The Chronicles of Bob: The Chronic Suicidalist’s 2018 Fourth of July Special

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Happy Independence Day, folks. Or rather, ‘Happy-Wear-Your-USA-Flag-Bikini Day and Shoot Shit Off All Fucking Day.’ Yay!

Heaven forbid if you decide to have to, you know go to sleep early because you have a job; one that requires you to be up early as that son of a bitch rooster crowing, or if you not wearing an some Old Navy USA Flag shirt, or dislike the sounds of fireworks going off until one in the goddam morning, and your dog is howling. Then morning comes around, and you’re left with your eyes sagging lower than your nuts on your left leg because your kids couldn’t sleep. But you know, you’re the inconsiderate and un-American one if you disagree.

Hardly anyone remembers what this day means or what it represents. But since it’s a day off from the weekly work grind, folks sure do remember it then. A bunch of mindless drones.

I suppose it’s not their fault, entirely. We’ve been continually getting more dumb with each generation, that is, the mass population. You get a few bright bulbs here and there, but it’s a small number compared to the majority.

I bet you’re wondering “Bob, what are you doing with your 4th of July?” Well, bucko, lemme tell you all about it. I’m planning on shooting a bunch of shit off until who knows when. I’ve got it all planned out. Y’know, being that asshole of a neighbor. That’s the goal this year anyway.

The day started off simple enough. No itches but a ton of anxiety. We were to have folks over and make it a big shindig. Honestly, I just wanted to be left alone or go out somewhere by myself. It is what it is, though.

So we had everyone over and gathered everyone up for a show off of who’s firework ego was greater. Then I remembered, I hate the Fourth of July. After getting tired of who could fire off the bigger grade of booms, I thought it was time for my show.

I stood up and wandered over to the launcher and readied everything up. I was going to give everyone the show of a lifetime and I didn’t care. Everyone was there, all eyes on dear old Bob. At least the kids were inside playing video games.

Well, I decided to take a few M-80s and string them together (for maximum boom and to take someone’s head off. Namely mine.). I lit them and dropped them in the makeshift mortar launcher that Ted had made. Then I waited for the boom. Let me tell you, it was a hell of a rush. Y’know when you watch Mission Impossible and watching that fuse go? Hearing it sizzle, waiting for the boom. Well, I made some ‘modifications’ to the fuses, because I knew damn well that someone would try to be the hero. Sure as shit, someone tried, but I got the final discharge off. As bad as that sounds, it’s not as bad as the next bit. When I say I got the final discharge, I had my mouth open. So, you can imagine as soon as those suckers shot up, caught them in the mouth and POP goes I went.

When the day reset, the itch had begun, and I figured I’d start with the fireworks show and see what other fun ways I could off myself.

So I went with a fistful of M-80s—that was plenty painful. At least no one tried to be a hero that go around. Next up was a bunch of firecrackers—swallowed them whole. That was a spicy meatball; I’ll tell you. I know, you’re probably thinking, “Bob, that’s impossible.” No, no it’s not. It’s possible, and I do not recommend trying it. I ended up losing my hand on top of getting my insides tore the fuck up.

Those were the fun ones for that part of the day. The others were more like the grilling aspect.

* * *

So, I had my fun going out with a bang. I mentioned last time about grilling and well — let me just bring you up to speed.

The few guys I was having over wanted to have a grill out. I figured, bah, why not. Wouldn’t be too bad. Then everyone was launching their shit. Dogs were barking; cats were going crazy, kids were screaming, it was just a clusterfuck.

Well, I had about enough of it. Sure, people were having a blast and a grand old time, but old Bob? Nah, he wanted no more of it. I had just put the burgers on the grill when it happened. It was automatic I’d say, but then again, it wasn’t the first time where I went “fuck it” and just did what I wanted to do.

So, Bob’s burgers are on the grill, wandered on over to the gas can in the garage. Walked out to the middle of the street and poured it all over me. Then I flicked my lighter and toasted myself to a Happy 4th of July. A lot of people just stood there in shock that they just saw their quiet neighbor torch himself in front of everyone. Some attempted to be quick on their feet, but dear old Bob had a backup plan for that. You see I placed a few firecrackers in my pockets. You know, for that added pizzazz and flair. I must say, though, it wasn’t a great way to go. Self-barbecue. It’s not what it’s cracked up to be, and it hurts like hell. Eventually, though, your brain shuts you down, and well, your body gets well done. In my case, though, I was more medium-well.

I did a few different takes on the day. Each reset I was at a different friend’s place. Each time was a different way to go. M-80 in the gas tank of the car driving into the creek, playing Foghat’s Slow Ride. I made a custom M-80 vest and wandered out back of my pal Sid’s place and lit up, like, well the Fourth of July. At Jerry’s, I fashioned a few makeshift cherry bombs and made it look like I was taking a sip of beer, only to have my face and hand blown off. Then there was Terry’s place. We went into the woods, and I had decided that I would be a Wicker Man. So, I outfitted myself with I don’t remember how many and kinds of fireworks but when we got to the spot and unloaded. I told the guys I had a show for them. They all laughed and said “Alright, Bob. Can’t wait.” That night I lit myself up and gave them a presentation to remember.

