Lot’s Crawlers

One of my horror stories is now available in issue 7 of Big Pulp. They even drew up a cover for it!

Here’s the blurb: “A string of grisly murders and missing persons cases puts a young police officer at risk of becoming food for worms in ‘Lot’s Crawlers’ by Joel V. Kela, the featured story in the Winter 2012 issue of Big Pulp (cover art by Ken Knudtsen). This issue also features Michael Andre-Druissi’s alternative history ‘Hitler’s Hollywood’, in which Rita Hayworth’s career takes a strange turn and alters the course of WWII, and ‘Children of an Angry Sea’, a horror tale set in the aftermath of a major Pacific tsunami, by Michael D. Turner. In all, this issue features more than 25 stories and poems, including work by Patricia La Barbera, David Birch, KJ Hannah Greenberg, L.B. Sedlacek, William Doreski, Gerri Leen, Terrie Leigh Relf, Brian Trent, Walter Giersbach, Emanuele Pettener, DeAnna Knippling, F.J. Bergmann, Sean McGrath, Benjamin Kensey, David C. Kopaska-Merkel, Holger Nahm, Catherine Boyle, Tony Haynes, and Frank Skolnik.”

The story is available at amazon both in digital and print formats. If you read it, let me know what you think! Here’s a sample:

Lot’s Crawlers, by Joel V. Kela

Their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. –Isaiah 66:24

###

The old man had been strangled, that was for sure.

He lay sprawled face down in the dinghy, his fishing pole gone and the dirt from his worm container scattered all over the bottom. The two inches of rain they’d gotten overnight had turned this to muddy water, and it sloshed back and forth like coffee as Josh put one foot on the gunnel for a better look. Continue reading

“Dumb John” Published in Print

One of my dark fantasy stories is now available in the Indigo Mosaic Publishing anthology Mytherium: Tales of Mythical and Magical Creatures. It’s available at amazon.com, as well as here.

Anyway, here is a short preview of Dumb John:

***

The moon lingered above the horizon like a grim fingernail. Its horns looked too small to do any real harm, yet its presence pushed against the mind, whispering and reminding.

Dumb John hunched into the coat the widow Jenner had given him for digging Martin’s grave. The harvest wind bit cold, and though John couldn’t see far in the dark, he could hear the rattle of dead leaves on the path. He should have been done hedging the old graveyard and back to St.Anne’s before sundown, but he’d gotten distracted by a family of squirrels. Now he had to round the bluff and cross the old mill bridge at night.

He knew what that meant, what came next.

John clenched the shaft of his sickle and squinted up at the bluff. The villagers said it was haunted, but only John knew the truth of that. Yet he saw no unclean spirits up there, and no vapors or wisps o’ night, only the bare-fingered trees as they stroked the belly of the sky. But that didn’t mean nothing was there. He licked his lips. No, it did not.

He shuddered and kept moving, his hands tightening and loosening on his sickle.

As always when the moon was new, John wondered if it would be tonight. The old priest had promised, and John figured it would happen on an evening like this, chill and black, with the hint of dead things on the wind.

“A turn deserves a turn,” the old priest had said from his deathbed all those years before. “One for the other, as before. Even you can see that, can’t you John? I’ll rise, my son, I will. They won’t hurt you anymore, and I won’t never leave you. You hear me? Never.”

 So John had helped. He had taken the knife and done what was asked, even when the old priest lost his courage and screamed for him to stop. John had wept, but he’d finished the task. He’d thrown the candles into the fire, cleaned up the blood, and sunk the body in the mill pond. He’d kept his word to the old priest. But that man had been no priest at all. No true priest would have bid John do such blasphemy. No true priest would want to cheat God and live forever. John had learned that from Father Mark.

John loved Father Mark.

John’s eye drifted back up to the bluff as he trudged along. The moan of the wind among the birches sent shivers up his spine, and he kissed his crucifix. He tried to say, “Mary protect me,” but only a groan came out. The knot of lips that fronted his jaw allowed him nothing more.

Finally John rounded the bluff and stumbled to a halt. Before him lay Tom’s mill and pond. It belonged to Owen and Annie now, but John still thought of it as Tom’s. The stream coiled through the valley like a whispering serpent, and beside the bridge stood the dam and its thin black waterwheel.

Beyond that lay the mill pond…

***

Go here for more info.

 

Top Ten Space Exploration Lessons Learned from Watching Prometheus

**SPOILER ALERT**
  1. While exploring an unknown planet, always wear your helmet. Especially with dead alien bodies scattered around.
  2. If team members are trapped overnight in an alien ship, have someone stay up to watch their helmet cam footage.
  3. If said team members mysteriously die overnight, have someone rewind and watch their helmet cam footage (at least before sending more people inside, also without helmets).
  4. Don’t split the party.
  5. If you happen to get lost inside a spaceship, and it has already been thoroughly scanned, look at your map.
  6. Flamethrowers are not the first weapon of choice in space.
  7. Axes are even less useful—at least against the ancient aliens which created the human race and the newer squid-aliens you birthed from your own body.
  8. Make sure your medical pods are equipped with procedures for both genders.
  9. Never accept drinks from a robot.
  10. If you launch out on an exploratory mission to question and challenge your creators–don’t name your ship Prometheus.

Cover Art Achieved

So last summer I wrote a horror story set in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan about a guy whose fingers turn into bloodthirsty worms. It’s one of my favorite stories that I have written, and it got accepted by a magazine called Big Pulp (my issue comes out in winter 2012).

Today I saw that art inspired by my story was chosen to grace the cover. Click on the picture to read what the artist, Ken Knudtsen, has to say about how hard it is to draw worms…

Land of the Beast

 

My flash fiction story “Land of the Beast” came out today in issue 18 at NewMyths.com.

This story began as a project in a creative writing class last year, and evolved into its present form. The editor of this ezine said he found it “deeply unsettling,” and I think that sums it up pretty well. If you could use some unsettling, give it a read.

Photo: by Darryl Smith, freelance photographer