Read My Short Story “The It” in the New TLDR Press Anthology Today! [Announcement]

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It’s finally here!

The title may be called “Nope,” but do I want you to buy it? Yes! You can download the ebook here to read my short story “The It” and support the Pilcrow Foundation while you’re at it!

While you’re also on amazon, you can download or order a copy of the previous anthology I got into earlier this year, and read my first published short story “Catherine and the Wasteland.” I’ll provide the links again here:

Read the full version of “The It” here.

Read the full version of “Catherine and the Wasteland” here.

Hope you enjoy both and drop me a comment or an e-mail to tell me what you think of it! And as always thanks again for your support!

Sincerely,

Philip N.R Hauser

[Short Story] The It [Excerpt]

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It’s still hard to believe that something so ugly and useless looking destroyed our town in just a matter of days. It turned everyone here into its slaves, and anyone who is immune to it gets killed. That disgusting thing made Karen kill her own husband of twenty years because he said it was controlling our thoughts and making us go insane. Karen loves this thing now like it’s her own kids.

[Short Story] Fantasy Fan Con Panic [Excerpt]

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Back inside, Jack and Crystal eyed the couple from the second story terrace overlooking the hotel lobby. They watched a crowd slowly form around their two targets while they swapped use of the Chem-Thermo goggles that had been provided for them.

Among the crowds of cosplayers interspersed with the banner advertisements and kiosks showcasing the newest trends in manga, anime, and fantasy there they stood among them all. Even dressed in costumes like the other con goers, it was frightening yet intriguing spectacle to see these kinds of predators blending in with the other humans down below.

The vampire looked no older than perhaps twenty as he spun his cape and flashed his fangs for the adoring fans that took photos of him and his poses. The young Dracula cosplay look that he was going for must have been some sort of meta-joke of his, or a blatant invitation for someone to stake him right then and there. Even so, he fit right into the costumed clientele of this particular convention. Crystal zoomed in on him, noticing his thin, smooth, innocent, and androgynous looking face with piercing, pale-blue eyes. Crystal raised an eyebrow as he pouted at one of the cameras that coaxed him for another photo. Under the therm-optic filter his body took on a greyish blue hue in a sea of deep red pedestrians that stood or passed him by.

The succubus — the vampire’s partner — was able to spoof her heat signature better among the crowd, but she also shared her undead boyfriend’s meta sense of humor. She was standing next to him with her bat wings and black horns on full display. They looked real, but could just as well be chalked up to being the product of well done prosthetic make up and accessories. Like the vampire, she had a conventional beauty and confidence in the way she carried herself. She wore armor, but nothing that could be considered practical. It reminded Crystal of Xenia the Warrior Princess, but with a shorter leather skirt. Not much left to the imagination. Jack and Crystal switched to the chemical tracer filter on the goggles and could see that she was already releasing pheromones into the crowd. People who

might have been uninterested in the impromptu photo shoot in the lobby, were now transfixed and slowly growing attached to this attractive couple posing together. On the surface, things looked innocent enough, but Jack and Crystal saw it for what it was: lambs being lead to slaughter in some anonymous hotel room later tonight.

As the crowd grew from a dozen to nearly twenty in a matter of minutes, Jack and Crystal got up from their table and began to walk down to the lobby area. They were dressed in post-apocalyptic duster jackets. A cosplay grab that fit with the eclectic dress code of the nerd convention. As they walked, they fingered the holstered, plastic-looking guns that were actually loaded with silver and holy relic tipped subsonic ammo. They were suppose to take this demon and vampire in alive, but if worse came to worse, the subsonic ammo and suppressors would quietly dispose of them. Jack and Crystal each put on their shades and pulled on their gas masks to counter the vampires hypnosis and the pheromones of the succubus.

Now in the lobby, they walked casually into what was now turning into a fan mob. Not a single person among the crowd of ninjas, transformers, and alien princesses noticed nor raised an eyebrow at the Mad Max cosplay couple making their way to the front to see the vampire and succubus “models” gaining attention.

When Jack and Crystal reached them, the two supernaturals noticed them, and momentarily paused their act. For a split second, it felt like a connection was made between the four of them. Fight or flight began to take hold. The vampire and succubus noticed the gas mask and shades Jack and Crystal were wearing and tensed up. The fear in their eyes seemed to surprise Jack momentarily before realizing that he had already put his hand on his gun.