The last time was where I had no itch and where I wasn’t really in a mood for offing myself. Crazy I know. I decided to spend it with my family and enjoy the time. That night, my wife and I got to coupling. In the end, it was a good day. Hardly anyone shot their shit off. It was pretty nice. Later on, though, as it rolled into the 5th, I ended up dying in my sleep.

I know, I know, you’re thinking “Bob, you didn’t kill yourself?” You’re right. I was amazed as well. Still, at least I shot my rocket off, and well, it ended up being a happy ending.

Well, until the other stuff happened to me but that’s something you can find out for yourself.

 

 

 

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The Chronicles of Bob: The Chronic Suicidal was a writing project by Robert J. S. T. McCartney, here at A.B.Normal Publishing. You can purchase the dark comedy novella, The Chronicles of Bob: the Chronic Suicidal on Amazon in various formats [Free on Kindle Unlimited].
THIS  STORY IS A WORK OF FICTION. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.
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Lilah’s Guide to Hoyle — Available Today

Hey folks.

It’s the day that’s come around again. The release of the novel Lilah’s Guide to Hoyle in its beautiful paperback form. The Kindle version will be available June 28, 2018, and is open for pre-orders.

Deluxe cover for "Lilah's Guide to Hoyle."

Win or lose, I am happy to have Lilah’s Guide to Hoyle back out in the world. I have been eager to get books one and three out for the world to see, and with the idea of possible books four and five. . .well. . .I want to see them all done officially and venture on.

I also have been having the itch of bringing out my one WIP (it’s done, just the title is still being bounced about) dubbed Sinclair Gets His Rolex. It’s a superhero story, but it’s more so an unorthodox way the hero gets his powers. I’ve also thought of several reworks and if I wanted to actually just start it over again or go and tweak things to a different route. It’s open-ended, so I have plenty of wiggle and flex room.

Then there’s the wrap up to The Lodestone Files. Ugh, I have it done as well as the side story, but it’s incredible how life can populate your time and let you miss out on getting back into writing more. A lot is going on and a lot to do. Much less apparent; not that I am on hiatus. . .but I am. I write when I can and when I can, but a lot is going on behind the scenes. Plus, I value doing things with my family and friends, so I again, do what I can when I can.

The Lodestone Files Book 2

I look forward to seeing what people think of the “revised” Lilah’s Guide to Hoyle and look forward to seeing how it fairs. I am not nervous, nor do I care about the reviews (good or bad), I just write for myself and want to make some stories known.

In any case, I will be around and also sound off about the Kindle version of Lilah’s Guide to Hoyle next week or so. I wish you all well, and to have a happy weekend. Stay safe out there!

Until next time,

RJM

 

 

P.S. In case you forgot what Lilah’s Guide to Hoyle is about…

Lilah's Guide to Hoyle Cover

Description:

“All life is a gamble. . . We go to sleep every night comfortably betting that the next day we’ll wake up.”

Demons. Sorcery. Magical playing cards.

It’s anything but a fairy tale. Lilah, armed with her choice deck, her beloved book, Hoyle’s Guide to Poker and Parlor Tricks, and the skill that led her to throw away her college fund, gambles with her life–and with the lives of those around her.

Elsewhere, other players have a different idea of the rules of the game. And investigating the bizarre chain of events is Middleton PD’s finest, Detectives Dana Deupree and Walter Conway.

It’s anyone’s game. The cards have been shuffled, and the stakes are high. The call has gone around the table. Others may fold, but not Lilah.

She play’s for keeps.

Free Kindle Book Two of The Lodestone Files — Get It 5/14 — 5/18

Hey folks.

Dropping a hot note real quick before I rest my heavy head on my pillow, to remind you of the great dealio of nabbing The Lodestone Files: The Cat, The Mouse, and The Thing From Another World for free starting Monday, May 14, 2018. If you have Kindle Unlimited already, well, you can already get the book for free. If you don’t, however, then this would be the best time to mosey on over and grab that little electronic diode of literary saucebot and save, save, save!

Here’s a photo of it in case you need it in a lineup.

The Lodestone Files Book 2

Description: What would you do?

Life had been rather normal up until that miserable night. Idris and Cal are on the run from the government, and an alien. After witnessing their small town, Lodestone, get wiped out, and the loss of their family, the boys need to keep moving with no time to grieve. With the help of a strange drunkard named Mac, they may just live.

Hot on their trail is the secret government agent, Murdoch, who is tasked with making sure that are no survivors or evidence could otherwise jeopardize the very confidential agreement between two worlds.

Elsewhere, the alien that has taken on the form of James has begun to carry out his plans for Earth and humankind’s extinction. Earth, as it seems, is in due for overwhelming destruction with no hope for humanity’s survival in this elaborate game of cat and mouse.

So, what would you do?

Nice, nice, yeah that’s pretty. Space. Lots of space.

