Monthly Archives: August 2012
Okay, it’s time to rant. I originally started this page to showcase projects I am working on with the hopes of getting some feedback, but something has been on my mind the past week or so and I need to vent.
TO BE CONTINUED
Those three little words drive me fucking crazy. I don’t care where it is. The end of a movie, the end of a television show, at the end of a book, especially at the end of a book. I’m one of those people who, if it’s a favorite author, will buy that book the moment it hits the shelves, and to see those words at the end is enough to make me scream. They mean a whole year–or longer–before I know how the story is resolved. It’s beyond aggravating.
I remember the first time I encountered those three little words. Stephen R. Donaldson, The Mirror of Her Dreams. I had read Donaldson’s The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant and loved them, so when the first of a new series was announced, I grabbed it and dropped everything to read it. I won’t bore you with the details; I’ll just jump to the end (no spoilers, so don’t worry). The hero has escaped, but our heroine, for whatever reason, is left behind. The Big Bad breaks through the door, grabs our heroine, and says something along the lines of “Now you are mine.” TO BE CONTINUED What the hell? I mean, seriously, that’s where you’re leaving us? A whole year… a whole fucking year…before I was able to find out what happened. It was enough to make me swear off series books until I knew for a fact I had all the books in my possession, or if I knew ahead of time that each book is wrapped up at the end. I don’t care if there’s a larger story arch that encompasses the series, just so long as the story contained within that particular book is wrapped up by the time I read the last sentence.
So what, you might ask, prompted this little tirade if I have made it a general rule not to read series book unless those previously stated requirements have been met? Well, a couple of weeks ago I read David Bernstein’s Machines of the Dead, Book 1 of a series. If I knew it was part of a series, I can hear you asking, why did I break my own rules and read it without having the rest of the books readily at hand? Because I told the author I would. BUT had I known it was going to end in a cliffhanger, I would have told him, “I’ll pass. Let me know when the other two books are published.” What makes this particular instance even more aggravating is that Book 2 hasn’t even been written yet. I only pray this doesn’t turn into another Chris Snow situation, where Dean Koontz has delivered two books of a trilogy, and 13 years later we’re still waiting for the third and final installment. And just last night, as I was browsing through my Kindle looking for what to read next, I came across a title I couldn’t remember downloading. I looked it up on Amazon, saw it was a book dealing with lycanthropes (my favorite), and decided that would be next on my list. However, something told me to check out the reviews, something I rarely do, but I’m glad I did. Nowhere in the description or on the cover does it mention this book is part of a series, but every review indicated that the book ends with a cliffhanger. So off I go to see if the next book has been released. The author has published other books, but nothing indicating the next installment of the werewolf novel. Well, I created a new Collection on my Kindle for Books Awaiting Sequels, and in it went.
What possesses an author to leave the reader hanging like that? In this age when books are so easily accessible, literally with the click of a button, do you think someone is going to want to wait a year or more to find out what happens next? Hell, after all that time you’ll be lucky if they even remember the characters’ names, let alone care what happens to them. And you as an author? Leave me hanging like that once, you won’t ever get the chance to do it again. You are simply deleted off my radar. Just ask Mr. Koontz (like it matters to him). I haven’t read a Dean Koontz book since Seize the Night, and won’t read anything else of his until I get the third Chris Snow book.
And that book that sitting all by its lonesome in that Kindle folder? To tell the truth, it’s a book that will probably never be read–unless, of course, somebody reminds me sometime in the future that Part 2 of that werewolf novel is out. You remember? The one you put on your Kindle in that folder. By that time it’ll probably be gone, deleted to make room for other books by authors who know how to start a story on page one and finish that story on the last page.
What about you? Do cliffhangers grate on your every last nerve they way they grate one mine?
Here’s Part 1 of a new project I’m working on. Yes, it will be zombies. It was supposed to be for a themed anthology, but it is probably going to exceed the word count.
“You like that, Nickers?”
Even if he wanted to, “Nickers”—aka Nicolaus Patera—couldn’t answer. He was biting the bullet, so to speak, sinking his teeth into the flesh of his own hand so he wouldn’t cry out against the pain as Garrison took him from behind. He didn’t know which hurt worse—the self-inflicted pain in his hand, the searing sensation in his scalp from Garrison’s grip on his hair, or the pain of the man’s massive cock ripping up his ass. Tears slipped from the corners of his eyes, rolled down his cheeks, but he refused to give voice to the pain, refused to let the big man know how badly he was hurting. That would only make it worse. He only had to endure a few more minutes, until Garrison busted his nut, then it would be over. He was out of here, and he’d never again have to endure the abuse the son of a bitch dished out. He closed his eyes and waited, and while he waited he prayed that Garrison would get his, that somebody bigger and tougher would come along and do to him what he so enjoyed doing to others. It would never happen, though. There wasn’t a man alive big enough to bring Garrison to his knees. The man was just over six foot six, and tipped the scale at close to 300 pounds of solid muscle. Compare that to Nick’s five-foot, one hundred and forty-five pound frame, it was no wonder he had fallen prey to the big man.