The TL;DR Redditwriters Mixtape is now out in paperback! [Announcement]

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TL;DR A Redditwriters Mixtape is now out in paperback! I just got the news yesterday and wanted to share here. It’s gratifying to know that Catherine and the Wasteland will now be printed and distributed on cool, smooth paper as intended! TL;DR, once just an anthology that was simply an ebook has now transcended from the digital to the physical. All profits got to Doctors Without Borders. Get your copy today! Link provided below.

Catherine and the Wasteland is now in an Anthology! [Announcement]

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(I remember on Thursday saying that I’d have something to post on Friday and it’s Sunday night. Hopefully, I won’t make the same mistake again. Haha!)

What was once an excerpt is now a full blown short story! I posted this teaser last fall after completing it and began shopping this particular piece around to get published. I’m excited to announce that it finally found a home! You can now read the full story of Catherine and the Wasteland here on the #redditwriters anthology TL;DR. Myself and thirty other talented new writers are featured here in this awesome bundle of eclectic short stories spanning several genres!

All proceeds of the anthology will be going to Doctors Without Borders, so it’s more than just your typical books promotion. Special thanks goes to Callum Colback, the editor; C. Scott Frank, for formatting; and Joe Butler, the publisher!

Thanks readers for your clicks, your likes, your comments, and I hope you enjoy this anthology! Amazon link below.

Sincerely,

Philip N.R Hauser

[Flash Fiction] A Corpse Can Be Your Imaginary Boyfriend.

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I wasn’t going to let that bastard break up with me. I gave too many years of my life, too many hours of emotional labor, too many weekends where I cleaned the apartment and did the laundry while he sat on his ass and did shit. I loved him too god damn much to let him just call it quits and leave me.

Now he’s in my bed. He’s not breathing anymore. I poisoned his dinner and as one last gesture, I held him in my arms as he choked to death. He isn’t warm, but that’s okay. I get to lay with him and be by his side like we used to be. I just hope they understand when they find the body. I hope they understand what kind of pain I was in. I hope I can get off by reason of insanity.

[Flash Fiction] Crystal the Vampire

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“God damn it…”

It was the only thing Crystal could bring herself to say at the start of the evening when she emerged from her coffin to find a dead body on the ground. The man, a gray, naked, husk of a corpse had obviously been drain and left vacant of any life force that she sought to drink from. She grimaced at the dried erection that stuck out from the dead man like a flag pole or in Crystal’s mind, a phallic grave stone.

Crystal remembered bringing the guy over the night before just to take a bit of his blood for feeding. He was so healthy and full of life when she found him, that she knew he’d make a great weekly food source to snack on. Maybe she’d kill him or let him go, but either way, he was too good a catch and too ripe for the taking for her to pass up.

What Crystal forgot to do, however, before going to bed that pre-drawn morning, was lock her bedroom door. There was only one person in this apartment that could have done this. Only a succubus could leave their dead with a boner like that.

“You fucking bitch,” Crystal snarled to herself, her fangs barely able to stay retracted in her mouth as she worked herself up into a fit of rage.

Crystal leaped from her coffin, picking up the dead body as she went, and kicked open the bedroom door. She carried the dead man into the living room where Kimberly was eating a bag of chips while watching something on T.V.

Kimberly, the sultry succubus, looked up from her show. She had another chip just inches away from going into her open mouth before noticing Crystal storming in. Kim blinked with wide eyed surprise.

“Yeah?” asked Crystal, with a raised eyebrow, “remember this?”

Crystal dropped the body onto the coffee table, which caused Kimberly to jump slightly from her half-sitting-half-fetal-position on the couch. Kimberly maintained her composure, as she finished eating her last chip, but her voice betrayed a nervousness that wasn’t fooling anyone.

“His name was Justin, b-by the way,” Kimberly started, “he, he was studying business and liked video games. He was actually…”

“Shut up,” Crystal interrupted.

“Okay,”

“Seriously, what the fuck is your deal, lately?” Crystal asked, her voice rising into a shout, “you know he was mine, right!?”

“W-well,” Kimberly whimpered, “I didn’t take his blood. You can still drink him, right?”

“It’s dried blood, Kim,” said Crystal, speaking slowly as if to a small child. She even lifted one of the limp arms of the corpse and shook it for emphasis as she spoke, “you think I can drink this shit? I need fresh blood! You don’t fuck corpses, do you?”

“I was just…”

“What was going to be our rule?” Crystal asked, though at this point the ask sounded more like a demand.

“Please, Crystal,” Kimberly pleaded, “I was soooo fucking hungry today!”