The Re-Release of Lilah’s Guide to Hoyle and The Future

Right, in other news, I know I have been lax in getting out all the new material and keeping in line with my timeline of “Things to Come.” Life happens. Sometimes you want to recoup from being accustomed to going to “Church” every day for a little over a week, and you’re left wondering, “what in the hell did I eat?” Just to find out you took the wrong vitamin and you feel pretty dumb. It happens. Well, things will be rolling and adequately done soon enough. It’s not like I have an insurmountable amount of time…OK, I do—kind of—but balancing six or so plates and such makes things a bit hard. So, I am going at a different pace and not making myself hate what I love to do the most (next to gaming, slaying people with Bill and the gang, etc.). That would be writing…if you weren’t sure.

TIP: Be sure to use PREORDER2018 to get 10% off your order when you preorder Lilah’s Guide to Hoyle (in paperback). Grab it. Love it. Caress it. Marry it? Just be wary of papercuts.

Deluxe cover for "Lilah's Guide to Hoyle."

Description:

“All life is a gamble. . . We go to sleep every night comfortably betting that the next day we’ll wake up.”

Demons. Sorcery. Magical playing cards.

It’s anything but a fairy tale. Armed with her choice deck, her beloved book, Hoyle’s Guide to Poker and Parlor Tricks, and the skill that led her to throw away her college fund gambles with her life—and with the lives of those around her.

Elsewhere, other players have a different idea of the rules of the game. And investigating the bizarre chain of events is Middleton PD’s finest, Detectives Dana Deupree and Walter Conway.

It’s anyone’s game. The cards have been shuffled, and the stakes are high. The call has gone around the table. Others may fold, but not Lilah.

She plays for keeps.

Right, so while all that is happening and such, I also wanted to remind you lovelies of the return of a classic—well, my classic (along with Al’s)— Lilah’s Guide to Hoyle. I will be posting another (and final) excerpt which will be different than the older posts I once shared. I do look forward to getting the rest of the books out, but having another publisher pick it up and all that, well, it kind of snagged my production of getting those titles out. Soon, though, right?! Yes, yes, my precious… June 21, 2018, to be exact.

Suggestions? Bob Has One!

If you haven’t yet, and are in a rut and looking for something on the dark side (and still…humorous) to read, might I suggest The Chronicles of Bob: The Chronic Suicidal. It’s free via Kindle Unlimited, and also available in paperback and hardcover—if you’re feeling frisky. It’s got it all, except a kitchen sink and a bag of chips. That costs extra.

the_chronicles_of_bob_ecover

Description:

Hey, folks. My name is Bob Barnem, and I’m a chronic suicidal.

Do you ever get that itch? And I’m not talking about something that can be treated with a cream or powder.

You don’t follow? All right, say you’re driving down the highway. Have you ever just had a sudden urge to jump out of the car? Or maybe play intimately with traffic? In short, have you ever felt a desire for the thrill of suicide without the consequence of death?

This is a tale about my various ways of suicide…and encountering a bizarre knife, some phantom creatures, and being a hero—sometimes.

Things are about to get really exciting for both of us.

Some itches just need to be scratched.

Mmm, yeah, that’s the stuff. Trust me, it’s a fun read. I enjoyed writing it as much as I did suffering years of waging a self-mental war (and still do).

So, stick around, and stay tuned. There will be more goods to browse and wares to haggle over in the coming months.

Until next time,

RJM

Free Kindle Book 5/14/18 — The Lodestone Files: The Cat, The Mouse, and The Thing From Another World

Hey folks.

The Lodestone Files Book 2

I just wanted to let you all know that next week (5/14 — 5/18) you can snag book two of The Lodestone Files series for free; even if you don’t have Kindle Unlimited. So, if you don’t have KU and are strapped for cash and want to venture down highway free-99, this would be the time to do it.

Deluxe cover for "Lilah's Guide to Hoyle."

Also, next month (6/21) marks the release of Lilah’s Guide to Hoyle. You can use the coupon code PREORDER2018 for 10% off your purchase. This release will be only available in paperback and as an ebook. If you already have your copies from when the title was originally released, congrats! However, a bit of change and such are found in this newer copy. You may want to pick it up or ask for it as a gift. 😉

(There were a limited number of hardcover copies printed and signed. As of now, there are no plans to re-release new hardcovers.) 

Wishing you all a fantastic week, until next time.

RJM

P.S. If you haven’t already or didn’t know… You can get book one of The Lodestone Files for free. Book three will be coming out this Summer. 😉

P.P.S. The site will be moving… soon™. Meaning everything will be under A.B.Normal Publishing and Media Group vs. two separate addresses. You’ll see. 😉

Free Kindle Book Until April 19, 2018

Hey, folks.

I wanted to tell you about a free Kindle book deal that you can get just by clicking this link.

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What’s the book? It’s the dark comedy, The Chronicles of Bob: The Chronic Suicidal. My social and therapeutic experiment I did a wee while back. It’s the novella about Bob and his suicidal tendencies, and the results of each death that plaguing a much bigger picture. The ups and downs is struggling with depression (so bad that it can cripple a person) and also the portrayal of “social suicide,” where you kill knowingly kill your social life because you’re so fed up with your fellow human beings.