Off in the distance a buzzer sounded, immediately followed by a rumble of thunder as the gate to the cell block slid open, then closed. Footsteps, slow and measured, echoed down the long concrete corridor. Nick prayed the approach of the guard would give Garrison pause, that the big man would pull out and stuff himself back into his pants, giving Nick time to pull himself together before the other man showed his face. It wasn’t like the guards didn’t know this type of shit went down—hell, some of them even tried to discourage it—but knowing about it and witnessing it firsthand were two totally different things. It wasn’t like they could do anything to stop it, not with Garrison anyway. When the man was balls deep in a piece of ass, he was more dangerous than a rabid pit bull. One of the guards, a man named Miller, tried. He was carried out on a stretcher. That was a little over a year ago. The man had yet to return, and rumor had it he wasn’t going to. Garrison had fucked him up bad. Real bad.
Behind him, Garrison paused, buried to the hilt, waiting.
He didn’t recognize the voice, but with the utterance of that name Nick realized that God had turned a deaf ear to his prayers. Of all the guards, Carter was the worst. Garrison, knowing he had nothing to fear from Carter, pulled all the way out before slamming it home again. “No white knight for you, Nickers,” he grumbled, finding his rhythm again. Nick bit down harder on his hand to keep from crying out, his mouth filling with the metallic tang of blood.
“—you got a smoke?”
The footsteps stopped. “Smoke this, faggot.” Nick envisioned the burly guard turning toward the inmate and grabbing his crotch as he spoke.
“Don’t be like that, man.”
But Carter was like that. You didn’t get nothing from that asshole without him getting something in return. At least he’s being up front with the guy, Nick thought bitterly, his mind replaying the one and only time he bummed a cigarette from the guard. Carter waited until after Nick had smoked the cigarette and dropped the butt in the john before telling him he didn’t get something for nothing around here and it was now time to pay up. Before Nick could ask how much, the guard had unzipped his pants and pulled out his dick. Stepping up close to the bars, he growled at Nick. “Suck it.”
Nick, thinking he was safe behind the bars of his cell, laughed. “Yeah, right.” He turned away from the guard and went to sit on his bunk. He wasn’t safe, though.
Using one of the keys on the key ring attached to his belt, Carter opened the cell door and stepped inside, grabbed Nick by the shoulder and spun him around. “When I tell you to do something, you do it, boy. Y’hear?”
“I ain’t your ‘boy’.”
He never saw the punch coming. One second he was standing up staring Carter in the eye, the next he was looking down at his shoes and clutching his gut.
“While you’re down there, boy, you ready to do as you’re told.”
Nick couldn’t believe it was happening again. This was the kind of shit you read about in them stroke books, not something that happened in real life, but his first night in here had turned into some sicko’s sexual fantasy. Hell, his jaw still ached from trying to accommodate Garrison’s huge dick, and if he needed any additional proof that his life had devolved into a porno film, all he needed to do was take a dump. He was still shitting blood days later. His cellmate had raped him and he’d be damned if he was going to let it happen again, especially not by this two-bit rent-a-cop.
Taking a deep breath, he rose to his full height and stared Carter in the face. “Fuck you. I ain’t your bitch.”
“That’s right, Carter.”
Nick shifted his gaze past the guard; filling the open doorway to the cell was his bunk mate, and the look on the big man’s face said it all. Garrison was not happy.
“You stay out of this, Garrison,” Carter said, starting to turn before realizing he was in a bad place. Nick saw the fear flicker in the guard’s eyes just before the man reached for his gun, then reconsidered, opting for the taser. He realized he couldn’t pull the gun and risk firing because then he’d have to explain what he was doing in the cell and attempted rape so wouldn’t look good on his record. But it was that moment’s hesitation that gave Garrison the window he needed.
The big man moved across the floor, grabbed Carter by the front of his shirt and slammed the guard up against the wall. Panic made the man clumsy; he’d managed to unholster the taser, but just before he hit the wall, the weapon fell from his grasp.
Nick ducked in and grabbed the taser from the floor, and before he was able to dart back to his bunk, Garrison held his hand out for the stun gun. If there was one thing he had learned real fast in his short time in The Big House, it was never do anything to piss off Garrison. It wasn’t like college where if you didn’t get along with your roommate you could request a new room assignment. Not here. Here, you were stuck with your “roomie” until one of you was killed in a prison riot or one of you finished out your “tour of duty.” With a sigh, knowing he was giving up his only means of self-defense, he slapped the taser into the big man’s palm before retreating to the relative safety of his bunk.
