Frank, awoke, groggy and aching in every part of his body. A stink sizzled in the air, like someone had burned a steak but then quickly tossed it outside. Behind that, a coppery smell that quickly overcame his senses, and he nearly gagged. He heard whispers and angry mutters nearby, but couldn’t make out the words. He struggled to remember when he’d gone to sleep last, but his memories were clouded. Had he gotten drunk? This felt like a massive hangover.

He moaned and tried to move, but it seemed he was restrained. With considerable effort, Frank lifted heavy eyelids and blinked against the bright lights that greeted him.

Beyond a skylight, far above him, a storm raged, pelting the windows with rain. Around him sprawled a laboratory, a cacophony of beakers and tubes and flashing lights and weird electrical coils that didn’t seem to be connected to anything. His old friend Victor stood nearby at one of the consoles, muttering to himself.

His whole body felt strange, alien. He realized he felt quite hot. Sweat beaded on his forehead and on the palms of his hands. Something across his forehead restricted full movement, but FrankĀ  could, just barely, move his head. He tilted his eyes downward.

His torso was gone. His neck joined with a smooth, featureless metal cylinder that stretched down to his waist, where his own skin picked back up. Or was it his own skin? He stared at his legs, but they didn’t look like his. The shade of skin was a little off, the hair a little lighter. He flexed his hands, but those definitely weren’t his either. He recognized nothing of the body laid out on the metal slab to which he was confined.

Frank screamed, and Victor jumped to his side.

“Frank!” Victor called. “By god, you’re alive!” His old friend tore at his own hair. “It worked! It worked! This changes everything!”

Frank screamed again, and Victor scrambled forward to pat his head and make soothing shushing sounds.

“Frank, Frank, Frank,” Victor whispered. “It’s okay. Listen. You were in a horrible wreck. Like, horrible. Horrible. I was right behind you, following you. We were going to your house. And this truck, out of nowhere.” Victor slammed his fist into his palm. “Head on. You were crushed. So I…well, I did what I could.”


“You probably don’t want to know.” Victor banged on the metal torso. “This part at least, you could say, is my body,” he said. “Of my own design. It’s got a coal plant in there. Best I could do on short notice. On the bright side, you don’t need to eat anymore. Unless you count coal. You probably should count coal.”

Victor apologized for the restraints and quickly went about loosening them. “I had to make sure you wouldn’t fly off in the storm,” he told Frank with a chuckle. “It’s quite windy up there.”

Frank struggled to sit up, swinging his legs over the side and letting the momentum lift up his new, ungainly body. The cylinder was completely inflexible and he had trouble maintaining his balance. Victor helped him steady himself. Moving drew some power from the steam plant in his chest, and he felt himself vibrate as the boiler kicked on. He heard a low whistle and realized he was venting steam from a tube behind his right shoulder. He took a deep breath, and the gurgling in his new chest felt like the time he had pneumonia as a child.

“I know it’s strange, Frank, but you really are magnificent,” Victor said. “Frank. My Frankensteam. Hah.”

Frank pursed his lips. “Can we discuss the name?”


The cauldron’s contents bubbled and boiled, as they do. Sister Crane double-checked her stone circle, then dropped a couple of cockle shells into the mix to turn the stew clear. The reflected image of the full moon snapped into focus.

“This idea is ridiculous,” Sister Sharpe said. Sharpe lounged on a hammock on the porch, and had contributed nothing to the spell. It was a cool night, and Crane pulled the sleeves of her knitted pullover down. Nearly all the ingredients were in place.

“Just tell me what the app says,” Crane snapped.

Sharpe rolled her eyes and consulted her phone. “You’ve got about a minute before perigee.”

Crane sat, crossing her legs and watching the sky. “This is definitely going to work,” she said. “I can feel it.” She lit the last of her candles and cupped it in the palms of her hands.

“It’s not even going to fit in there.”

“There’s a shrinking element in the mix. Now please be quiet.”

“I’m just saying,” Sharpe sighed. “The last time someone tried to summon the moon it didn’t work out so well for Atlantis. Do you even have a binding token?”