There’s murder, there’s wit, and probably some parts that will make your sides (or pants) split. Be amazed. Be disappointed? Be ENTERTAINED! With Bob and all his thoughts.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy a bit of downtime with Bob.

Until next time,

RJM

 

P.S. I’m working on a new short story… possible novella involving the undead (yay!) and am fabricating the new season of The Diary of The Wasteland Bear God. I’m excited to share them all with you. /BearSlap to the face. I’m out!

So, What’s Up?

Hey, folks.

So, I am a bit behind on projects. It happens. Some technical stuff was (still is) being a hassle. I am doing a project with refinishing a rocking chair for my wife. I am putting together a Johnny Nightwalker bit, wrote out a completely new outline for The Diary of The Wasteland Bear God, and also being a full-time dad. In short, I am busy and I have no wings. Oh, we also got a dog and have dubbed him Gantz. Yes, much like the anime Gantz.

I am aiming to start releasing the new Bear God posts (in between my World of Warcraft Alpha testing and Raid streams) and when I get some time in. I really need to just plan out a better schedule and go with that. Though, getting sleep like a regular person is lovely.

Anyway, I wanted to say that I ain’t dead yet. I got fuel to burn and words (and stories) to do. So thanks for sticking with me (if you are or not; whichever the case may be… *sniff*)

Oh, and also Lilah’s Guide to Hoyle comes back June 21! Use coupon code PREORDER2018 for 10% off.

OH! And the Kindle version of The Chronicles of Bob: The Chronic Suicidal is free April 15—19th. 😉

—It’s also free via KDP

Until next time!

RJM

The Return of a God-King: Season Two of the Bear God is Coming

Originally posted on Abnormal Publishing.


Darkness. All that there is—is darkness.

Then a pale light emanates above something—or someone.

The camera comes close and reveals the silhouette of a figure. A sexy figure—in armor and fur.

The camera then pans up and reveals the sexy beast to be The Bear God wearing night vision goggles. He pulls them off and gives a toothy grin.

“Kept you waiting, huh?”

“CUE THE LOGO!”

The Diary of The Wasteland Bear God Logo

Some announcer guy pops in randomly.

The Bear God sighs. “Woah, woah, spoilers man. Come on now.”

“Sorry, Bear God. I’ll let you *sniff sniff* take over.” Random announcer guy runs away sobbing uncontrollably knocking things over like a noob.

“Can someone go check on Ray? I think he’s butthurt for no reason…again. Right, let’s get on with the show.”

A fire erupts in the fireplace, lighting the room in a soft, warm glow. The Bear God puts on a silk pajama robe and sits down in a luxurious recliner, and sips on an alcoholic drink or whatever the hell it is he’s drinking.

“I know what you’re thinking, ‘Sin, where have you been all this time?’ Well, folks, I am here to tell you that I’ve been busy. Busy doing other things in life and well, living in itself is pretty damn busy. So, sure, we got to Episode Two of The Diary of The Wasteland Bear God and things kind of…dropped off.”

“Like a dingleberry. You’re known for those.”

“As I was saying, some books were being written, a seasonal outline made, and well, the old man upstairs apparently has a lot of things he wants to get done.”

“Like your mom!”

“Ooh, so cool, edgy and new. You really struck a nerve with me there, Maker.”

The Bear God rolls his eyes.

“Do you think normal folks can differentiate between knowing when someone is talking, compared to the script-like description that is also italicised?”

“One can only hope. I mean, it’s been this way for quite awhile. Plus they’d know it’s one of our styles if they bothered to read anything by us, or picked up The Chronicles of Bob: The Chronic Suicidal, The Lodestone Files: Book One and TwoLilah’s Guide to Hoyle (due out June 21; it’s getting touched by another publisher. We’ll see how that turns out.). Anyway, so we’ve had this…break…I guess. However, we’re looking to get back into the game and swing of things. At most, we’ll probably be a once a week kind of deal. We have the Alpha to test out and well when it comes to that sort of thing we’re pretty adamant about criticising. Granted, things may or may not get through when it comes to feedback, but that’s not my boat.”

The Bear God drinks his drink and fills another magically out of thin air. MAGIC-AH!

“We’ve come a long way in a short amount of time. While we weren’t gone indefinitely, we know there is a long, long cliffhanger. Granted, it’s not as overdramatic as some other works, a lot of filler has been cut, and the action/story was allowed to keep on chugging that bottle of Oxycontin. Really, folks, it’s going to be a great show. We are going to have new forms, like this super roid rage form I get, with my armor on it and shit. Ah, man.

The Bear God squirms in his chair and tries to not moan uncontrollably.

“Hoo, I feel sorry for whoever is going to have to clean that up. Ah, back to business at hand. What is the purpose of this segment? Well, for one it’s to say I AM BACK, BABY! I am also bringing the whole gang with me. Two, it’s also to say that I can do whatever the hell I want when it comes to making adventures happen. Three, we’re still working on artwork, something to really showcase my beauty. It’s pretty awful when you went from being able to draw for many years…to a long time of not drawing. The pain…and the stick figures. Ugh. Pitiful.

