Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Greetings,

As we all prepare for Halloween, media seems to focus on tales of the dark and the macabre. Hollywood puts out its best nail biters and inevitably one of the bigger names in horror fiction releases a new book or maybe an anthology.

To remain consistant with the Halloween spirit I am posting “What if he Comes Back,” a 2000 word piece of (semi) flash fiction for your enjoyment.

If you do enjoy it, please share and repost to your heart’s content.

If you REALLY enjoy it, please check out my other books on amazon.

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What if He Comes Back?

by Jim T. Gammill

Susan could not walk to the end of her upstairs hallway. She tried to brave the walk at least once a day, but every time her feet would grow heavy, the weight of emotions and regret holding her in place like an anchor made of steel and rusted in tears. The room had belonged to her son, Michael. She called him her son now because the boy’s father, David, had left three months after Michael had gone missing.

“I can’t stand to be here. To be reminded,” David had told her, “maybe we should move.”

“What if he comes back?” Susan had replied.

Susan still remembered the conversation like it was yesterday. It was in the kitchen and she was making coffee, David was getting ready for the day; programmed and mindless like lemmings or hollow robots. She remembered the look on David’s face when she had said the words, a twisted expression that conveyed disgust, disbelief, and pity.

Susan had made the decision in that moment. She would not be silently reprimanded for having hope.

“You can’t be serious,” David said.

“I am,” Susan replied, “and if you don’t think he will, maybe you should leave.”

David did leave. He didn’t even take his things, just the clothes on his back, his cell phone, and the spare car, a ‘94 Honda. The couple hadn’t spoken since, their only correspondence through legal documents and certified mail. Some for separation and some for divorce.

The house was empty now. Save for memories and ghosts. The son that left, but never died and the man that died inside and then left. Susan wondered sometimes if Michael had died and if they had found a body if it would have made a difference. The finality it would have given them. The closure. It had been nearly two years now and the wounds on Susan’s heart weren’t necessarily fresh, but open and festering.

Susan awoke one morning and was nearly convinced that she could hear Michael and David talking downstairs. She closed her eyes and wished that it could be true. That her family could be home. Be real. She knew today wouldn’t be any different, she would hear the voices until the first landing on the stairs and then the voices would muffle, quiet, and then disappear altogether.

Day after day Susan would wander through the emptiness, work at the virtual office on her computer, and make the occasional phone call. She had taken a job as a transaction coordinator for a local real estate firm. She liked the job for the obvious reason, it allowed her to work from home, but also it made her feel good to help people get into their new homes. She would think often of how many of the transactions she processed were for newly-weds, young lovebirds, or expectant parents. She thought of how many women had been carried over the thresholds by their husbands and how many kids got to ride their bicycles into quiet suburban cul-de-sacs, simultaneously enjoying the safety of the less trafficked streets and proclaiming their presence to all the other kids in the neighborhood.

Michael used to love to ride his bike. He was getting pretty good at it too. A group of some older kids had made a wooden ramp and Susan would watch Michael from the window as he would make pass after pass down the sidewalk. She always wondered if he was trying to build up the courage to talk to the other kids or if he was just waiting for an invitation. After about a week he had gotten one and he did it. He made the jump flawlessly and one of the older boys had cheered, ran up, and gave him a high-five. Susan could see the smile on her son’s face from the window that day and to this day she could see it again anytime she closed her eyes.

After Michael went missing, the neighborhood seemed to have withered and died the same way her marriage had. For the first couple of days after his disappearance the neighborhood kids would still play in sporadic bursts, but after a week or two, the neighborhood was a ghost town when it came to anyone under 20. No bicycles. No playing. No high fives.

Susan found that the best way to adapt to her new solitude was routine. After the end of her virtual work day at 6pm, she would make herself a frozen dinner. She had loved to cook, but that joy had left her long ago, shortly preceded by her son and then her husband. She would eat her dinner with something mundane playing on the television. Sometimes a game show, a matchmaking show, and occasionally just the news. She would look at the television as she ate and become more and more disconnected. Trying not to remember what it had been like when they had all eaten together at the table.

One Tuesday night she finished her dinner and instead of moving to the next phase of her routine, which entailed reading a book in bed until she fell asleep, she decided to continue watching television. The Bachelor was on and Susan found herself enthralled by the drama. The desperate people whose worlds seemed to spin in turmoil based on the whim or affection of a stranger.