“THE RULE!” Crystal shouted.

Kimberly looked back at the T.V and took a deep breath before exhaling the longest sigh Crystal had heard from Kimberly thus far.

“Any food that’s being kept in our bedrooms is to be off limits to the other room mate,” Kimberly stated, repeating the vow verbatim.

“Yeah,” said Crystal, nodding, “this is third time you’ve done this to me. You know how hard I had to look? How many nights I wasted trying to find a guy like this?”

“I’m just…” Kimberly tried to speak, but Crystal was having none of it tonight.

“I’ll tell you!” Crystal interrupted, shouting over her room mate, “I had to go to some shitty night club. One of the few in this godforsaken college town, by the way. I had to listen to shitty techno music, while pretending to enjoy shitty drinks, and act like I’m having a good time with shitty twenty-somethings. All this bullshit so I can find myself a fucking human specimen worth taking home with me, because I’m starving as fuck!”

“But, you look like a twenty-something, anyway,” countered Kimberly, “what’s the difference?”

“Kim, I’m forty-fucking-five,” Crystal responded, dead-pan, “doesn’t matter that I got turned at twenty-two and haven’t aged since. You know I can’t stand their music. Fuck I even got a gaming PC to keep these boys occupied while I sleep during the day. Do I look like a gamer to you?”

Kim didn’t have anything to say about that.

Crystal sighed and planted herself on the couch next to Kimberly. She looked at the corpse as a wave of depressive resignation washed over her.

“You didn’t even get rid of the body…” said Crystal.

Kimberly looked down, ashamed at what she had done and quietly placed her bag of chips down on the floor.

“You’ve never had this problem before,” said Crystal, “I know you’re not the dumb slut you pretend to be to snare guys. What’s going on?”

Kimberly looked up at Crystal and looked back at the T.V. To Crystal’s surprise, Kimberly was starting to tear up. Kim bit down on her lip to fight the tears, but she soon exploded into a full on sob. It was the ugly kind of crying that was a rare thing for a demon to do. Crystal had never felt more uncomfortable in her unlife than she did right now.

“Oh no…” Crystal was not equipped for this right now.

“He broke up with me!” Kimberly wailed.

Crystal tried to think for a moment about who Kim was talking about.

“Lazerus…?” Crystal asked.

“Yes!” screamed Kimberly, “that piece of shit! That fucking demon man whore dumped me!”

Kimberly resumed her crying while Crystal turned away and allowed herself to get hit by the pain and guilt she had allowed herself to get mixed up in. Kim always had her ways of making Crystal feel like a total bitch.

[Short Story] Catherine and the Wasteland [Excerpt]

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It started with the sound of thunder, followed by an earthquake accompanied by what felt like a roaring explosion of deafening magnitude. The earth shook and the sounds of crashing steel and brick filled the small, underground room. It was these noises that woke up Catherine inside her small, stone encased, box of a bed that protected her. Inside her space, shrouded in pitch, black darkness she waited patiently for the noises and shaking to stop. She tried to count the time, but it was useless to measure anything beyond just mere minutes in her current state. Maybe hours passed. Perhaps days. Finally, things quieted down, but Catherine was unable to go back to sleep. She allowed herself to remain laying down until the slow creep of hunger began to over take her and force her out of her deep sleep.

When she emerged, Catherine was surprised to find so many people hiding in the labyrinth with her. Usually, no one was foolish enough to make their way this far down here, and that was the point. Still, she was awake, hungry and there these people were. Fresh blood for a fresh start. Most of the dozen or so people were shocked into hushed silence when she emerged from her place of rest; her bed was well disguised and hidden within a stone platform that doubled as an alter. However, as most of these situations tended to play out, this sense of awe did not last long as the people began to scream, cry, and pray as soon as she grabbed the first victim that was within arms reach and started draining them of their blood. After finishing him, Catherine lifted the dead body of the haggard man she had just bitten into and tossed him to the other end of the room. Despite her petite body, Catherine was pleased to find that her superhuman strength hadn’t left her while she slumbered. She looked down at the red and white sun dress she was wearing and remembered the hat that went with it. She turned back and rummaged around in her coffin and found the matching hat: it’s large rimmed frame and deep red color illuminated with the rest of her inside the darkness of the small, stone basement. Delicately, she placed it on her head, ignoring the soft, scared, whimpering noises of these new guests of hers. Finally, after adjusting her hat to a perfect tilt, Catherine looked at them a spoke:

“I need a mirror,”

A woman, who was wearing a black business suit that reminded Catherine of her late father spoke up. This woman looked liked she hadn’t bathed in awhile and her clothes looked slightly torn and dirt stained like the rest of the crowd.

