The Bargain (flash fiction)

The Bargain

“And do you have a wish?”

“I deeply wish the killer comes to know what he took away from me. The love I shared with her. I want him to know the wonderful person she was and the light she brought into other people’s lives. I want him to know that; to finally understand what he took away from us all as he rots away in the darkness of a cell. That’s what I want.”

“I understand. Consider it done, though you have paid a great price.” the voice said. I stared at the pale reflection in the mirror.

Joanne Fisher

This was written with the prompt deep wishes provided by the Carrot Ranch March 11 Flash Fiction Challenge.

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher

Recent Horror Movie Roundup (article)

Over the last few months I’ve been watching quite a lot of horror movies, essentially trying to catch up with ones I’ve missed of late. I thought I would give you my 12 favourites so far. These are not all necessarily the best movies out there, but they’re ones I quite liked, or ones that resonated with me in some way. I’m going to keep the list to films made in the last twenty years as I’ve also watched a lot of older films like all the Christopher Lee Dracula movies, but I would find them harder to rate against more modern films as they really come from a different era. These films are in no particular order and if there are films you plan to see in this list, but haven’t yet, then there may be spoilers ahead (I’ll do my best not to reveal too much). You have been warned.

1. The Descent (2005)

Woman loses husband and child in a car accident. A year later her friends persuade her to go caving with them. They end up finding a cave that hasn’t been explored for a long time and discover there are bipedal creatures stalking them. Someone compared this film to Alien, if it were set in a cave. A very claustrophobic and dimly lit film. There is a theory that there are actually no creatures and the main character has gone insane…

2. Ready or Not (2019)

Woman marries into rich family to find they have wedding night ritual that involves her randomly selecting a card and the rest of the family playing a game… Unfortunately she selects Hide and Seek and finds her new family are now trying to hunt her down to kill her. Darkly comic with rather violent bloody scenes. Has a brilliant and unexpected ending.

3. The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

An unnamed woman is found in a house where a massacre has occurred. Father and son coroners (in their downstairs medical lab) try to find out how she died and some clues to her identity. As the autopsy continues it gets stranger as they find impossibilities, such as writing on the inside of her skin. A very dark and atmospheric film.

4. Dagon (2001)

The closest to a direct Cthulhu Mythos film we may ever get. This film is not actually based on H.P. Lovecraft’s tale Dagon, but his The Shadow Over Innsmouth. If you like weird fish people and tentacles then this is your movie. Wonderfully atmospheric. Word of advice: don’t watch this film while eating the remains of a fish stew like I did. Just don’t.

5. The Ruins (2008)

A group of American tourists holidaying in Mexico decide to visit some Mayan ruins. Hilarity ensues. Well not really. In fact, not at all. This film will make you suspicious of any plant covered ruins, probably for the rest of your life. There are some really gross bits in this one.

6. Unfriended: Dark Web (2018)

This is a sequel to Unfriended, a film I haven’t seen, but as the characters are completely different from the first one this film stands extremely well on its own. Main character steals a computer from the Lost and Found of a cyber cafe (are they still a thing?). The entire film is seen through the screen of this computer. He is online with a group of friends when he finds a hidden cache of videos on his “new” computer showing quite disturbing and violent acts. Then the original owner gets in touch with him and things start to go haywire as the main character and his friends get enmeshed with a secret cabal on the dark web. A very compelling watch. The main character is a doofus.

7. Midsommar (2019)

After the main characters sister and parents die tragically, she travels to Sweden with her boyfriend and his group of friends. The boyfriend and one of the other friends are anthropologists keen to study a remote Swedish community. The vibe of this film is very much like The Wicker Man (and by this I refer to the original 1974 film) with the main character feeling out of place amongst people who still worship their pagan gods, and like The Wicker Man, a sense of unease begins to build. Stunning cinematography and gorgeous settings. I really liked this one, but as it’s over three hours long you have to invest a lot of time into this one.

8. The Children (2008)

I think this is a remake of a 1980s film. A family gets together for Christmas only to find the children suddenly become ill, and then they become murderous. Confirms my suspicions about children and makes me glad I never became a parent.