She watched in fascination at first, but soon found herself lost in thought. Was this what pain was supposed to look like? Desperate and disconnected. Happening to someone else? An avatar of a person on a soundstage? Her eyes had grown heavy and just as the desperate female suitors were called in for judgment, consciousness left her.

“You have been chosen,” Susan heard the television drone from somewhere simultaneously inside of her head and far far away.

She slept comfortably on the couch until a noise woke her.

Knocking.

Susan searched the cushions of the couch and found the remote. She turned off the television and groggily wondered how she had been able to sleep in the first place with the thing turned up so loud.

Knocking.

Susan gasped despite herself and looked nervously around the darkness of her living room. She tried to make sense of what the noise could be. Where it could be coming from.

Knocking.

She turned her head toward the front door and could almost see the vibration of the last knock as her eyes adjusted to the darkness. She stood up and could feel her knees shaking as she rounded the corner of the sofa and approached the door. She stood for a moment, her toes teetering on the threshold like a diver ready to leap for a high dive.

Knocking.

Susan jumped. A scream fought to escape, but instead sat immobile and heavy in her chest.

She looked through the peephole and saw a small shadow.

A woman?

A small man?

No.

A child.

“Who is it?” Susan forced herself to ask.

Through the peephole, she could see the visitor perk up at the sound of her voice. The child moved its head closer to the door.

“May I come in?” The visitor said.

Susan started to unlock the door but thought better of it. She looked across her living room and saw that the digital clock on the cable box read 3:33.

“Where are your parents?”

The visitor cringed at the question, “gone. Just invite me in.”

Susan squinted through the peephole, desperate to see more of her late night visitor. She wanted to help, but something about the child at the door didn’t feel right. A sense of dread grew inside of her. Something dark. Something primal.

She watched the thing and noticed that is displayed no signs of desperation. No anticipation of her opening the door. Her eye still pressed to the peephole, she reached over to the light switch and flicked the porch light on.

The visitor recoiled. For an instant, it looked straight at Susan through the tiny peephole. She gasped when she saw the things face. It was a child, but its skin was pale and where its eyes should have been there were two large and glassy black orbs. Before Susan could react, the thing hissed like a vampire from an old movie and dove onto the sidewalk. She watched in disbelief as the child-thing scurried into the darkness on all fours, its knee and elbow joints jutting away from its body unnatural angles.

Susan gasped for air and when she felt a cold wetness on her cheek, she realized that she was crying. She felt as if something terrible had just happened to her. Some type of trespass. She tried to control her body, or at least to stop shaking. She walked up the stairs almost mechanically, moving not under the control of her mind, but of pure reflex or memory. She reached the top of the stairs and was shocked when she turned toward the room at the end of the hall that she would not enter. She approached the door to Michael’s room and opened it.

The space was just as he had left it months ago, maybe even a year now. She had felt so hollow since he had gone missing and found little import in the idea of time. She walked to his bed and laid down on it.

“What am I doing?” She pondered aloud, “am I losing my mind?”

She pulled the pillow to her nose and wept when she smelled the familiar scent of her son. Unconsciously, she curled into a ball and squeezed the pillow tight into her chest. The sorrow and the helplessness were too much. The remnants of her sanity leaked from her as freely as the tears on the cartoon pillowcase. Between her sobs, she heard something.

Knocking.

Susan got up and began to walk back to the front door, uncertain what she would do if the face of the child-thing was there to greet her through the peephole. As she neared the threshold of Michael’s room, she heard something else.

Knocking.

Not from the door, but from the bedroom window.

She paused and felt a rage growing inside. The thing could trespass against her house, but not here. Not Michael’s room; it was all she had left of him. She stomped across her son’s room and threw open the curtains.

Michael stared back at her through large black eyes. Everything about him looked the same save for the eyes.

“Michael!” Susan screamed.

“Invite me in, Mom,” Michael asked in the low sweet voice that she had come to miss so much.

The feeling of wrongness was back again, but she pushed through it. She reached for the window’s thumb-lock and slid the window open. She stepped back a few steps into the center of the room to allow her son room to drop down from the ledge.

He did and when his feet hit the ground, he rushed her. She could feel his arms embrace her as she wept tears of joy and fear.

“Come in!” Michael yelled.