Garrison still had the guard by the throat, pressing him against the wall. Carter’s eyes were wide with panic and his face was an alarming shade of crimson as he struggled to draw a breath. He clawed frantically as the big man’s hand, desperate to free himself before he blacked out, and his feet beat a staccato rhythm against the wall. When Garrison turned to look back at the guard, he wore a grin that made Carter’s eyes open even wider than Nick would have thought possible. “Time for you to learn a lesson—” he growled, “—and lucky for you the teacher is here—”. He lowered Carter so the man’s feet touched the floor, then relaxed his grip on the guard’s neck. He let go, leaving Carter to collapse weakly against the wall gasping for breath and rubbing his throat. Garrison didn’t even give the guard a chance to recover before bringing the taser up into the man’s crotch and pulling the trigger. “—and class is in session.”
A cry ripped from Carter’s damaged throat and his hands flew to his crotch. Urine flowed between his fingers and puddled in the floor before he fell to his knees to kneel in his own piss. On the way down, Garrison snagged the guard’s revolver and pulled it from the holster. In one fluid movement, he slipped the barrel of the revolver into Carter’s mouth, causing the guard to freeze.
Watching Garrison, Nick tensed. Any minute he expected the big man to pull the trigger, splattering the guard’s brains all over the wall. He wasn’t expecting what happened next.
“Suck it,” Garrison commanded, mimicking the tone Carter had used on Nick.
The guard tried to shake his head, but Garrison pushed the gun deeper into the man’s mouth. “I said, ‘Suck it’.”
Were their roles reversed and Nick found himself in Carter’s position, he’d do what the prisoner wanted. He held his breath, waiting and watching, silently urging the guard to do what Garrison demanded. Sweat beaded the guard’s forehead, and Nick could see the terror in the man’s eyes.
“You wanted Nicky here to suck your dick, didn’t you?”
Carter could only stare into Garrison’s eyes, part in defiance, part in fear for his life. The man was afraid to move his head, afraid that the slightest movement would result in a bullet lodged in his brain.
A muffled affirmation.
“Well, Nicky here ain’t a cocksucker, are you, Nicky?”
“Uh… No,” Nick replied, surprised to be drawn into this.
“Hear that, Carter? Nicky ain’t a faggot. You want him to suck your cock, you’re gonna have to show him how it’s done.”
Nick saw the change come over the guard like a shadow creeping over the ground. The fear and defiance fled, replaced with a stone-cold hatred, a look that said Garrison was going to regret this, but the big man didn’t so much as flinch. All he did was inch the gun back, allowing the guard a little breathing room, but still Carter refused to give in to Garrison’s demand.
“Time’s a-wastin’, Carter. I’m gonna count to three, and if you don’t start suckin’, I’m gonna paint the wall with your brains. One… Two… Thr…”
Only when Carter’s head began to move before Garrison finished his countdown did Nick release the breath he’d been holding. He watched as Carter’s lips slid slowly along the length of the barrel, then just as slowly back, the guard’s gaze never once wavering away from Garrison’s. The hatred there was frightening, but it didn’t seem to affect the big man none.
“That’s right, Carter. Show Nicky what a good little cocksucker you are.”
Nick didn’t know how long this went on for, but the tension crowding the cell and making the air all but unbreathable made it seem like hours. He wanted to look away to save Carter the embarrassment, but he was fairly certain this “lesson” was as much for him as it was for the guard and he suspected that if he looked away, someone was going to be carried out of the cell in a body bag. Garrison was a lifer, and he wanted both men to know that he had nothing to lose. Garrison’s way was the only way.
When Garrison pulled the gun from Carter’s mouth, Nick thought he was done, that he was going to send the guard on his way, lesson learned. But with the words his cellmate spoke next told him the man was just getting started.
“Lesson’s over, Carter. You done good.” He tossed the taser onto Nick’s bunk but kept the gun aimed at the guard’s head. “Now it’s time for your final exam.” With his free hand, he unzipped his fly, reached in and hauled out his semi-erect dick. Carter’s eyes bulged in disbelief. Nick could sympathize with the guard. “Let’s see how good you learned your lesson. And don’t go trying anything stupid because I won’t think twice about pulling the trigger.”
At first Nick didn’t think the guard would do it, but as the seconds ticked by, the man’s eyes hardened, the hatred blazing there so intense Nick half-expected Garrison to fall over dead, and he inched forward, opening his mouth to receive the big man’s stiffening member. Carter’s face was empty of all expression; he didn’t need any. It was all in his eyes—Garrison was a dead man walking.