“Agreed.”

“Yeah, you should. You are just a horrible person, and you do horrible things, and you should feel ashamed of yourself.”

“I have zero fucks to give. What about you?”

“And that’s why I love ya. Platonically. Is it wrong to love yourself?”

“We’re sexy, and we know it.”

“Damn right. So there you have it, folks. We will be getting back on with Season Two, maybe a movie, some platonic 69 photoshoots, and then it’s off to Season Three. We will also be working on getting the stream up so we can show off our bits and get flagged for pornography and laugh about it in the office. I advise you to stay tuned and bring some lube, and maybe a towel.”

“You’ll get hit in the neck with a hacky sack, folks. Deathticles. Fear them.”

“Exactly. See you all soon!”

The room fades to black, save for the fire still burning in the background.

“Why did I get a minor role in this? Like usually I do all the talking, and then you do the minor quips. This one felt dumb as fuck.”

“Ain’t my fucking problem—sounds like a you problem.”

“You’re a cunt. Grade AAA.”

“Yeah, we know.”

“See you in the shower.”

Random announcer guy comes in and does a surprise narration. “STAY TUNED TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS, NEXT TIME ON WASTELAND BEAR GOD XYZ! Oh, we’re still recording? TURN THIS SHIT OFF ALREADY!”


Last time on The Diary of the Wasteland Bear God: End of Season One [Part One] and Part Two.

Season Two Premiere Episode One Part One and Part Two.

Ten Years: A Poem

Ten Years [For Zelda]

By Robert J. S. T. McCartney


One

I thought my life was done; when you and your mom almost died.

Two

Darkness took over and nearly ruined my life. I was very blue.

Three

I realized that nothing was going to change by sitting on my hands. I made a change and started to get better. You grew up so much since the last year; I knew the kind of kid you’d grow to be.

Four

I watched you grow and saw how you made people smile. Your laughs were contagious, and soon you’d start school. I still struggled with myself and fought with my mind. The guilt I harbored was massive and cut me to the core.

Five

Your sassiness was profound. You were the perfect blend of your mother and I. Without a doubt, you and your mother brought me joy. I was still wading through the darkness. I’d grit my teeth and fight the pain to stay alive.

Six

Enduring the rollercoaster ride as I stumbled along to keep control. I’d lose my way here and there; fighting myself and getting lost in my abysmal dismal thoughts. Your mom and I struggled to get you the equipment you needed and stood against those who would deny you. It was a taste of something we knew a life this way we would endure, but we knew that together, we could do it. I strayed and started to get lost in alcohol to try to help numb the pain. I had built up a wall with flesh, bone, and despair bricks.

Seven

This was the year when you found out you were going to be a big sister. It would be a new adventure. I wanted to be ready. As hard as I tried, I  know I could have done better. Even as I got help and started to show improvement, I’d take two steps forward and fall two more. I struggled to see the joy of having a perfect family. I often found myself outside looking to heaven.

Eight

Ah, your sassiness was so contagious that your baby sister caught on quick. You slowly opened up to having a sister. I was starting to find my way out of the darkness. My alcoholism would soon be kicked to the curb. I took up arms to further better myself: eating, working out, making an effort to be there for you and your sister. You were growing up too fast for your mom and me. The tears I once shed for the memory of a tragedy, were now tears of joy of having you still. I was beginning to let go all the feelings I had harbored, especially, hate.

Nine

Soon, we would leave our old home and move. It was a new start for us all. I relapsed and retreated into the darkness. I had found some comfort, but the feelings gnawed at me. The realizations and truths uncovered left me scared for us. It would be some time, but I would finally emerge victoriously. I improved my body and mind and would find a balance. I took up the craft that I believed I was destined for. I’ve watched you grow up this far and wonder where has it all gone—time?

Ten

The darkness has subsided and I am myself. I still can’t believe that it’s been ten years. You’ve become such a beautiful girl with a contagious laugh and smile. You’re our world and more, and even though you can be a crabby crab, we love you very much. It’s taken me this long to finally find the strength to cast off my shackles of guilt and blame. I can smile and laugh and be myself. I’ve come to manage my PTSD, depression, and anxiety. I’ll keep fighting and being here for you, mom, and your sister. I know it’s just another year to some, but you’ll always be our little bugaboo and pumpkin. Happy birthday to our Princess Zelda on your tenth.


 

For Zelda

Love Dad

Lilah’s Guide to Hoyle: An Excerpt

Hey, folks.

I come bearing news of the forthcoming novel Lilah’s Guide to Hoyle by myself and my good friend, Albert J. Debusschere III. It is currently available for pre-order at this link. It’s slated to be released June 21, 2018. You can also use the promo code: PREORDER2018 to receive a 10% discount.


Deluxe cover for "Lilah's Guide to Hoyle."

“What hand has life dealt you? Let’s check. . .”

 

“All life is a gamble. . . We go to sleep every night comfortably betting that the next day we’ll wake up.”

Demons. Sorcery. Magical playing cards.

