Archive for the ‘short fiction’ Category

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I was fortunate enough to be part of an author meet and greet/book signing on Sunday, March 5th in my home town of Menifee, California. The turn-out was great and the level of support from the community was fantastic!

This is one of many photos provided by my good friend Michael Perez, a top-notch inland empire photographer behind fotohaus studios.

Check out fotohaus at http://www.fotohausco.com

He took some great photos of the event, which I will be sharing with you all as soon as they become available.

I would also like to offer a very special thanks to the handful of attendees that signed up to be beta-readers for the sequel to Whispers of the Wakinyan, the work is untitled as of now, but will be the second installment of the ‘The Things that Follow’ series.

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Things have been pretty crazy at the desk of Jim Gammill!

First off, my poem-novella, Not only the Dead is now offered both in print and as a kindle edition on amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/author/jimgammill).

Second, my novel, Whispers of the Wakinyan is in the final stages of editing and should be released in print and ebook formats this month! More announcements will be coming soon, and as a thank you for my loyal followers, I will be posting portions of the first couple of chapters here as a sneak peak of what’s to come.

The journey to see both of these books in print has been an interesting one to say the least and will certainly be the subject of upcoming blog posts.

For now, I would like to share an unfinished portion of the front cover and the back cover synopsis of Whispers of the Wakinyan with the subscribers of jimtgammill.com; I hope that you all like it and as always, thank you for reading!

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  Whispers of the Wakinyan

The Gordons are an ordinary family from Riverside, California. Hank, the family patriarch, is a level-headed accountant that has realized the American dream by marrying his high school sweet heart, Theresa, and happily raising their two children, Joey and Addie. Their lives were soon to be forever changed after witnessing a freak accident during a tour of The Grand Canyon. Upon return from their ill-fated vacation, the family finds itself the target of a malicious Native American spirit.

A haunting chain of events calls in a cast of unlikely allies for the family, all of whom must be ready if anyone is to survive the dark forces that stand against them.

But, as in all things: where there is darkness, there is light.

 

Hey there horror fans,

Another short excerpt from “The Poet” this week. I feel obligated that to let you all know that this section has some foul language and a nasty rape scene, so make sure the eyes of all tiny horror fans are re-directed to something awesome like Gremlins, Ghostbusters, or one of my boyhood favorites Monster Squad!

I hope you all enjoy. I wrote this piece a while back and have always remembered it fondly. It is not perfect, but I feel that due to its content it does have some thread of relevance here at HOTHB.

Best,

Jim

When the smoke stopped rising John took a moment to savor the clean air. Curiosity got the best of him and against his better judgment he dared to peek over the thick branch. His visitors, whom he had identified as a man and a woman based on their occasional coughing were oblivious to his presence. After peering over the ledge he saw a man that he did not recognize. The man stood bundled in a heavy black overcoat that appeared to have a liner made from a plastic trash bag his face was hardened and sculpted by the elements but his deep set eyes shown with the vulnerability and constant fear of a captive animal. The woman was someone he had seen before in the park, John was pretty sure her name was Charlotte. What he was sure of was that she was one of the few unfortunate women indigenous to this park and that because of the terrible ratio of men to women she always had to be on guard, ready to fend off unwanted sexual advances.

“Can you light me up?” she said to her companion as she put a crumpled cigarette in her mouth.

The man dug in his jacket pocket. Emerged with a lighter and lit Charlotte’s cigarette.

“Give me some of that?” He asked.

“Fair enough,” Charlotte smiled, took one last drag, and offered it to the man. “Thanks again for the buzz. I had fun.”

The man shoved his hand in his pocket and leaned against the tree. He sucked a few greedy hits off of the cigarette then thrust his hand out, offering it back to Charlotte.

“Here ya’ go,” the man said as heavy tentacles of smoke crept from his mouth and framed his face.

John watched from his branch as Charlotte smiled and leaned in to take the cigarette with her mouth. The man placed it gently between her lips. As she took it the man grabbed a fistful of wispy hair, and pulled her down. She screamed instinctively and the half smoked cigarette fell to the grass. The man pulled a folding knife from his pocket and opened it with a flick of his wrist.

The man held the blade to Charlotte’s face. She was crying now. He traced her jawline with the point, dropped it to her neck, and then to the swell of her breast.

“Give me some of that too,” he said through a grin like acid.

Charlotte looked up and desperately searched for the night sky through the dense tree canopy, she remembered how she used to look up at it as a promise of openness, a promise of freedom. She looked up at the stars that used to re-confirm to her that God was watching her from above. She focused on one, solitary star and prayed that God couldn’t see her as she was now. Charlotte the defiled one. The dirty one.

