Saturday, October 24, 2015

Dark Screams Volime Five by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar



Title: Dark Screams: Volume Five
Editors: Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar
Writers: J. Kenner, Bentley Little, and Mick Garris
Genre: Horror / Paranormal Fantasy / Paranormal Romance



Mick Garris, J. Kenner, Kealan Patrick Burke, Del James, and Bentley Little pry open a sarcophagus of horror and dread in Dark Screams: Volume Five, from Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the esteemed Cemetery Dance Publications.
 
EVERYTHING YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED 
by Mick Garris
It was supposed to be the night of his life: a celebration of his one hit slasher flick. But the price of admission is higher than this has-been filmmaker ever could have imagined.
 
THE ONE AND ONLY 
by J. Kenner
When he was seven, Will Underwood’s nanny told him she had the Sight. Years later, a broken heart sends him to New Orleans . . . but it’s fate that leads him to Madame Darkling’s Voodoo Emporium.  
 
THE LAND OF SUNSHINE 
by Kealan Patrick Burke
Although she was mute long before the affair that nearly wrecked their marriage, her silence has tortured her husband ever since. Now he will seek out what he has lost—or be driven mad by remorse.
 
MECHANICAL GRATITUDE 
by Del James
Arnold loves his ’68 Camaro almost as much as he loves his wife, and he’s willing to do anything to
protect them both—especially after hearing strange noises coming from his garage.
 
THE PLAYHOUSE 
by Bentley Little
A real-estate agent is drawn into a children’s playhouse behind an abandoned property she’s trying to sell—and finds herself strangely reluctant to leave.





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Excerpt


From “Mechanical Gratitude” by Del James

 

A true American classic if ever there was one; even the name had a catchy ring to it.

Camaro.

The Camaro was Chevrolet’s response to the most popular car of the era, the Ford Mustang. First generation Camaros (1967–69) offered plenty of performance, appearance, and comfort options. Produced in coupes and convertibles, they immediately became the must-have street machine among fast-car aficionados.

In order to own a 1968 Camaro SS with a 396 engine, some men would gladly sell their souls and come out feeling like they got the better end of the deal. Eternal damnation be damned, this rare breed of car embodied beauty as well as precision and plenty of rubber-burning power.

A big-block Super Sport 396 with 375 horsepower came stock with chrome hood inserts that imitated velocity stacks. The introduction of Astro Ventilation, a fresh-air-inlet system, made it so that the side vent windows were eliminated from future production. The 1968 models sported a more pointed front grille, and the front running lights were changed from circular to oval.

It took corners like a shark cruising on asphalt.

It embodied outlaw sexy without even trying.

Arnold Rinaldi loved his ’68 Camaro SS with a 396 engine almost as much as he loved his lovely wife, Beatrice. Both had been constant fixtures in his life for as long as he could remember. While a war masquerading as a “military action” was all the rage in Southeast Asia, Arn purchased the car brand-new from a Chevy dealer in Pasadena for a little over three thousand dollars.

What little money he had left over went toward buying an engagement ring for Betty.

Both proved to be exceptional investments as he managed to hold on to the perfect gal and the perfect car for more than forty years. Not bad for a guy who couldn’t catch a Frisbee.

Almost six feet tall and well built, the blue-eyed California native was neither a troublemaker nor a pushover. He understood his civic duty when he registered for the draft, but luckily his number never came. While many of his high school friends were running through the jungle, he spent a good portion of his time driving back and forth from university and courting Betty.

With a speedometer topping out at 120 miles per hour, Arn’s muscle car packed plenty of muscle and could probably do about 130 under the right conditions. Despite what his gearhead pals said about sticks over manuals, Arn preferred the two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission to a four-speed manual shift. With all of the stop-and-go traffic that Southern California was famous for, an automatic offered a lot less work with the same result.

Baby blue, with pearl-white striping: If Arn’s Camaro was a woman, it would surely be a heartbreaker . . . but no matter how much he loved driving that badass machine, the glorious ride was not what he felt most proud of. That accomplishment came after he convinced Betty to take his name and become his lawfully wedded wife.

Except for tragic events such as the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the My Lai Massacre, 1968 proved to be a really good year.

Naturally flirty, Betty was one of those fair-skinned daughters who no one could ever accurately peg their ancestry. Green-eyed, with a slender nose and a curvy build, she might be of English descent with some German thrown in. Or maybe she was Irish with a touch of Dutch.

Arn had never seen a woman who could be so graceful without even trying, but her grace was not a result of years of charm school indoctrination; Betty just knew how to conduct herself. She spoke properly, but with wit and intelligence. Her leggy walk was captivating, and while many a man enjoyed the visual, only Arn got to enjoy the ride.

With one hand on the steering wheel, he always made sure to hold Betty’s hand with his right hand. Absolutely no one ever was allowed to ride shotgun when she was around. The queen seat was reserved for her and the entire universe understood this unwritten law. Hell, it even seemed like the car knew her place.

Whenever Arn drove somewhere without Betty, it felt like a part of the equation was missing. The engine didn’t purr as perfectly. The perfectly balanced chassis seemed to be slightly off. The radio played music, but rarely the songs he wanted to hear. These issues were never anything to wrench on, because they always seemed to work themselves out when Betty slipped into the passenger seat.

Or even better . . . into the backseat.