Carter’s voice pulled Nick back to the present just in time to hear Garrison’s grunt and bury himself balls deep in his ass. Nick suppressed a shudder as he felt the man’s warmth filling him. So much for dead man walking. Thanks a lot, Carter.
“You ready to get the hell out of here?”
Nick tried to squirm from the big man’s grasp, but Garrison maintained his grip and kept him pinned in place, impaled on his dick like an insect on display. And that’s exactly what he was. The son of a bitch wanted Carter to catch them. He would have preferred one of the other guards, maybe Sullivan, one of the more decent guards in here, but Carter would do. The more Nick thought about it, the more convinced he became that the show was solely for Carter’s benefit. Garrison wanted the guard to sweat.
Despite that day five years ago when Carter swore his silent oath of revenge, Garrison was still very much alive, much to the dismay of Nick’s ass. That day had forever changed the relationship between guard and inmate. Garrison had ruled the roost among his fellow inmates while Carter was cock of the walk, holding sway over all—even Garrison. On that day, however, Carter had crossed the line, attempted to take something that Garrison had claimed as his own, and in the prisoner’s eyes, he would have lost face with the other inmates. That was something he couldn’t let happen, which is why he had forced the guard to submit. Forcing Carter to suck his dick had only been the beginning. Garrison had dry-fucked Carter, leaving the man with a sore, bloody hole, and then like a dog marking its’ territory, Garrison had pissed and shit on the guard and, in the process, forced him to partake of his bodily waste in some warped rendition of Holy Communion.
The guard had tried to resist once he realized just how far Garrison was going to take his “lesson”, but repeated zaps with the taser quickly took any fight he might have had out of him. When Garrison was done, he dragged Carter, pants and boxers still down around his ankles, out of the cell and down the corridor, leaving him in the middle of the floor, a testament to all on the cell block that he, Garrison, was, unquestionably and without a doubt, God. It was something Garrison never let the guard forget, always taunting him with the memory. Nothing blatantly embarrassing, but said with just enough innuendo to keep the guard in check. Looking at Carter, you could see the hatred simmering near the surface, but below that there was fear, a deep-seated terror that Garrison would force him to relive that day. It was stronger than the hatred, but Nick suspected one day the guard would snap. One could live with that kind of terror for only so long, and the inferno burning within Carter would only be contained for so long before reducing the restraints to cinders and it was free to rage out of control. It hadn’t happened yet, and Nick, soon to be a free man, wouldn’t be around to bear witness to Garrison’s comeuppance.
Carter’s footsteps drew closer, finally coming to a stop outside the cell. “Christ, Patera! Ya ain’t even fuckin’ dressed yet.” The disgust was evident in his tone, but so was the quaver of fear that crept into his voice before he finished speaking.
As Nick suspected, Garrison chose that moment to pull out, and even though he couldn’t see what was going on behind him, he imagined the big man was making a show of it. While Garrison taunted the guard, Nick reached down to pull up his pants. It was the last thing he wanted to do, especially since he could feel the slippery warmth oozing between his ass cheeks and running down the inside of his thighs, but to stand there doing nothing was an open invitation to his cell mate to go another round. What he really wanted to do was hit the showers, but he didn’t think Carter, or any of the other guards for that matter, would be willing to spare the time it would take for him to give himself a quick cleanup, and it would have to be quick; there wasn’t enough hot water in the world to make him feel truly clean, not after his time here.
Grimacing against the feel of Garrison’s spunk running down his legs, Nick snagged the waistband of his jeans, the grimace giving way to a frown as he noticed for the first time the bloody dental impressions in his hand—Never done that before, not even the first time the son of a bitch raped me—which gave some indication just how brutal his fellow prisoner had been this time around. He pulled his jeans into place, buttoned them and zipped the fly before wiping the back of his hand on the crumpled blankets mounded on the top bunk.
With a jangle of the keys and an exasperated sigh, Carter said, “C’mon, Patera. I ain’t got all day.”
Nick didn’t need to be told twice. There was nothing here he needed to take with him, so brushing past Garrison, Nick walked out of the cell that had been his home for the last five years. Falling into step beside Carter, he walked down the corridor to the echo of the slammed cell door and the cheering and well wishes of his fellow inmates. There was no sadness, no overwhelming sense of loss at leaving these men behind. They weren’t his friends. To them he wasn’t Nick or Nicky or Nico. He wasn’t even Patera. No. To them he was only Garrison’s Bitch, the one you stayed away from for fear that your attentions might be misconstrued and you suffered the wrath of a “jealous” God.
For Nick, there was only the future, so as he walked down the corridor he kept his head high and his gaze fixed on the door at the far end. For him, there was no looking back.