put out the fire. The priest starts yelling for me to get out. As if he’s so clean… as if I couldn’t see his ugliness from within. He says a prayer and mimicking his voice, I recite it with him. His words are useless to me, though I can deceive him into believing that he had won.

But he’s not the only one attempting to evict me from my new dwelling. The wind screeches in my ears. The other spirits have arrived. They hover above us like a bunch of ectoplasmic hounds fighting over a bitch in heat. Their lugubrious moaning makes the air quiver. The room trembles with their collective rage and the windows start breaking, showering everyone with flying slivers of rainbow-colored glass. Blood patters into streaks on the walls. Like their fallen Christ, people lie face down on the floor. The so-called holy man assumes it’s all me and I can picture his bowels turning into liquid. He screams his abracadabra, mumbo jumbo louder and louder. They place the cross against her chest and squeal: “In the name of Jesus, depart!”

I hold onto her body for as long as I can. She’s more to me now than a breathing puppet to move around with my spectral strings. She’s my home. If I were to leave, I want to be remembered. And I can tell that’s what she wants too. So I gather myself for our final performance.

The people’s satisfying screams splinter the atmosphere, sounding like applause to my ears, as I use the last of my energy to unzip her flesh, slowly… I linger long enough to hear the men’s unholy shrieks as they realize their baptism in her blood while holding onto her crudely severed limbs.

Suddenly, I’m ectoplasm—buoyant, beautiful, as I float and fade into nothingness.

But I stare into the priest’s eyes and catch a glimpse of the abyss.

There is a hole in his soul…

and it’s waiting to be filled.

Copyright: © 2014 K.Z. Morano
Note: First appeared in Demonic Possession, JWK Fiction, July 2014, Editor’s Choice Award

Purchase link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LGWQH1M

Throwback Tales: The Other Child

The Other Child
By K.Z. Morano

My name is Lila. Not that I expect anyone to recognize my name. I am after all, just the “other child”. But I do have a story to tell. And though it may not seem as magical as the candy-colored versions they tell about my brother and sister, it is nonetheless the truth.

I was ten when Hans and Greta came into our lives. They were no more than suckling infants, children of Mr. Higgs whose wife had died of childbirth. I pitied the woman; the babies’— if you could call them that— enormous heads must’ve ripped her apart. Her single reprieve was that she did not live long enough to see what they looked like.

Ugly creatures they were, with limbs gnarled like the branches of an ancient tree and pink eyes that poked out from their massive skulls. Shameful scandals of nature. To have brought them into this world was a sin in itself.

Still, there could be no greater love than that of a mother’s. And it was for my recently widowed mother’s love for me and my baby brother that she had agreed to nurse them. Money was money, after all. And I’d like to think that it was for Mama’s love for us that she had agreed to share Mr. Higgs’ bed as well.

Since they were always suckled first, the creatures grew stout and strong while my little brother grew thin and sickly on whatever that was left. I shall never forget that one afternoon when I came home from the forest with my palms full of berries. I saw Mama staring out the window, a twin’s mouth latched on each of her nipples. They wriggled in horrific delight as they greedily sucked the life from her. Their plump cheeks and snub-noses were smeared with crimson that dripped towards the floor in a rhythmic tap, tap, tap…

“Mama!” She started and looked down at her bloody breasts.

“Goodness,” she murmured absently. “They must’ve been very hungry.”

It baffled me how they were already able to grow a complete set of teeth— they were yellow and needle-like— while my brother still hadn’t any. But then they were always different. The boy’s reddish gaze followed me everywhere while the girl’s stare seemed frighteningly intelligent, as though she had an understanding of the hatred and fear that her presence stirred from within me and enjoyed it immensely.

Great was my relief when Mama declared that she’ll stop feeding them. But the news soon eclipsed my happiness. Mr. Higgs, now impoverished, was to live with us in our tiny cottage. It was hardly surprising. Famine was upon us and Mama was a woman with conscience. What did surprise us all was the sudden death of Mr. Higgs. He was found in the thickets— dismembered, disemboweled and drained of blood.

Mama was inconsolable. It didn’t help that we grew hungrier and poorer with each passing day. Left with nothing but a few crumbs of stale bread, I finally convinced Mama to get rid of the twins. Fewer mouths to feed, I said. And they were always insatiable. And so one night, we took them deep into the woods. The wind stabbed at flesh like icy knives and the barren trees reared like frozen giants. They didn’t cry. The twins simply sagged against the tree like a pair of hideous puppets, holding hands, framed against the background of silver mist.

Whatever Mama did, she did out of love for me and my brother. Not that it helped him much. My brother died anyway, consumed by a sickness. It was too late to save him; the monstrous twins had already stolen what they could from him. It wasn’t long before Mama’s guilt caught up her with her and slowly, she began to lose her grasp on reality…

For me, it was years of struggling with famine, years of caring for my ailing Mama… People were afraid to venture into the woods for fear of the strange beast that lurked there. Though it had never been caught or seen, it always left a trail of blood, bones and bowels.

So grave were my troubles that I was close to forgetting that the twins ever existed. But then they came back, as Mama said they would. We pay for the sins we commit, she said. One day, the tangle of bushes parted and out they came, five years older but no less repulsive. Mama begged me to let them stay. She said we could afford to feed them now and she wanted their forgiveness.

The twins never spoke a word. I suppose there had been no one in the woods to teach them. The fact that they had managed to survive on their own was disturbingly peculiar. Then I looked at them and thought: How utterly silly; they’re so tiny.

