Night things is populated with familiar monsters given new life, meaning and motivation by the skilled pen of Mr. West. It is the first story I have read in a long time that has kept me awake into the early hours of morning because I didn’t want to put it down. One more page, one more chapter, I had told myself frequently while reading this and I kept reading with heavy eyes, but eager heart. It is a complex interwoven tale that reveals different story lines from each of the main characters.
It is modern times and the monster brethren has grown in numbers to a population that could no longer stay hidden. There is a thin truce between mankind and monsters held together by one-sided laws that protect humans but let’s the monsters be exploited without protest. Gary Hack is a porn film director with a nasty drug habit that made a name for himself by making monster porn/snuff films. He works under the protection of monster underground crime boss Johnny Stucke. In another age, Johnny was labeled, Frankenstein’s Monster and banished from the world of man, but he worked his way back into civilization and built a strong domain catering to the darker human cravings in NYC. But now he has a new nemesis, an ancient evil that wants to wipe out mankind and Johnny’s kingdom along with them. The monster’s name is Dracula, and he has amassed an army of the undead to take down Johnny and then mankind in a sweeping war. He just needs to get into Johnny’s inner lair and that’s where Gary Hack comes into play. Gary is now being used by both parties as a double agent and will have his life torn apart by the ultimate monster battle, unless he can figure out a way to save his daughter, the only thing that matters to him in life, and fool both warring parties to gain his escape.
This is a finely written, fast paced tale that may have you choosing sides or loathing the hero, but either way you will be enthralled and motivated to keep the pages turning. It pits the famous monsters against each other while exposing the shady underbelly of the big city. I happen to enjoy the novellette sized story, it’s long enough to get an in-depth look at characters, but it’s still lean and doesn’t stray from the core story. Great reading for the horror fan that likes some gritty reality in their stories and a modern twist on familiar monsters.
It takes me a minute to realize I am in real trouble. I grip the side of the chimney, thirty feet in the air, with a length of lit Christmas lights in my hand. I wanted to wrap the light string around the chimney from the side that was accessible from the roof peak to the side that stood in open air. I had attempted to throw the wire around the chimney like a lasso but it got caught up on the chimney cap. I reached out to get it and slipped off the roof shingles.
My arms strain to the threshold of pain as I try to regain purchase on the roof with my left foot. My right foot clings to a small nub in the brick, thirty feet in the air. I have no choice; I have to jump. I may sprain both ankles or even break a leg but I’ll deal with it. I notice how the colored lights illuminate the chimney and the skin of my arm, soft colors; red, green, blue and yellow. It would have looked fantastic if I had finished decorating, better than the Johnson’s house across the street. I finally had something that Ted Johnson couldn’t copy, a way to differentiate my home from his. His chimney is at the back of his house.
My arms can’t hold on any longer. I decide to push off with my feet so I won’t land too close to the chimney and scrape my face. I count to three and push. I fall a few feet and my journey is interrupted. I feel a hard tug on my neck and my body bounces back against the chimney brick. The string of lights is wrapped around my throat and cutting into my flesh. I kick my feet frantically to find some kind of purchase or to kick myself loose, either one. I try to grab the wire but it is embedded too deeply into my neck. I can’t breath and I gasp for air. My face turns red hot. I pull on the little twinkle bulbs to get my fingers under the green wire. It doesn’t work. I find the hanging end of the wire and pull on it forcefully, hoping to snap it and help it to unravel. It pulls plastic from wire and I feel jolts of electric current stiffen every muscle in my body. My body quivers a few moments and I feel heat. Flames rise before my eyes as my clothes catch fire. My vision fades and I pray the strangulation will take me before I feel the excruciating pain of my burning flesh. The flames engulf me. I hear the Johnson’s Dodge Durango pull up across the street and the doors open. Then I hear Ted Johnson say, “Holy Shit!”
I’ve finally topped his holiday decorations. I win.
This story is part of a series of flash fiction I am writing that deals with the ‘moment of death’ for my characters. Another of the stories is posted on Halloweenforevermore.com(Eight Seconds of Torment). I intend to title the full body of work, Moments of Death or 99 Ways to Die, or something like that. Let me know your thoughts 🙂