“A mirror?” the woman stuttered, her voice trembling like the rest of her body: shaking like a wilted leaf.

“Yes,” said Catherine, “I need to see if my dress is stained. It was given to me by a well respected duke in his day, you know.”

The huddled crowd looked at each other, confused by what they had just heard.

“I don’t think anyone has a mirror here,” the woman answered back.

Catherine sighed and walked over to this woman and bent down to meet her at eye level. She squinted at her, getting a whiff of this woman’s odor and grimaced.

“I should have known,” Catherine groaned, her condescension becoming almost as palpable as the smells in the room, “you people look absolutely filthy. Does no one not take pride in their appearance anymore?”

Catherine rose up slightly to get a closer look at this woman, but the woman’s eyes widened in fear and she held up her hand to stop her.

“Wait!” the woman yelped, “wait! I have something, a phone.”

Catherine rolled her eyes.

“You have a phone that turns into a mirror?” Catherine asked, unconvinced.

The woman pulled out a white rectangular object from her pocket with a small glass eye and held it in front of her face with both hands. There was the sound of a snap, which caused Catherine to raise her eyebrows at this contraption, curious as to what the woman had done. The woman shakily turned the rectangle around and showed her.

“Here!” she held it up to Catherine, nearly dropping the object, “this is you!”

Catherine held the thing in her palms and looked at it. It took her a few moments to realize that this was a photo of her, probably the highest quality photo she had ever seen of herself. It was like looking at a living painting, she thought. It showed her in the sundress, along with her hat, her pale skin, blonde hair, and green eyes all in color. Never before had she seen herself like this and Catherine couldn’t help but feel moved by it.

“How lovely,” Catherine whispered, marveling at the device.

[Short Story] Our Vampire, Lenny [Excerpt]

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When Lenny the vampire heard the rumor about the incubus and succubus couple who had fallen on hard times, he made a point to be at the nightclub Radion so that he could bump into them. The transients from hell, and those who served it, whether they be vampire or demon, alike, was a small enough world once you narrowed it down to a single city. On this piece of sprawled urbanization, there were maybe less than a hundred vampires and demons living among the whole two million of human population. Lenny knew a younger succubus who was an acquaintance to the other. This mutuality assured camaraderie would be Lenny’s in. These new friendships between immortals was how it always started: acquaintances and introductions.

Lenny sat at the edge of the bar and looked on past the crowded dance floor as the loud synthwave beats blasted inside the warm, dark ambiance among an array or lasers and black light. He craned his neck above the other strangers – what his kind mockingly called prey – and watched as his young, she-demon, friend talked to the couple. All three demons were in human form; no horns or wings to see, unlike Lenny who simply had to look less pale than usual. He carefully observed the cordial mood between the three of them and the eventual turning to his general direction when Lenny’s succubus intermediary pointed the couple towards him. Lenny simply smiled and raised his drink. The incubus and succubus couple smiled back. The wheels were now turning.

The couple moved slowly but purposefully together, arm-and-arm around each others waist like two individual organisms who had just evolved into something symbiotic. Lenny watched their walk as they skirted just at the edge of the crowd and made their casual approach towards him. Lenny could see what they were doing. It was something that could barely be picked up by the human eye, but obvious for any preternatural or supernatural in the room. The pheromones that the two demons were emitting were like a hazy miasma that was spreading over the crowd. The humans with the weakest of constitutions got hit by it first and couldn’t help but turn and look at these two objects of human beauty that passed by them. Lenny saw what was in the eyes of the humans too overcomed by it to not stop and gaze at this man and woman. They were the kinds of looks that were all too familiar to Lenny: worship, awe, intrigue, and lust; emotions that would all eventually lead to obsession. Lenny could only sit and feel thankful that he was immune to the kinds of chemical controls used in the wheel-house of demonic persuasion.

The couple walked by Lenny, very nearly passing him at the bar before stopping and turning their heads to look at him.

“Can we get some privacy somewhere?” the incubus asked Lenny, his voice a sleepy, but honey-laced purr of an accent that carried itself gracefully over the noise of the club.

“Follow me,” said Lenny, smiling, as he got up from his seat, “allow me to introduce myself, I’m Lenard, my friends call me Lenny. I’m a friend of Kimberly’s.”