Then one afternoon when I came home from the market, a delicious aroma wafted from the kitchen, insinuating its way into my nostrils.

“Surprise…” said a voice, soft and spidery. It was the first time that I heard Greta speak.

Something hissed and crackled in the oven.

“Where’s Mama?” I asked.

When Hans spoke, his voice was deep and hoarse. “Yummy . Yummy.” He rubbed his bloated belly and pointed into the rustling inferno. “Tummy. Tummy.”

It was then that I saw the blood-stained pieces of Mama’s clothing on the floor.

I think I went mad then.

I ran out of the cottage screaming and went as far away as I could, never to return again. News from the old village would still reach me as troubadours sang their versions of the tale, adding candy and gingerbread— distorting the story, syllable by syllable, until the truth lies buried beneath the fantastical lies.

Mama said we pay for the sins we commit. But I think we pay more dearly for the sins we fail to commit. I look at my infant step-daughter, her unfamiliar eyes dark and beady, and I place the pillow on her face.

Copyright: © 2013 K.Z. Morano

Note: First appeared in UGLY BABIES: the Anthology, JWK Fiction, October 2013
Reprinted in BLOOD REIGN LIT MAGAZINE, December 2013
and Republished The Sirens Call – Issue #13 – Women in Horror (Second Annual Edition), February 2014

🙂 Thanks for reading. The Other Child may not be my best but it’s certainly special to me. It was my first ever horror story! Well, flash fiction, since it’s exactly 1,000 words… ^^ It was published in Ugly Babies exactly one year ago. My, my… how time flies. So I guess this is Happy Horror Anniversary to me. 🙂
Five days until Halloween… xox

Throwback Tales: Wooden Lips

Wooden Lips
By K.Z. Morano

The cellar door is a wound, a break on the earth’s skin. It is a gash in the ground where malignant thoughts trickle like blood into the cesspit of my filthy brain. The cellar door is a mouth… the wooden lips of a whore whispering obscenities into my ear, sticking her spectral tongue into my acoustic tunnels and to the roof of my skull to caress murderous designs into being.

She tells me what she wants me to do.

She tells me what I want to do.

She speaks to me even with her lips tightly shut, bolted with heavy metal.

The cellar door is hungry. And her cries follow me even to my sleep, soft fragmented sobs that swell into angry screams as midnight approaches and the moon’s fat face pales from the anticipated terror.

I try to fight her, I swear, every single time.

But then there’s the scratch… the sound of sharp fingernails raking against the door, creating deep cuts into the sensitive sheath of my sanity.

Feed me, she says.

I can hear the seismic growling of her empty belly, persistently reminding me of my duty. I walk towards the door… that other door. I turn the knob cautiously as if the monster were on the other side. The rusty joints creak to reveal the sacrificial lambs, their eyes floating towards me, terror blanching their faces.

I have learned to ignore their fright. It is merely a job that must be done. I pick one, a little boy, this time. As I free him from his shackles, a tiny whimper of protest issues forth from dry cracked lips. But he comes with me, nevertheless, the beautiful bleatless baby sheep, with his skin smooth and tight over his fragile skeleton.

I take him to the kitchen where I carve off that skin. I do it with a blank face, with studied precision. Then I stare into my work—that amorphous figure of glistening pink flesh. Peeled of all pretensions, he is nothing but meat—a sexless, lifeless substance, her evening meal. I take his flayed body outside where stars always over-sprinkle the sky… falsely festive, my co-conspirators, for they have witnessed me doing this for years and years.

I unlock the cellar door, cautiously, reverently. Now that her lips are parted, I can hear her voice more clearly, murmurous sounds of pleasure sliding back and forth in her muddy throat. Her malodorous breath reaches my nose—the smell of the earth’s intestines, the stench of digested matter, of pulped flesh, of decaying bodies.

The meat sticks to my flesh, clings to me as if seeking protection. I drop it into the cellar door, into that gaping mouth and into that throat… that tunnel stretching into eternity. It may take a while to satisfy her. Yes, it may take a very long time. And I have devoted my entire life simply for that purpose. I replace the locks on her lips… those wooden cellar lips, knowing that she’ll be quiet, pacified for now.

Often, I wonder what would come of this, sure that someday, they—all the children that I have fed her—will return, resplendent in their new skin. Will they come for me then? Will they be grateful? Or will they exact their vengeance? Only time will tell.

How long, I wonder, will the locks be able to hold the door?

How long before they come crawling out of her pestilential hole?

My sleep becomes plagued with all these thoughts, my pillows always bloody like butchered sheep. I wash my hands often, over and over, until they are raw. Right now, there is only one thing I know. I serve that voice in my head… the voice of whatever unutterable monstrosity that dwells beneath the cellar door.

Copyright: © 2013 K.Z. Morano

Note: First appeared in Cellar Door Volume II: Words of Beauty, Tales of Terror, JWK Fiction, December 2013 and
Reprinted in Best of Horror 2013, JWK Fiction, August 2014

Sooo… 10 days until Halloween and it just occurred to me that I don’t have any scary stories coming out this month! 😦 However, some of my stories will be appearing in various anthologies in November, December, and of course, early 2015. I’ve been receiving some invitations to write for various anthos and the themes are just so sooo awesome that I find it hard to resist! 🙂 In the meantime, I hope you enjoy some of my previously published pieces. The rights have reverted back to me so I can now post them here on my blog for everyone to read. Thanks for reading the story! 😉 xoxo