From over her son’s shoulder, she could see others pouring through the open window, one with long hair, one with a hooded sweatshirt, and then the original visitor from the front door. She could feel the embrace growing stronger as each of the children approached her and Michael and wrapped their arms around them as well. She fell to her knees and then even further.

The embrace had gone quickly from comforting to crushing.

She struggled a little but then gave into it.

Susan found that she could not draw in another breath. She could feel the darkness closing in on her mind and managed to squirm enough to take one last deep breath. It wasn’t for air, but to breath in the scent of her missing son. Her Michael.

She looked into the black eyes of the thing that had been her son and smiled.

“I knew you would come back.”

Hello faithful readers,

Some time that has elapsed since my last post, but I have been working on some exciting projects!

These include:

a graphically enhanced novelette

a follow-up (in spirit at least) to my hit novelette, Not Only the Dea

some outline work on a new hardcore horror screenplay.

Between projects I love to produce some “one-offs” or random short stories when I am in the editing process on a longer work. I decided to share one with you all and have several more if you guys show me some love by sharing this post!

Either way, I hope you enjoy Just What the Doctor Ordered, a 700 word piece of FLASH FICTION.

Just What the Doctor Ordered

by Jim T. Gammill

“The tests came back negative, Mr. Stevens,” Dr. Korrigan said, his clipboard angled to protect its secrets.

“That’s impossible,” Stevens replied, “No pauses? Anything?”

Dr. Korrigan offered Stevens a condescending glance over his glasses.

“Most people would be happy to not have sleep apnea, Mr. Stevens,” Korrigan began. He gave the clipboard another look, “your vitals are fine. Levels are nearly perfect.”

Stevens wiped cold sweat from his brow.

“I just want to know why this keeps happening,” Stevens started as he shook his head and massaged one of the dark circles beneath his eyes, “why they keep coming!”

The condescending glance softened when Korrigan raised his bushy eyebrows.

“Why who keeps coming?” Korrigan asked, interested.

“Never mind,” Stevens protested.

Korrigan smiled.

Stevens sensed a welcoming softness in Korrigan’s demeanor. A hint of humanity.

“Well,” Stevens relented, “sometimes it’s a woman and sometimes just a man in a hat.”

“And when do they come?” Korrigan asked, his pen scratching incessantly on the clipboard.

“In the middle of the night.”

Korrigan nodded.

“Have you been taking any prescription drugs?”

Stevens shook his head.

“Any,” Korrigan started as he examined Stevens, “substance abuse?”

“No,” Stevens snapped, “you said yourself, my levels are perfect!”

“One can never be too certain,” Korrigan droned as he scribbled something else, “I’m calling in a prescription for you.”

“What is it?”

“Not to sound too cliché, Mr. Stevens, but I believe it’s just what the doctor ordered.”

Stevens left the office in a daze, he wasn’t sure why he felt the way he did, but something wasn’t right. He opened the door more quickly than he had meant to and heard something thud on the hard laminate floor of the office.

He turned to see what had fallen and was surprised to see that it wasn’t a pamphlet or a cup full of tongue depressors, but something unexpected and out of place. Stevens caught a brief glimpse of a wide brimmed hat on the floor, but before he could think anymore of the thing Dr. Korrigan quickly moved across the room and slammed the office door.

Stevens barely remembered his trip to the pharmacy or the drive home.

Later, Stevens sat alone in his apartment. He ate a sandwich and drank a beer that had grown warm. Sometime between sitting down to eat and the present moment, he had lost himself. Lost time. Like insomniacs tend to do.

“But, if you act now, we’ll double your order!” the television blared.

Stevens searched for the remote and hit the power button. Again, time had escaped him. He sat in the darkness of the room, picked up his prescription bottle from the table, and knocked an oblong pill into his palm.

He paused for an instant and then smirked.

“If I act now, I can double my order,” Stevens snickered as he shook out another pill.

The warm beer tasted terrible, but Stevens could feel himself relax the second it hit his throat. Groggily, he made his way to his bedroom.

Hours later his eyelids began to flutter.

Stevens felt like his body was in water.

Not sinking.

Not floating.

Just there.

A feeling that had become familiar.

He prepared himself.

Opened his eyes.

The woman was there. Her skeletal face half hidden in shadow. She leaned over Stevens and breathed in his odor like the sweetest of air. The wetness of her tongue made him cringe as she dragged it along his cheek.

Stevens tried to move his arms. Nothing.

He had become accustomed to this terror. This succubus.

