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

BONES III

Perfect. Just in time for Halloween! 🙂 the Kindle version of Bones III is now available on Amazon!! I have a story in this collection entitled “Hitchhiker.”
Do you remember that micro-fiction piece, “Hitchhiker” that I wrote for FF? Well, I decided to expand the story and you can now read the longer version in this anthology. 🙂

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There are bones of the dead everywhere, and they’re sharp. Under your feet as you walk across your yard, in the cement of buildings, under the foundation of your home, in the coffee you drink, in the food you eat. Science estimates 100 billion human beings have lived and died. There are bones everywhere. There are skeletons everywhere, from universities to unnamed places we really don’t want to know about. We love skeletons as we are walking skeletons. There’s an old phrase about skeletons in the closet. What if the skeleton in your closet is real? When we look at strangers, friends and family we fail to see the skull behind the face. And the eyes of skulls are dark and deep. These works of art, poetry and short stories cut deep. To the bone.

Featuring the works of

James S. Dorr
Mary Genevieve Fortier
Robert Edward Petras
C. Rowe
Brian Barnett
Mathias Jansson
Judith Roney
DJ Tyrer
Patricia Anabel
Jerry Langdon
Lemmy Rushmore
Richard King Perkins II
Judith Skillman
Jane Blanchard
Alex S. Johnson
David Slater
David S. Pointer
Lemmy Rushmore
DJ Tyrer
Michael Tugendhat

Tonya L. De Marco
Rachel Anding
R.T.Sirk
Matthew Wilson
Essel Pratt
Alessandro Manzetti
Magenta Nero
Russ Bickerstaff

Scáth Beorh
T Maxim Simmler
Steve Foreman
Phil Sloman
John Ledger
Alexander Sawyer-Irish
Dona Fox
David Schütz II
K.Z. Morano
Sheldon Woodbury
Kerry E.B. Black
Michael Kellar
Josh Pritchett
John W. Dennehy
Barry Rosenberg
Roger Cowin
Lesa Pascavis Smith
Doug Rinaldi
Michael Faun
Mike Jansen

edited by James Ward Kirk

cover art and illustrations by Jerry Langdon

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

Pittsburgh Writer Best Horror Fiction

THE PITTSBURGH WRITER RECOMMENDS 100 NIGHTMARES

read the best fiction

http://pittsburghwriter.net/horror.htm

Don’t forget to view the other recommended indie books on their page. All recommendations are evaluated on the merits of originality, writing achievement, and entertainment value. Thank you. 🙂

K.Z. ❤

The Din from the Garbage Bin

Copyright-Kent Bonham

Copyright-Kent Bonham

While walking home, Anne heard the disturbing din from the garbage bin.

At the back of her apartment building were oversize rats gnawing at something.

Tampons lay there like small gutted animals. Week-old blood and cottony innards spilled across the pavement, filling greedy snouts and thick hairy tongues.

Disgusted, Anne tried to shoo the freak rodents away.

The vampiric vermin hissed at her, their eyes crimson coals of hatred burning through the darkness.

She ran up to her apartment and bolted the door.

Her fingers failed to reach the switch as the glowing red eyes came rushing towards her thighs.

New story — Demonic Deluge in Hellnotes Horror in a Hundred

Hi! Check out my recent 100-word story, “Demonic Deluge” in Hellnotes Horror in a Hundred 🙂

Horror in a Hundred – Demonic Deluge by K.Z. Morano

Please share/like on FB or tweet the story! Thanks! ❤

I have quite a few stories in Hellnotes. Check out some of the links to my other stories there as well:

Horror in a Hundred – Homecoming by K.Z. Morano

Horror in a Hundred – If Wishes Came True by K.Z. Morano

xo

Demonic Possession- I won the Editor’s Choice Award!

Reblogging this post to share that I had won the Editor’s Choice Award for my story in this collection. 🙂 It’s such an honor… and what an awesome birthday present for me! 🙂 Congrats as well to author T.S. Woolard and to everyone included in this fine anthology. 🙂

The Eclectic Eccentric

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Beware demons. They live amongst us and within us.

Hi! The Kindle version of Demonic Possession is now available on Amazon. Various poets, writers and illustrators cover one of the most hair-raising themes ever.
My story, “The Hole in Her Soul” is featured in the anthology. This is actually one of my favorite themes. Scary stuff. 🙂
You can grab a copy at Amazon.com The Paper version will be available soon. Please don’t forget to leave a review! 🙂

xo

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Thank you, Dee!

Thank you so much, Dee, for joining the blog blast for 100 Nightmares. 🙂

Read her post here

I met Dee through Friday Fictioneers. Even in her works of fiction, you can tell that she likes writing about life and relationships… masterfully capturing the humor, the horror, the difficulties, and the beauty of it all.

Like me, she enjoys the challenge of flash fiction. Dee has written some short stories and is currently working on the first chapters of her novel! I’m very excited for her. 🙂

Visit Dee at http://40again.com/ to read some of her stories.

Thank you, Padmini!

Thank you, Padmini, for finding time to share 100 Nightmares on your blog. Thank you for the kind words as well. 🙂

See her post here (join blog blast here)

Padmini writes poetry, short fiction, haiku and haibun.
Occasionally, she also writes 100-word stories for Friday Fictioneers.
You can find some of her works in online haibun and haiku journals.

I was really touched because even though we rarely have time to visit each other’s blogs these days, she’s here to lend me a hand when I need it. Awww. I really did meet a lot of wonderful people through this blog. ❤

Visit her at http://call2read.com/