The succubus extended her arm and gently shook Lenny’s hand.

“Yes, she just told us about you earlier,” said the demoness, giving off a polite, erudite, tone that similarly commanded formidable volume over the loud sounds of the club, “My name is Lindsay and this is my partner Derreck.”

“Nice to meet both of you,” said Lenny, matching both of them among the crowd, “let’s step into my office shall we?”

Inside the quiet and red plush furniture of the privacy booth, all three were able to get a better look at each other. Lenny could see the model good looks of both of the demons sitting across from him. The woman was a thin and tanned redhead with freckles and a small diamond stud sticking out of her nose. She had high cheek bones and large green eyes that contained a twinkle that danced if you stared into them long enough. The man was of similar skin tone and hair, but with a well trimmed beard and a muscular, well cut body hiding under his T-shirt and vest. His eyes were a deep shade of blue that seemed to take in the world with a tired, but quietly non-judgmental sense of contentment. His smile was small, closed, and serene like a monk who just experienced transcendence. The woman’s smile was playfully haughty with an undertone of slyness that begged to be pushed through to find the mystery that was hidden beneath.

For some reason, the couple saw fit to dress like groupie hipsters in a matching red leather and gray cotton fabric color scheme that came off surprisingly fashionable.

“You two must get mistaken for models quite often,” said Lenny, breaking the ice.

The two smiled at each other and looked back at him.

“We did a few photo shoot tours in England and Italy for a few years off and on,” said the succubus with a shrug, her voice, in the quiet of the booth, was now slow, soft, and peppy in tone; but in the process of smoothly transitioning into something mature if not sensually husky “that is until both of their economies collapsed and we had to move here.”

“Well, the free city-states in this part of the world are much more stable,” assured Lenny, “I was around when this one successfully seceded from their homeland and it has been worth the effort so far. No bloodshed, total independence, and plenty of money flowing in and out.”

“Because you vampires control the banks supporting these enclaves, right?” asked the incubus.

Lenny grinned at the question.

“Well, not exactly,” said Lenny, “but my kind — through several intermediaries — handle the finances that maintain the economy here.”

“Kimberly told us you can help us with that,” said Lindsay, her tone was still polite, but had a sense of urgency that Lenny picked up on.

It was the kind of urgency that Lenny liked, and needed, in order for this to work.

“She said you work with moving money around,” continued Lindsay, “and you’ve help plenty of people, humans included, with jobs like that.”

“Well,” said Derreck raising his arm, “we had a go at attempting some investing, but it didn’t work out.”

“Oh no, what happened?” asked Lenny.

“We trusted the wrong person, unfortunately,” said Lindsay solemnly.

“Who did you trust?” asked Lenny.

“A freelance, financier, a warlock operating in Paris,” said Derreck shaking his head in anger, “defrauded us out of everything we had and then some.”

“Last we heard, he fled to Hong Kong, hiding behind the services of some vampire lawyer he hired,” cried Lindsay, “and he was a half-breed, too, can you believe that?”

“Appalling,” said Lenny, shaking his head, “Warlocks and sorceresses are a tricky, terrible group of people when not raised by fellow Kindred or Lilim, like ourselves.”

“I’d have his lifespan for dinner, if I knew he wouldn’t enjoy ever last second of it,” Lindsay said coldly.

“We could really use some help in the meantime,” said Derreck.

“Yes, I heard both of you were looking for some assistance,” said Lenny, “I’m sorry to not beat around the bush, but tell me, how much help were you two looking to get?”

“We’re…,” Lindsay’s voice trailed off.

There was a short silence.

“Over one-hundred-thousand in the hole,” said Derreck with a sigh.

“My Lilith…” said Lenny, for the first time, actually genuinely surprised by the debt, “that much?”

“It’s extremely embarrassing, I know,” said Lindsay, “we’ve been hiding it for months now.”

“So, what can you do for us?” asked Derreck.

“Well, here’s the thing: I actually wanted to come to you two with a business proposition,” said Lenny, choosing his words very carefully, “it’s not another loan or some kind of debt consolidation, it’s a job.”

“What kind of job?” asked Derreck.

“I’m a salesmen,” said Lenny, “I deal in all kinds of product and I could use two people such as yourselves to help me with my business.”

“What kind if business is that?” asked Lindsay.

Lenny looked down and smiled. It was one of his only tells that revealed any kind of reluctance on his part.

Copyright © 2017 Philip N.R Hauser