Thursday, October 3, 2013

Temporary Anne: A gothic horror novel by Briane F. Pagel, Jr.

DAY FIVE of the Blog Tour!  As you know, I'm writing a short story, LIVE, as it were, based on YOUR suggestions.  We're up to part 8!
(PART ONE appeared on Tina Downey's Life Is Good, PART TWO on Andrew Leon's Strange Pegs, and if you didn't catch either, click here to read PART ONE and HERE to read PART TWO. Then Part Three was on Laws Of Gravity,  Part Four was on Rusty Carl's "The Blutonian Death Egg," and Part Five was on my own story blog, lit. Part Six was on Jessica Bell, Author's site.  Part Seven was on Speculative Fiction Author Sandra Ulbrich Almazan's blog,

 and now on to...



***FINISH IT****

I'm thinking.

***FINISH IT****

The baby spiders...


The baby spiders swarm out of their sacs by the millions, and they're all different sizes, some as large as a small child, some as small as the tip of a man's finger, but the important thing is, at least from my perspective, that there are far too many of them to count, or to ever hope to stop them.


I'm at the bottom, maybe, of the pit -- as far down as I can go.  Below me is only blackness, dark, impenetrable, a lack of color so absolute that it looks solid.

Above me I hear bagpipes, their whirling dirge-ish wail appropriate for what I know is about to happen:

The end of humanity.

When I look up, the top of the pit is a tiny, tiny speck, smaller than imaginable.  I am unfathomably deep down here, and I can only hope.

***EH? WHAT???****

...that the spiders are fast enough to reach it.  From farther above the muted echo of what must be a war going on in the auditorium where just minutes ago I was to receive the highest honor anyone in our doomed civilization

***HA HA HA****

...can hope for.

The baby spiders swarm up and up and up, drawn by the bagpipe music, towards the Bearded Man.  I can see him in the flare of his Kindle Jetpack Grapple Hook Reader, and I can see the two remaining mes there, the one trying to help the Bearded Man fight the baby spiders.  He is playing the bagpipes madly, from what I can tell, their wail growing and growing and the pipes shooting out rays that powder the baby spiders into nothingness, that make them burst into flares of color as they blow up.  One of the mes has a torch of sorts and he is waving it into a tsunami of baby spiders that climbs the walls -- walls themselves being turned into nothingness by the Bearded Man's bagpipes, as the pit widens around them and spiders fall off walls that are no more, a rain of baby spiders down upon me, where I crouch, hidden, on the lowest web I can find.

I feel something on my leg, something reaching out of the dark abyss.

I turn my attention from the baby spider assault, from what is going on above me, and look down.

A tentacle has grasped my ankle.

Another tentacle snakes out of the dark, and before I can cry out it grabs me around my mouth.

I am being pulled down, through the web.

As I look, above me, the monstrous wall of baby spiders overwhelms the torch-bearing me and pulls him away from the Bearded Man, who spins around and is himself overcome by spiders, too, the writhing crawling manylegged manyfanged manyeyed mass moving as one to wash over him.

A yell echoes down from the top of the pit.

"Happy NUKE YEAR!" it says.

The me that escaped has a nuclear weapon? 


Then I am in the darkness and as I am pulled into it, as this darkness that is more than an absence of light below me, it is like a physical thing, as it envelopes me I see the baby spiders continuing their swarm up to the world I came from, the world that soon will be scorched by atomic fire and then overwhelmed by poisonous growing-giant spiders.

I have done this.

I have let these monsters loose.

And I am face-to-face with the first one: I can barely see the darkness like viscous fluid around me, but I am looking into the face of The Beast, one of the faces of The Beast, its giant eye staring at me as it pulls me to it.

Other things drop into the darkness around me: THUD! THUD! THUD!  There is a squirming, a gloppy messy sound and a quick scream and then I am face to face with an even worse monster: in the dimness I can barely make out a face like my own but twisted and droopy: It is spiderwebme, and it is being pushed towards me by the baby spiders, who have carried it down here to me.

I start to scream as The Beast pulls with its arms at the spiderwebme, a tentacle pressing it against me even as The Beast's arms somehow pull it apart, and before my mind can process what is happening the spiderwebs are pulled out and the me -- sallow, limp -- is pushed against me.

There is a squishy moment where I have memories of standing on the web behind The Bearded Man, where I can recall feeling my bones and muscles replaced with spider silk, and where I can remember that I am being held against the maw of The Beast, and then I am through that moment.

A glow appears behind me.  All it serves to do is push the darkness back just enough that I have a more-perfect view of The Beast's eye.

I can barely breathe.  I am held here while the spiders help the one me that got away destroy my life, everyone's lives, miles above me, and nobody can help.

"I'm here to help," a voice says behind me.

"About time you got here," another voice, one I recognize as The Bearded Man, says.

"You knew I'd show up sooner or later," the Voice says.

***WHAT IS****

"Because Betty White appears in everything, eventually," the Voice says, and I realize that the glow is from her lightsaber.


I... gasp...already .... aaargh.... DID.


I already am.

OK! So Sandra added perhaps the ultimate twist;  Readers, you get to help Jess decide what happens next!  Only two installments left, so leave your comments and say what you think should happen!

You already know that "Temporary Anne" has won rave reviews for its story of a woman too evil to simply go to Hell when she dies, and you can get her story for just $0.99 by clicking here, but there's also a SPECIAL OFFER today only:

The short stories here will introduce unforgettable people living remarkable lives. Cowboys wander in a timeless desert. Scientists meet in secret to plot a new way to get attention, and money, from people. A man and his would-be lover try to find lions on safari, and more. The people and places in this book spring to life fully-formed and full of anxiety and imagination. They worry about the time they have had and the time they have left. They bury their loved ones and look for new friends. They talk and laugh and hope and cry and die, while their friends and family and enemies and Gods watch them, seeing, in their faces and actions and fears, a portrait of just exactly how life looks.


Briane P said...

Thanks for putting this up, Jess!

Everyone who reads -- I forgot to mention that you can get my collection of short stories, "Just Exactly How Life Looks," free today! Cut & Paste this link:

Pat Dilloway said...

An epic lightsaber duel with Betty White! Until you give her a Snickers bar and she changes into someone else.

Andrew Leon said...

Betty White with a lightsaber? I'm not sure I can follow that up. I guess I'll have to "think on it."

Briane P said...

Like I said: Sandra really upped the ante on you all. I love this story.

Tina said...

I can't believe you picked Betty White...but then again, I totally can. I mean bagpipes that disintegrate walls are pretty out there so why not throw Betty White into the hole with a light saber...but I'm brain dead, so like Andrew, I'm going to think about it.
Tina @ Life is Good

Briane P said...

Tina -- Sandra came up with Betty White. I can't claim credit for that, anymore than I can for Andrew's disintegrating laser bagpipes. My main contribution was making the protagonist amazingly handsome, like if you squared Ryan Gosling.

Rusty Webb said...

Please let there be a suckers bar in this. Please.

Rusty Webb said...

Stupid autocorrect *snickers* bar

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