It’s anything but a fairy tale. Armed with her choice deck, her beloved book, Hoyle’s Guide to Poker and Parlor Tricks, and the skill that led her to throw away her college fund, gambles with her life—and with the lives of those around her.

Elsewhere, other players have a different idea of the rules of the game. And investigating the bizarre chain of events is Middleton PD’s finest, Detectives Dana Deupree and Walter Conway.

It’s anyone’s game. The cards have been shuffled, and the stakes are high. The call has gone around the table. Others may fold, but not Lilah.

She plays for keeps.


Check out the excerpt below for a taste of things to come from this epic series.


 

—Excerpt from Chapter 1♠—

♦ ♠ ♣ ♥ ♠

“What are you doing? I said keep your hands where I can see them!” The New England spring night turned the mugger’s words into barely visible tufts of vapor. Beads of sweat dotted the man’s forehead. The gun in his hand trembled as his gaze fell to the girl’s hands.

They moved like clockwork: the pale right hand slid into the jet-black purse slung low on her side, while the left hovered between her and the mugger in the universal “hold on a minute” gesture. The tip of each of her slender fingers ended in the same jet black as the rest of her outfit.

In the brief moment of tension, as the girl’s hands did their job, the mugger could see underneath the typical high-school goth garb. She was attractive. Her dark-brown eyes were magnified by the thin-rimmed, if not exaggerated, glasses that defiantly exclaimed, “Here’s a nerd and she’s proud of it.”

“This is all I have. Please, don’t hurt me,” she said coolly. If he had been more focused, he might have noticed just how chillingly calm she was.

His gaze snapped from the smooth curve of her cheek back to her right hand, which she was now retracting from her purse. The gun mimicked her movement. Her hand paused for a second as if in doubt, then slowly continued on its path, revealing something that caught him completely off guard: a deck of playing cards.

“All life is a gamble,” she began. “We go to sleep every night comfortably betting that the next day we’ll wake up. When we hop in our cars in the morning, we take the chance that maybe right around the corner is a drunk driver, driving a hundred miles an hour, about to end our lives.” Her words cut into the silence of 3:00 a.m. Something about the way she talked and moved sent a chill down the man’s spine. He hoped she didn’t notice. He had the gun, he told himself. He was in control of the situation.

The girl’s left hand dropped and met her right hand in front of her chest. Together, they began a rhythmic dance of cutting and shuffling the deck. The cards seemed to fall onto each other, flipping and turning intermingling. “Every day, loved ones and complete strangers die. Deaths in the hundreds, in the thousands, in the hundreds of thousands!” she continued, her voice taking on a manic characteristic. “Some deaths are obscure, others are known worldwide. Murder, suicide, disease, old age. But one thing ties us together—our very mortality, the one thing that makes each and every one of us equal. We are just fodder for the cause that is life, fodder for progress!”

Most of her words fell on deaf ears as her assailant became fixated on the ballet of cards and fingers transpiring before him, the smooth paper and skin performing before him. Occasionally, he caught hints of red and black, and as the cards twisted and turned in her hands almost hypnotically, all tension in the mugger’s body drifted away. His hand and gun slumped down to his side.

“Now, I will offer you a rare opportunity. I will show you just how fragile your life is.” The crescendo in her tone ceased, and her voice dropped back down to a murmur. “I will determine your fate in five cards.” Her hands stopped, and she drew four cards from the top of the deck. “Let’s see.” She showed the first card to the man. “An ace of hearts.” She drew the second card. “Eight of spades, but that’s not important.” She revealed the third card. “Eight of diamonds.” A sinister grin sprawled across her lips as she drew the fourth card, and a growling undercurrent escaped her throat with each syllable. “An ace of clubs. Mister, you are a dead man, and this is your hand.”

Her left hand moved back to the deck, but this time, it didn’t make contact. The man’s head buzzed as he realized the top card was floating. Like an avalanche closing in on him, her last few words began to ring in his head exponentially louder. He brought the gun up again, pointing it straight at her heart. The card now stood erect on top of the deck and began to slowly rotate, and the little goth nerd’s expression slowly changed from slight evil to all-out sadistic glee; her eyes glowed a dim demonic green.

His hands trembled terribly; and no matter how much he willed it, he couldn’t move his finger the two centimeters that could make all this trouble go away. The card was now halfway spun, and his right eye turned red as blood vessels burst behind his retina. He clenched his eyes shut and with all his might willed his finger to move—and it did.

The crash was deafening. Scalding sparks exploded across the usually vacant alleyway. Warm blood splattered across the brick walls, across the now-revealed ten of spades, and across the young girl’s grinning face; across her exaggerated nerd glasses.

The mugger’s lifeless body dropped to the ground, blood spurting out from where the right half of his face had been and gushing out from what remained of his arm. The ten of spades nestled back down on the deck, and she placed the cards back in their tiny home in her purse. She removed a paperback book with the name HOYLE in large white letters on the cover and pulled a pen out along with it. Flipping through the pages, she settled on the page with the chapter title “Two Pair,” and quickly scribbled in the margin: Ten of spades makes guns explode.