9. Raw (2016)

Vegan girl goes to Veterinarian school, but is forced to eat some meat during her first week there. Her body begins changing and she starts craving raw meat. I think you can see where this goes…. There are some really shocking moments in this one. It also shows how older siblings can be really awful people.

10. Teeth (2007)

Comedy horror where a chaste Christian girl discovers she has vagina dentata, or in other words, her vagina has teeth. Hilarity ensues as she uses her “gift” to exact revenge on certain males who have wronged her.

11. The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015)

This is a dark one. It starts with two girls stranded at their Catholic boarding school during the start of the Christmas holidays. The older one is worried she is pregnant, while the younger one is convinced her parents are dead since they have failed to come and take her home. She also believes she is possessed. There is also a second story of a young woman who has escaped from a mental institution. How these two narratives combine and how it is slowly revealed what actually happened during that holiday is unsettling and chilling. Some moments of gory horror.

12. Banshee Chapter (2013)

I deliberately left this one last. I’ve watched it three times now and there’s something about this film I find compelling and terrifying. Loosely based on the H.P. Lovecraft story From Beyond, this movie is full-on Cosmic Horror. A journalist tries to find out what happened to her friend who has disappeared. She uncovers a video of him taking an experimental drug and then finds more video footage of secret government trials of this same drug being used on volunteers in the 1960s. The drug turns their mind into a receiver which lets things from another dimension enter them and wear them as skin. She also uncovers a numbers station that transmits a sequence of letters and numbers that are the same as what people in the video are repeating. In the end she contacts a famous counter-culture author (very much based on Hunter S. Thompson) and they end up searching for the place the numbers are being transmitted from. Disaster ensues. It took a long time to get this film out of my head. The song The Girl in the Window which plays during the closing credits (and one other time during the film) also got stuck in my head. In the end I downloaded and listened to it for days trying to decipher the lyrics… If you’re a sensitive soul like me, this may not be the best film for you…

Anyway I hope you found this article interesting. I’m also wanting to see Underwater (2020) a film with Mythos overtones and starring Kristen Stewart, La Casa Muda (with English subtitles), and Hagazussa (with English subtitles). If anyone knows of where I can find free (or extremely cheap) versions of these please let me know.

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher

She Said (poem)

She Said...


She said I don't care about most people
         but I like you

she said I want to be with you
         forever

she said I love you


*


she said I don't want to come around 
         anymore

she said I thought I loved you once
         but now I'm not so sure

she said I'm sick of you


and I was pushed under
    the dark waves


Joanne Fisher



This was previously published on my blog in June 2018.

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher

Daddy by Sylvia Plath (poetry)

"Daddy" by Sylvia Plath

You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time--
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
Big as a Frisco seal

And a head in the freakish Atlantic
Where it pours bean green over blue
In the waters off beautiful Nauset.
I used to pray to recover you.
Ach, du.

In the German tongue, in the Polish town
Scraped flat by the roller
Of wars, wars, wars.
But the name of the town is common.
My Polack friend

Says there are a dozen or two.
So I never could tell where you
Put your foot, your root,
I never could talk to you.
The tongue stuck in my jaw.

It stuck in a barb wire snare.
Ich, ich, ich, ich,
I could hardly speak.
I thought every German was you.
And the language obscene

An engine, an engine
Chuffing me off like a Jew.
A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.
I began to talk like a Jew.
I think I may well be a Jew.

The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna
Are not very pure or true.
With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck
And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack
I may be a bit of a Jew.

I have always been scared of you,
With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
And your neat mustache
And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You--
 
Not God but a swastika
So black no sky could squeak through.
Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.

You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that, no not 
Any less the black man who

Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.

But they pulled me out of the sack,
And they stuck me together with glue.
And then I knew what to do.
I made a model of you,
A man in black with a Meinkampf look

And a love of the rack and the screw.
And I said I do, I do.
So daddy, I'm finally through.
The black telephone's off at the root,
The voices just can't worm through.

If I've killed one man, I've killed two--
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.

There's a stake in your fat black heart
And the villagers never liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through.

12 October, 1962

Sylvia Plath died this day in 1963. This is one of her more well-known poems.