From the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of the man in the hat. Stevens could feel his heart begin to pound.

He tried to scream. To murmur. Anything.

“The patient is ready for delivery,” a familiar voice proclaimed.

Stevens’ eyes searched desperately for the source of the voice and saw the hat man’s face as light filled his room. It was Dr. Korrigan, but his presence tonight was not one of benevolence.

“Take him.”

Numerous shadows surrounded Stevens. They looked like short men with large heads and the last things he felt were their slender hands sliding beneath him and lifting him from his bed.

Check this out at Amazon.com

Posted: July 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

Not Only the Dead https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DSIBMJ8/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_EuYAzbDSFPJC4

Hey all,

Not Only the Dead is free for today only!

Please like, share, and recommend!

New content coming VERY soon.

Thanks for everything,

Jim

FREE EBOOK PROMOTION VALID April 23rd and 24th ONLY!

 

 

Enjoy—Jim

 

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And now a little about World Book Day, just because:

For those of you out there that don’t know, April 23rd is World Book Day. The quasi-holiday was created by the United Nations as an educational promotion of reading and general literacy.

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The date of April 23rd was chosen as a shout out to William Shakespeare, the bard was born on the date in 1564 and died on it in 1616. And as if this wasn’t enough, Miguel de Cervantes, the author of the legendary, Don Quixote died on almost EXACTLY the same day as Shakespeare! Cervantes died late in the day of April 22nd 1616 and was buried on the 23rd.

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As many of you know, Whispers of the Wakinyan is now live in the kindle store as well as in print on amazon.com.

BOOKS AVAILABLE HERE

Many exciting things have happened in the 48 hours or so since the book was released. Book sales are off to a great start in both formats and Whispers of the Wakinyan has also been downloaded several times through the Kindle Direct program, that allows members of Amazon Prime to download thousands of titles free to their kindle or ereader.

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It may seem somewhat strange for free copies of a work to be welcomed, but the download and consumption of free copies helps to both boost the ‘title rank’ in Amazon analytics and also qualifies the book to receive royalties from the Kindle Select Fund, which is distributed to all participating titles according to the number of pages read by subscribers.

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Also, I have been invited to enter Whispers of the Wakinyan in an Amazon UK contest that is open to new book listings. With this being said, please remember to read and review to help take Whispers of the Wakinyan to the top of the rankings! Prizes include exclusive publishing opportunities and a higher rate of exposure.

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Hey everyone,

I will post something longer this evening, but I wanted to let everyone know that my novel, Whispers of the Wakinyan  is now available in both kindle and print formats! 

Get your copy today and dive into the world of Joey Gordon and his family as they struggle to stand against dark Native American spirit gods!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1544683901/ref=mp_s_a_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1491593793&sr=8-4&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&keywords=jim+t+gammill&dpPl=1&dpID=51im8hZXrmL&ref=plSrch

It would make sense that the process of editing and finalizing would be the most drawn out and pain-staking to a group of individuals (writers and other creatives) that are traditionally self-critical and border-line paranoid about how their work may be received.

Yet, despite this unfortunate reality, editing and proofing is not only the best way to make a work stand out, but also for an author to transcend from amateur to professional. Many literary powerhouses have passed on their wisdom about the editing process and regardless of what they say or how they say it, the end result is generally the same:

Writing down your ideas is only the beginning!

or the ever-popular euphemism,

Real writing begins AFTER the first draft is complete.

For me, the thought of editing is no different. I feel the urge to tell another story the second I wrap up the one that I am working on. But, how fair would that be to the characters that inhabit the pages, the meters within the stanzas, or the themes shrouded beneath the webs of prose that we, as writers labor so hard to create?

The answer:

Not at all.

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Editing takes determination and patience, but the resulting drafts are far more rewarding than half-finished or open-ended manuscripts that are not just unsuitable for the market place, but questionable for even sharing with a friend or family member!

As some of my more regular readers probably know, I have just completed a close-to-final edit on my upcoming full length novel, The Legend of Thunderbird, Coyote, and Joey Gordon. The time spent in editing that beast could have allowed me to create a couple of smaller sized works from concept to print (or kindle), but like the ideas outlined above:

The end product was totally worth it!

To effectively end this post, I would like to leave you with a couple of my favorite editing quotes:

“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”

-Stephen King-

“I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.”

-Truman Capote-

HAPPY EDITING EVERYONE!