—END OF EXCERPT—


 

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt and consider purchasing Lilah’s Guide to Hoyle to entertain your mind and find the series to be engrossing. Stay tuned for more news and the inevitable release!

Until next time,

RJM

Madness’ Sole Soul: A Short Story

Madness’ Sole Soul

A Short Story by Robert J. S. T. McCartney

 

“I’m sorry, it has to be this way,” he remembered his mother saying. She left him—left them all. Now, they were all being hunted down by an unknown person (or maybe organization?). Rumor was that his mother was collecting other family members to help her purge those that were left and would get in her way of officially taking over the family since his father’s untimely demise. The lands, she believed were hers; as was the town. It was her birthright. That even though the past had tarnished what should have been regulated to her—she was persistent on correcting. Everything would return to her: the land, the town, the family name—everything. It would only be a matter of time until he would perish. So, he supposed on the issue.

It was true, she had left his step-father for an old fling from the “glory days” or what have you. Perhaps to gain leverage in use against her remaining members of the Hessen household. Though he never saw eye to eye with the man he came to acknowledge as a father figure in his life, he felt sorry for him. Vengeance, karma, these things have a way of working out. Order must be maintained in the universe. Time will work its hands the way it sees fit.

The day had come—one he had anticipated. The hitmen (or so he alleged) had come for the step-father, for him, for the rest of them.

“You need to get out of here, John. I can deal with them.” The young man steeled himself with a knife in hand. “Run, run as fast as you can. Don’t look back.”

“What you’re talking about is madness, Eric. Your mother could never do such a thing! Not to us, especially, to you.” John was flabbergasted at the information that had been collected and evidence that suggested his wife had, indeed, put a price on his head and the rest of the family.

“Go before it’s too late! There’s no time to argue. I know you’re not my real father, but I do look up to you like one.” Eric gripped the knife tighter as he clenched his jaw. John nodded and gathered a few things, before hurrying straight out the back door.

Out front, Eric heard an engine approaching. He opened the massive oak door to see a black SUV coming up the drive to the estate. “Typical fashion,” Eric mumbled aloud before closing the door.

He peeked out the window to see the occupants disperse from the vehicle. He knew them all. “My Uncles? Aunts?” He noted two more vehicles coming to the estate. “This…cannot be good,” he said.

A voice came from behind him. “Hello, dear brother.”

Sister.

“Hello, dear sister,” Eric replied, still peeking out the window. “Quite the family reunion we have today; unannounced in fact. Any reason as to why?”

His sister grimaced. “Did you not hear? There’s a high price for you and ‘dad.’ We are all here to collect—it’s nothing personal. I could use the money to take care of a lot of things.”

Eric sighed. “You were always greedy. We have vast wealth as it is and yet, you squander it.” His words struck a nerve. “You do know mother will only kill you after you kill John and I, don’t you?”

“I am aware of that. I have taken precautions. I’m afraid John is already. . .disposed. He didn’t get very far,” she smiled.

Eric grit his teeth. “The man was hardly any threat, let alone needed to be involved. You could have spared him, you cold-hearted bitch.”

“Please, I have been called worse,” his sister laughed.

“And soon you will be dead, all of you. I will make sure of it—mom included. I won’t let any of you live anymore.”

“Bold words, little brother, but remember I am older,” she replied sharply.

“Remember, I planned ahead,” he grinned.

Eric’s sister pulled out a knife of her own and motioned to attack him. “At least you will die with some honor, bitch.” He quickly disarmed her and slashed her arm; sending her to recoil in pain.

“You little bastard,” she screamed.

Eric moved in hastily and stabbed her in the gut and slashed upward, bringing her to her knees and to be embraced by death.

“Sorry, Julie, but it’s nothing personal,” Eric said as he twisted the blade once more into her neck.

The door opened and in came the rest of the family: his aunts, uncles, cousins, and his mother.

“Well, you certainly save us the time in having to find you, son,” his mother stated.

“Mom…”

She looked over at the dead body of her daughter. “I see you took care of your sister. Good job, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree alright.”

“You all are ridiculous. Acting together to kill another of your family? For what? For money? Land? You will all stop at nothing after this matter is settled to make sure you solely get all of it.” Eric shook his head. “Your greed consumes you.” He pointed to his mother. “Your whore ways and betrayal to this family will be your undoing, dear mother. I will kill you all.”

His mother laughed. “You sound just like your grandfather. He used to believe we had some ‘disease’ within us that drove us mad. Granted, that’s what got him locked up. As cunning as he was, he was no match for me. It’s just human nature, sweetie. Kill or be killed.”

Everyone eyed one another, uncertain of who would betray who.

“Kill him,” Eric’s mother ordered.

The cousins were the first to swarm him, and they were the first to die. He effortlessly slaughtered them and left them dead on the floor. Then came his aunts. The one that had a change of heart was only to be stabbed in the back by his mother. They too fell in the bloody heap that was amassing in the house’s grand foyer.