Beyond Reach (poem)

Beyond Reach

I meet her in the deeps

seaweed in her hair

and she smiles at me

tantalising promises

every time I reach out

she escapes from my touch

when I’m on the beach

she is there by the waters edge

she beckons to come closer

but once I approach,

she slips back into the sea

the waves, she says to me,

the waves are relentless

once you find yourself

going under

you are forever lost

among the kelp and sea-water

Joanne Fisher

Second stanza begins “when I’m on the beach”. Third stanza begins “the waves, she says to me”.

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher

Darkness III (poem)

Darkness III

the black dog

visits, an

old familiar

friend, most

are with

someone

they love, yet

all i have

is this, just

my demons

working me

over, left

to myself

my music

cradles me

Joanne Fisher

I had plans to do my 2020 review, but I’m not in any state to do that right now. Maybe tomorrow…

As WordPress chooses to publish my poetry with no stanza breaks, no matter what I try, here are were the breaks are: the second stanza begins with “friend, most”, the third stanza begins with “they love, yet”, the fourth stanza begins with “me demons”, and the last stanza begins “to myself”. Every three lines basically…

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher

The Thinning of the Veil (Day 13, flash fiction)

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The Thinning of the Veil

“It is on Samhain the veil between the Land of the Living and the Land of the Dead becomes the thinnest.” The witch said. As she said these words, I could once again see my lost loved ones standing there before me as though a fog had been lifted. “Is there anything you wish to say to them?”

“Just tell them I love them, I miss them terribly, and that I hope to see them all again one day.” I told her. She nodded at my words.

“They miss you too.” I smiled sadly at her words, and then I walked back into the darkness.

Joanne Fisher

This was written with the prompt Day 13 – Thinning of the Veil provided by Sammi Cox’s 13 Days of Samhain.

This prompt challenge was fun and I’ve never done anything like this before. Thanks Sammi Cox for all these prompts.

Happy Samhain/Halloween! It’s almost over here.

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©2020 Joanne Fisher

Dumb Vampires 11 (fiction)

Dumb Vampires

11

The three of them were watching television. Body bags were being brought out of Sarah’s house. There also seemed to be innumerable police there.

“No wonder I can’t get anyone to come over if they’re all watching this! What few friends are left anyways…” Sarah complained.

“I’m hungry! And we’re out of blood.” Britney replied. Freya sighed.

“Well I told you this would happen.” Freya reminded them. “I’ll go somewhere and bring back some food.”

“Can’t we just order in. Like for some pizza and eat the guy that delivers it.” Britney suggested.

“Missing pizza guys are one way they could find us. It’s better if I just randomly grab someone off the streets.” Freya answered.

“Well if you’re going out, could you bring back some tequila as well?” Britney asked.

“Tequila? You don’t need tequila. You’re a vampire now for goodness sake.” Freya told her.

“Yeah, but I want some tequila.” Britney responded.

“I wouldn’t mind some too.” Sarah chimed in. Freya sighed again. Maybe I should just get in the car and drive off, Freya thought.

“Fine. Sarah, you come with me and get the tequila, and I’ll take care of the sustenance.” Freya decided.

“Wahoo! Tequila!” Britney exclaimed while doing her little tequila dance, which consisted of her gyrating her body as she sang the world tequila.

“Come on Sarah.” Freya said as she walked towards the door.

“What about me?” Britney asked.

“You just hold the fort.” Freya advised. Britney screwed up her nose.

“Fort? I thought this was an apartment.” Britney replied.

“It’s an expression.” Freya told her while wanting to repeatedly smack her head on the door. She left the apartment with Sarah following.

Outside Freya noticed a car sitting there she hadn’t seen before. When they got to their own car, Freya regarded it.

“Have you seen that car before?” Freya asked Sarah once they had both got in. Sarah shook her head.

“No.”

“There are two men sitting in that car watching the building. We need to keep an eye on them.” Freya warned her. “We may have to leave this place very soon I suspect.”

“Okay.” Sarah replied. Freya started the car and they drove off. Sarah looked at the other car as they passed it. There seemed to be two men in that car, one older and one younger. Both wore glasses. They both glanced at her.