Crane nodded, and reached into the pocket of her sweater to show Sharpe the stone, obtained from a NASA gift shop. Sharpe scoffed and leaned back in her . “That’s probably just an aquarium stone,” she muttered.

“The potluck is in an hour, Sister. If you can think of a better way to make this much queso on short notice you’re welcome to try.”

“We could just go get some Velvee-”

“You shall not utter that name in my presense!” Crane shouted. The rock circle shivered. Crane took a deep breath to center herself and began the incantations. “Now please go chop the tomatoes.”


“Daddy, Bobby at school today said we all eat eight spiders a year while we sleep. Is that true?”

“Hah, no dear. It’s a myth. Think about it a moment. We don’t sleep with our mouths open for one thing, or if we do we’re snoring, and the vibrations from the noise would scare a spider away. And the size? Think about it this way: would you walk up to a sleeping giant and crawl into its mouth?”

“Hmm, no, I guess not.”

The little girl fell silent, contemplating, perhaps, the dietary habits of giants and suicidal tendencies of spiders.

“No, dear,” her father assured her. “It’s not the spiders you have to worry about. It’s the eye parasites.”



The alley looked clear, but then the boardroom on the 8th floor had seemed clear, too. They were high enough up to have a good view outside now, through the western-facing windows.

zombieSam scratched at her legs, which had gotten a little…unkempt in the past few days. Antonio’s jawline was in a similar state, and the less said about their general odor the better. Somehow, Abigail looked as perfect as ever, even with the sleeves ripped off her dress. Her hair was a bit messy, but that combined with the fireman’s axe on her shoulder just made her more badass. Continue reading Zombie

Haunted House

There was so much to do, but Jack didn’t mind. It was moving day. Their first house! He and Tyler stood in their yard, grid marks fresh in the newly planted grass, and watched as movers unloaded boxes from the truck. Their new neighbor, Jane, stood nearby holding a plate of cookies, tittering neighborhood gossip. He could tell Tyler hated her already, but neither of them were going to let a nagging neighbor ruin the day.

“So what’s with that house down there?” Tyler asked, interrupting Jane’s bless-their-hearts rant about the Indians living behind her.

haunted house Continue reading Haunted House


Curbita and Pepo lay in their patch, watching the ships burn in the sky. Occasionally one would flare, perhaps venting oxygen or ejecting a reactor. The humans were in full retreat, abandoning ships that couldn’t make the long journey back to their own planet.

pumpkin“Why, mamma?” Pepo asked. The fire behind her eyes was dim with sadness. “Why did we have to kill the humans?” Continue reading Pumpkin


Kevin slipped on the wet concrete and went down hard, tumbling across the floor of the alley to crash into the fence blocking their escape. Mara cried out but managed to stop with more grace. She tore at the chain link fence, but it held firm.

“Oh god,” Kevin said. “It’s going to catch up.” HeĀ  rose to his knees, prodding the fence for a weak point. Rain had soaked them both through, so he hardly noticed the puddle in which he knelt. Ripples warped the reflection of the full moon that hung above the alley, half hidden by clouds.

Mara stepped back from the fence. “We’re going to have to fight. Together, maybe we can overcome it. It’s just a big dog, right? We’re people. We can do this. We didn’t take all those fencing lessons for fun.” Continue reading Werewolf


He shrugged on a fresh, crisp black smock, smoothing out the creases with immaculately trimmed nails. He sat at the first station, looking over the gleaming silver tools of his trade.


“Renfield!” he called. “Is it…is the front door unlocked? Did you get the new insurance forms?”

“Yes master!” Renfield called from the reception desk. “All is in readiness!” Continue reading Vampire


“Listen, kid, you think I don’t have powers?” spoke the angel. “You ditch that guy and I’ll hook you up.”

The devil on Bobby’s other shoulder was easily dispatched with a flick of the wrist, having little power other than persuasion, and in this he’d finally been outmatched.


“Okay, angel,” the boy said, holding up his drum sticks. “Do your thing.”

The angel nodded. “Okay. Okay. First, we need to clear some time in your schedule for practice-”

“I knew this was bullshit,” Bobby muttered.

a writing sketchbook


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