Three uncles and Eric’s mother remained. They spread out around him and slowly motioned towards him. “I wish you a merciless death, dear uncles,” Eric said as he went after his more overweight uncle. He ran and leaped at the man, stabbing him in the neck and under the jaw. Collapsing atop him, Eric stabbed him a few more times in the chest before rolling off him and readying for another attack. The next attacker came, and Eric disarmed him and stabbing him with his own blade; then used his body as a shield against his other attack. He slid on the ground and slit the Achilles tendons of his last uncle, and then sliced up his backside.

“Mother, you are all that remain. It appears things did not go as you had hoped,” said Eric.

“On the contrary, honey. You did the legwork for me,” Eric’s mother replied. She then drew a small pistol from behind her.

She smiled menacingly. “Never bring a knife to a gunfight, sweetie. Thank you for getting rid of everyone for me.”

Eric reached behind him and withdrew his gun and shot his mother in the chest several times, “I knew you would.”

He approached his fast-dying mother’s side. “The only difference, mom, is that I didn’t hesitate and make a big speech before I pulled the trigger. Perhaps now you can be at rest.” He kissed her on the cheek and looked at her dimming green eyes. “I love you,” and then pointed the gun at her head and pulled the trigger once more.

One by one, he went around to each family member and shot them in the head. He called the cleaning service that the family used in cases of messes like these. He gave them all a proper burial, despite them having tried to kill him. Ownership and duty fell to him now. Eric was the lord of the manor, the land, and town that came with it. He was the sole survivor of Hessen Estate Massacre.

He was granted everything, although the attorney thought it to be proper to read the wills and testaments of the deceased. Sifting through the mess, Eric had found a piece of paper that clarified more things for him. He handed it to the lawyer.

Clearing his throat, the lawyer read aloud. “It is hereby declared that under article nine, sub-article three, clause eleven, that in the event of the purge of the household, all assets fall to the surviving heir. Debts will be settled with the provided fund, and any outstanding family members outside of second cousins will cease any violent interaction. Half siblings hold no right, nor just cause, and are therefore exempt of any claim to the family name, land, or township. If so claim is ever made, they will be disbarred, and the assets will become forfeit to the state.”

Eric sighed at this. The lawyer shook his hand and eventually left.

In due course, Eric readied himself to leave the house for good. As he is about to close the door, one by one, his family all appeared before him.

“Eric, can you forgive us,” his mother asked.

“We are sorry. . . We should have been a better family,” an aunt stated.

“Time wasted. . .” an uncle added.

“We all could have been better,” his sister agreed.

“No, it was my fault,” he said. They all looked to him, puzzled. He returned their gaze in spite and anger. “It was my fault. . .for being so weak. You may haunt me and my dreams, but you cannot escape your damnation. Suffer your fates, you wretched kin.” The house trembled and shook, and the spirits vanished; returning to their relics, paintings, and pictures. Slowly he pulled the door behind him, closing and leaving behind it all.

Eric took a seat outside in a rocking chair and rocked in it. He noted the gray sky that seemed to have plagued the day. He sighed aloud.

The family car and chauffer pulled up. He noted his serviceman and driver in black attire, with two cousins that laid claim of wanting no involvement of what had transpired. Slowly, he got his pale self, up and ventured to the car.

The driver motioned for the cousins to get in the car. Eric remembered the driver had made prior claims before that he shared his distaste for the twin cousins. He always thought they were up to no good. To spur a change in the young master’s mood, the driver accelerated and would leave a short distance between them and the car.

“Stop, Thomas. Let them in,” Eric stated.

“Thank you, Eric,” replied the one cousin who sat in front of him. The other cousin nodded and sat next to Eric. The car then rumbled away from the estate.

Soon, down the driveway, the cousin who sat next to Eric, took out a knife and slit his throat, then his brother’s throat, and then his own throat. He had tried to strike the driver but was held back by the serviceman in the back.

“Is he alright, Bennie,” Thomas asked the man in the back who applied a handkerchief to Eric’s neck. “Drive—drive to the bloody hospital!” Bennie looked back down at the bloodied Eric. “Put pressure on it! Hold it, young master!”

Eric could feel the warmth slowly leaving him. He also felt the heat of his dead cousin departing him as well.

“Faster,” Eric gasped.

Eric looked at the rearview mirror from the backseat. Who he saw was not his reflection, but rather his grandfather’s. “Grandpa?”

 “Eric, do you see now? Do you see why I did what I did?” Sadness overcame the old man’s wrinkled face. “I loved my family. Honestly, I did. I loved you all. But what I saw—what I knew that was harbored deep within, I knew it was only a matter of time. Even when shown kindness, we’ve all turned on one another. You know it well, my grandson. We carry a sickness—one that spreads like a plague. It must be contained, Eric. It must be put down.

Eric nodded. “I understand. I will purge them all. I will carry this mantle—this burden. For our family.”

His grandfather smiled and then vanished into nothingness. Eric looked out the window to the cloudy sky and the buzzing street corners. He closed his eyes and greeted the darkness.

Some time passed, Eric stared out at the gardens at the hospital. The sun shined brilliantly everywhere. He caught a glimpse of himself, and his family behind him, all mourning. He grinned as he lightly rubbed his bandaged neck. “I’m not dead yet.”

It begins again. This time the madness will be contained.