Once they got to an area with stores they parked the car. Sarah went to find some tequila, while Freya went in search of victims.

“Just get the tequila, no freelancing!” Freya advised. Sarah nodded.

A short time later Sarah came back with two large bottles of tequila. She saw that Freya had already brought back two people with her and was waiting. Sarah walked up to them. She wondered if the man and the woman waiting beside Freya had been charmed.

“This is Sarah.” Freya told the other two.

“Hi Sarah.” the man said. He was tall and had dark skin. “I’m Lewis.” Britney set the bottles down and then shook his hand. It was very warm.

“Hi Lewis.” Britney replied.

“Your hands are cold.” Lewis commented.

“It’s poor circulation.” Freya chipped in.

“So apparently we’re having a party! I see you’ve brought the drinks.” Lewis said smiling.

“Yep.” Sarah replied.

“And this is Sharlene.” Freya said. A short woman with long dark hair then shook Sarah’s hand. Her skin was very soft.

“Hi Sharlene.” Sarah said.

“Hi.” Sharlene replied, seeming rather shy.

“Now we all know each other, shall we get in the car?” Freya suggested.

“Sounds like a great idea.” Lewis replied.

They all got into the car and drove back to the apartment. Once they arrived, Freya parked the car behind the one she had noticed before. This time it was now empty. She sat there motionless for a short time and then turned to the others.

“I need to check something out. It might be nothing. Could you all wait in the car until I get back?” Freya asked.

“Sure, but don’t you need me?” Sarah asked. Freya shook her head.

“No, leave it to me.” She got out of the car and walked off in the direction of the apartment.

“What’s all this about?” Lewis asked after a time. Sarah turned around and looked at them both in the back seat. They both looked uncertain. She smiled at them.

“It’s nothing really. It’s just that there are two guys that have been harassing her, and she thinks they might be here.” Sarah explained. Lewis nodded thoughtfully.

“I can help if she needs it. It’s not a good idea for her to face two guys on her own.” Lewis commented. Sarah nodded and smiled at him again.

“It’s just a misunderstanding really. She won’t be in any danger.” Sarah replied. Not long after she said that there was an explosion of glass from above and Freya dropped to the ground. She suddenly got up and ran to the car, she then quickly got in and started the car up.

“We’ve really got to go!” Freya said as she put her foot on the accelerator and quickly drove off.

“What about Britney?” Sarah asked.

“They got her. I’m sorry.” Freya replied.

“Britney’s gone?” Sarah exclaimed. She felt tears beginning to fall down her face. “Not Britney!”

“Can I ask what’s going on? You fell down several floors and don’t have a scratch on you. And what do you mean Britney’s gone? Did they kill your friend? What sort of business are you two into?” Lewis asked in a panic. Sarah turned round gazed at him. “AND WHY IS SHE CRYING BLOOD?” This time he screamed.

“Be quiet.” Freya replied as they sped through the streets.

“Could you slow down please?” Lewis asked.

“Yeah let us out!” Sharlene suddenly screamed. She tried opening the door on her side but it was locked.

“Stop the car and let us out!” Lewis demanded. “I don’t want to know what you two are involved in and I don’t wished to be involved.” To everyone’s surprise Freya brought the car to a screeching halt.

“Please let us out.” Sharlene implored while sobbing and shaking uncontrollably. Freya turned round and grabbed her head. In an instant she snapped her neck and Sharlene fell lifelessly to the seat.

“MY GOD YOU’VE KILLED HER! LET ME OUT NOW!!!” Lewis screamed. Freya grabbed him and did the same. She then turned around and started the car up.

“Where are we going?” Sarah asked her.

“We’re leaving the city. At least we’ve got some food for the journey now.” Freya replied. She put her foot on the accelerator and they sped off down the dark streets again.

Sarah looked regretfully at the two bodies now slumped lifelessly on the back seat.

to be continued…

Joanne Fisher

Previous chapters list: Dumb Vampires

It took a while for me to get around to continuing this story. At this stage it should only be around 15-16 chapters, but that said it may take longer to tell the story than I think it does, so for all I know it may end up being 20 or more chapters… You can never tell sometimes.

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©️2020 Joanne Fisher