The animal sound of rape wrapped around John twice as heavy as the crack smoke ever had. A tiny part of John wanted to explode. To intervene. To save. John pushed this tiny part back, he knew that it would just bring him pain or death. He gripped his belt tight as if to hold this courageous spark inside. Closed his eyes and took deep calming breaths in time with Charlotte’s sobs. As his consciousness began to break under the immense weight of his exhaustion his hand fell near the edge of the branch.

Charlotte focused on the branch above as her rapist thrust into her over and over and over again. Movement caught her eye as John’s hand fell limply over the branch.

“Hel–“, she choked as her rapist’s dirty hand fell over her mouth. He pulled her roughly to face him.

“You do just what the Sergeant tells you, and I just might make you my bitch,” the Sergeant pulled her hair as thick globs of spit escaped between his rasped words and flung across her face. “You do want to live, don’t you?”

She nodded after a bit of hesitation, and felt disgusted that she didn’t have the guts to tell the truth. She had hoped for death for some time now. After all that has happened to her, Charlotte lowered her head, and prayed that somehow, someway, her wish would come true.

Hey there horror fans!

I hope you enjoy the opening paragraphs of a piece of my short fiction. It may not be horror in the classic sense, but what is more horrific than being the only sane homeless person in a park full of degenerates? That is where John Kaplan, the protagonist of “The Poet” finds himself.

Hope you all enjoy! If you do tell all of your friends as I am hoping to publish the complete work to iTunes or amazon as a cheap or free enovela!

John Kaplin pulled his tattered jacket around him as he looked at the city skyline. The light shown through line after line of tiny windows, they looked like zippers of fire against the night sky. He thought about what it was like to be warm and safe like the people in the far off buildings and how long it had been since he had been like them. He couldn’t quite recall how events had played out to land him in a city park late at night with only a dirty jacket and a tree canopy to shield him from the frigid probing fingers of the November night.

The wind whispered through the branches of his ‘arbor retreat’ and the cold beat into his reddened and chapped face. The name ‘arbor retreat’ made the idea of vagrancy a little easier to accept for John, much better than simply, “I live in the park.” Or, “I’m homeless, but don’t like the shelter.” The ‘arbor retreat’ made him think of a condo development set back from a university or suburban area with a nice dividing wall of lush, mature trees. The type of development that when residents were asked where they lived by a friend or co-worker they would simply smile, puff up their chest and say, “The Arbor Retreat,” with an unequivocal amount of pride.

John’s ‘arbor retreat’ was none of the things he imagined and he knew it. Facts as they were, John lived in a tree located in the city park downtown that people like the man he used to be would avoid having to pass at all costs, especially at night. They would avoid it because it was full of people like the man John was now. The broken, the desperate, and the hopeless. These people were John’s new neighbors and the branch ten feet off the ground that John belted himself to every night was like the divider of lush, mature trees in his imagined ‘arbor retreat’. Every night he would wait for sleep and prey that the deviants of the night would pass under him, oblivious.

Sometimes John would awaken to the flicking of cheap lighters as a vagrant or group of vagrants huddled beneath his tree to escape from the wind. Tonight was no exception, John heard the grind of a lighter wheel against flint. Seconds later he was greeted by the acrid smoke of a crack pipe. The smoke sat suspended for an instant, then began to coil around his branch and claw into his nostrils. He took shallow, quiet breaths. The burnt popcorn smell made him want to vomit. Just as he thought he couldn’t hold back the bile burning his esophagus a gust of wind expelled the white cloud into the inky night. This was the only time John was ever thankful for the wind.

Aristotle
*
We lay on our backs side by side as people have done since the beginning of time. The cool night air wrapped around us like a benevolent force designed to make those trapped beneath it value the warmth of each others bodies more than anything else.
We certainly did. With each passing moment we squeezed together closer and closer. Our tiny blanket placed beneath us to keep the blades of grass from our skins and the cold grip of the soil from leeching the heat from our bodies. We looked at the stars in wonder as they glowed electric.
“Are you really going Isaiah?” Tricia asked.
I turned to her. The starlight accenting her delicate pixie’s face. Tears crept down the sides of her face. She felt my eyes on her and tried to compose herself.
“I am. It’ll still be a while though; I have to finish school. And then I plan to return for a while to write my dissertation. ” She seemed to brighten at this, which was a relief. ”Then I will choose my team, make preparations, and go I guess.” As I said the word ‘go’ I saw the hope on her face wither and die.
On the Eastern horizon a brilliant crescent of light cut through the dark of night and shot over us like a boomerang of pure energy. I grabbed Tricia’s hand and squeezed. She smiled wide like she did when we were kids, not a care in the world; or at least not a care powerful enough to distract from the wondrous event that occurred every night at this time precisely. A giant blue orb drifted in from the horizon, completely blocking the stars and the inky void of space as it engulfed our tiny planet. Earth with it’s azure oceans and clouds of various colors stared at us from above. So large it seemed as if we could reach out and manipulate the atmosphere with our fingers.