So you can read my books

Thursday, September 23, 2010


{"I have the heart of a child.

I keep it in a jar on the top shelf."

- Robert Bloch (author of PSYCHO.)}

{Samuel Clemens, ghost, here.

I'm honoring Roland's entering Angela McCallister's BLOGFEAST :

It is from his YA urban fantasy, CAPTAIN OUTRAGEOUS. The setting is New Orleans just prior to Hurricane Katrina.

We find the Yankee street orphan, Victor Standish, having just saved his life from the Victorian ghoul, Alice, by promising to lead her to a meal of fat, juicy drug dealers.}

The night mists curled all around the two of us. I looked up at the full moon that seemed to be warning me with hollow eyes.

It would have made a great scene in a horror movie except there was no director to yell "Cut!" Besides I didn't think Alice cut her food.

She just chewed it.

Like the creepy fog, she flowed silent beside me. Yeah, no walking for her. She glided beside me without stepping once.

The moon beams seemed to go right through her.

She looked like a goth Alice in Wonderland with her long black Victorian dress, high topped shoes, and black silk gloves that went up past her elbows.

Strange gloves though. There were no fingers to them.

Alice saw where I was looking and spoke in a cultured British accent, "The better to lick my fingers clean after I'm done ... eating."

She was trying to scare me. Doing a hell of a job, mind you, but she was trying too hard. I had to stop this path of words 'cause it was leading to nowhere I wanted to go.

"You have to be careful, Alice. It's not safe out here for a young girl like you."

She pulled up straight and still. "You do know what I am, do you not?"

"Sure. You're beautiful. And that's dangerous on these streets."

She looked at me as if every one of my teeth had fallen out and hit the sidewalk to the tune of "Yankee Doodle Dandy."

Her eyes became slits. "What did you call me?"

"Oh, c'mon. North is North even if it's a dangerous North. So you're a ghoul. Nobody's perfect. But you're also beautiful in an ethereal, haunted way. And on these streets, beauty's a curse."

She cocked her head at me, her long blonde hair becoming a living waterfall. "You speak strangely."

"Look who's talking."

Alice's too-blue eyes studied me. "You talk like an adult."

"Yeah, well that comes from spending most of my time with adults."

I made a face. "No, that's wrong. I spend most of time running from them."

I rubbed the back of my neck. "I guess it comes from me spending all the time I can in a library, reading Homer, Conan Doyle, and Burroughs."

I smiled crooked. "They let you stay in the library as long as you're quiet. And I can stay quiet with the best of them."

Alice's lips twitched. "Not so I notice."

Her eerie blue eyes widened. "Oh, my! Not them. Not now."

I forced myself to slowly turn around, and my heart sank like the Titanic. "Oh, jeez. What is it with the French Quarter? Is this whole place haunted? Who are these things?"

Alice's answer was a hoarse whisper, "Les Bonne Dames."

"All right, maybe I should have asked what are they?"

"Mere memories of malicious will."

"I'm so happy I asked."

Dressed all in white like brides on their wedding days, the ghostly women wore a strange perfume that tickled my nose in all the wrong ways.

They looked at me with angry, hungry eyes, drawing their white shawls about their opening mouths to cover their needled teeth. I remembered something old Suze had told me :

Snatching those shawls would give a thief brave enough to do so power over them. Yeah, like I was going to do something way stupid like that.

Alice glided in front of me and spoke firm. "He is mine."

An odd trilling, not sound, not light, rippled from their mouths, and Alice shook her blonde head. "If I choose to play with my food, it is my concern. Not yours."

The trilling got ugly, and I stepped around Alice. "Well, bring it on, ladies!"

I jerked my thumbs towards my chest. "I'm Victor Standish, and I've fought bullies all my life. You're just better dressed than most."

Alice whispered, "Have you gone insane?"

"Depends on who you ask."

I turned back to them. "Ladies, you just think you're bad. Me, I've fought bad ... like the Amal. You know, those living, hungry shadows."

I pointed past them. "The ones right behind you."

They turned. No more trilling. They screamed. I went stiff.

Shadows, so black they looked like sin given life, oozed from the all the corners of the alley around us. Oh, shit.

I had been bluffing, hoping they would turn and give Alice and me time to split.

It was Les Bonne Dames that split, leaving Alice and me to face the circling shadows, whose forms you could make out in glimpses of slowly moving insect-like legs and clutching sharp pincers.

"We are doomed," sobbed Alice.

I smiled wide. "No way! We're saved. These creeps only eat those who despair."

"I am a ghoul, idiot! I despair each moment of every day."

I saw the Amal slowly close in on us. I ignored them. I jerked a thumb at me, then a forefinger at her.

"Not anymore, Alice. We're a team now. Trust me, we're gonna set the French Quarter on its ear. When folks talk about 'Alice and Victor,' there're gonna be smiles."

A blonde eyebrow arched. "Oh, all right, there'll be lots of fear first. But then, there'll be smiles and sounds of laughter when they start to talk of all the crazy, wild stunts we've pulled."

Alice looked deep into my eyes. "Y-You really mean that, do you not?"

"I'm Victor Standish, and I don't lie."

Alice slowly smiled, her blue eyes sparkling wet, and she spoke softly, "Alice ... and Victor."

Those eyes blinked back tears. "Alone no more."

She wheeled to the suddenly still Amal. "Wretched spirits! Tonight you do not feed on me. Tonight I feed on you."

Alice grew misty, her arms reaching out and drawing back to her chest. The Amal screamed hoarse and were slowly sucked into a laughing Alice like dirty dishwater swirling down into a gurgling drain.

Then, they were gone.

She turned smiling to me. I managed a smile back. Yep, no doubt about it. At first there was going to be lots of fear.


  1. Brrrrr! Got chills reading this. The kinda' macabre writing I love <3 Love the imagery, especially. " black they looked like sin given life..." And I don't know how I can picture a smell, but when you put it this way: "strange perfume that tickled my nose in all the wrong ways" I can't help it.

    Fantastic entry. Bravo! Oh, and that pic is amazing and it should be a book cover.

  2. These lines are great, Roland:

    I looked up at the full moon that seemed to be warning me with hollow eyes.

    "I am a ghoul, idiot! I despair each moment of every day."

    And the "my heart sunk like the Titanic".

    This was a lot of ghoulish fun. Nice job!

  3. Food can be fun - or rather, helpful - depending on your species.

    Love the word play.

    Hey, you could also enter this in the scary blogfest going on tomorrow. I saw it last night in my wanderings. Can't remember.

    Maybe it was Palindrome, or Jen Daiker.

    I'll find it for you tonight after work, if you haven't already got it. I thought I put it in my calendar but I guess not.

    I'm gonna be late, I gotta go.

    Great food entry. Didn't make me hungry for Standish though :) He's a scrapper, that's for sure.


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  5. Great post and good describing with your words.

    At the beginning though you posted a quote. Stephen King also stated something about hearts and jars too.

    "I like to tell them I have the heart of a small boy... and I keep it in a jar on my desk. "

    Not sure whose line came first though.

  6. Ooo . . .creepy. I loved this line, "They looked at me with angry, hungry eyes, drawing their white shawls about their opening mouths to cover their needled teeth." Nice.

    Even Zombies Have Taste

  7. I'm so very glad it's a sunny day here because I'd be seriously creeped out now.

    Loved the line about the teeth falling out to the tune of Yankee Doodle Dandy!

  8. The mood is set beautifully in this scene. Well done!

  9. Way to go Alice and Victor!! What a brilliant team - I love the chemistry and the very oh so very dark humour!! And the dialogue crackles at such a pace too.

    A deadly deranged feast for the eyes and soul! I really enjoyed this thank you!

    take care

  10. Roland~ I'm still figuring out your style, but I'm getting better at it every time I read your words. This scene was well done. I really got into the characters. I even laughed a bit at the end. great job

  11. Well done! I'd rather not have my food talk back to me, but it's all a matter of choice;0)

  12. Hi,

    I posted and it vanished!!!!! Anyhoo, to try again is to air dangerous intent . . .

    This is fabulous play on words, and dialogue to die for.


  13. I like that they become a team! More, great, spooky. NOLA!

  14. I'll never think about my kids just "playing" with their food the same way again! And thanks for the nice comment to my entry. As a blue-eyed brunette, I'm pretending the picture on the top of your blog is me. Maybe I'll make it my screen saver!

  15. Ooooh that was creepy but I liked it. And it's hard to get me to like creepy, so well done!

  16. As always Roland, great descriptions, so many good the interplay between Alice and Victor. Creepy setting, creepy characters..:)

  17. fabulous as always ~ love the creepy/clever combo!

  18. Nice, evocative narrative. I especially like the twists and turns of predator/prey here.

  19. I totally loved this! Yep, no doubt about it. At first there was going to be lots of fear. I would love to hang out with Victor, he's a pretty good kid.

    I love the dialogue, the atmosphere, the creatures, and how Victor was able to give hope in the midst of all his fear.

    You have the best characters. The very best.

  20. I love your descriptions of Alice here. And how she sucked up the Amal like dirty dishwater going down a drain. Beautiful imagery.

  21. At first I had no idea what happening here on your blog. I flashing up and down trying to figure out who wrote this excerpt. FINALLY, found the blurb that said it was from Captain Outrageous.

    I'm not into reading zombies and ghouls but this was really well done. Loved the last line and it made me laugh, "I managed a smile back. Yep, no doubt about it. At first there was going to be lots of fear."

  22. I so admire your powers of description! Bravo!

  23. Roland, you have an unmistakable way of telling a story that could never be confused with anyone elses. (yes, that's a compliment). I am so sorry that I am a day late. I have never forgotten a fest I entered...until now. I have posted anyway, in case you get bored sometime.

  24. I have never encountered creatures like the ones you just introduced in this story. Very original.