I’m taking a moment to listen to the voice and the meaning of the two pieces of art. Do you hear it – The sound that is not allowed to escape the confinement of the box?
Munch gives it away in his title “The Scream.” I remember studying this piece by Expressionist Edvard Munch several times and having to make an educated guess about what was behind or in front. I personally hear footprints approaching the subject. In this work by Kubicki, there is a visceral scream that emanates from the pieces of the body that remain and the shadowy screams from what has been taken away. This piece reminds me of the opposite of Michelangelo’s captive where man is trying to escape the confines of the marble. This man (or woman) is being made a captive by what… a horrific parasite? Enjoy the words that you don’t hear and then read the words of Jon Olson and Hunter Shea.
“Let’s see you live through this, asshole,” Michael whispered in the Erwin’s ear.
With that he tilted Erwin’s head back and cut deep into his neck.
Erwin gurgled and blood gushed out. Michael held him for a few minutes, enjoying the feeling of taking another man’s life until Erwin went limp. The gurgling slowed and then went silent…
…I can’t remember how many times I’ve died; how many times I seen the light, reached out to accept its embrace only to be pulled back into this fucking existence so that I may die again.
I have felt the pain that the body goes through as each internal organ shuts down. I have felt my heart stop more times than I want to remember. My body has been stabbed, crushed, and shot many times yet somehow it always heals itself.”
~Jon Olson is a regular writer for Pen of the Damned. Go to PEN to read Phantom Pain in its entirety.
Jon’s Blog: Monster Lane
You can also find Jon’s work at Siren’s Call Publications.
I needed light. It was impossible to face the ghoul in the dark. My spirit wavered between bravery and death by panic. I fumbled around the desk until I found the matches.I struck one against the desk. It sputtered for a moment, then fizzled out. The sounds in the corner stopped. I could feel the ghoul’s penetrating gaze cut through the dark. I grabbed another match, and with unsure hands, tried again. The match stick broke in half, falling to the floor. Clack, clack, clack, clack. Those odd footsteps again. Now a gurgling sound, a bubbling death rattle of a cry.
“Please, dear God, help,” I whimpered as I reached to pick out another match.
My cry was answered, as my thumbnail flicked across the match head, a brilliant flame roared to life. And in that same instant, I wished I’d never brought light into the parlor.
“Lucy!” My doll, my porcelain companion, stood on two small legs, leering at me. Its face had turned a mottled green, and bloody teeth sprouted from a mouth that was never designed to open…
…“It was the demon in Jessamine. It became a ghoul. When it left Jessamine, it hid inside Lucy. You can see it, right there!” I screamed, pointing at its lifeless body…
Hunter Shea is a writer for Pen of the Damned. He has several published works of horror. To read his short story Mercy in its entirety go here.
Hunter Shea’s Blog
“Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye…it also includes the inner pictures of the soul.” E. Munch
Hunter Shea Hell Hole on Amazon
The Montauk Monster on Amazon
So grateful to Jarek Kubicki for allowing me to use his art for Horror Week. It is exceptional art. I’m excited for his book release in 5 DAYS!!!
Before the blood dries why not take a spin around this year’s Coffin Hop
. Plenty of book giveaways!!!
I’m looking at the art I selected for today and realizing minimal and horror works. The use of a few shapes, three or four colors, or primary colors can speak volumes as in these two pieces One by Polish artist Jarek Kubicki and the other by German painter Edvard Munch. If you think about cinematography, dark lightening heightens the senses and muted low musical tones creates an edginess.
Do you hear the woman gasping as she throws her bloodied face back? I think the bit from Craig McGray fills in her gurgling whispers. Her draping dripping necklace infers blood dripping off her nexk. It’s a great desperated effect that Kubicki has created. (
Munch’s painting “Two Women on the Shore” , do you feel the black figure prodding the girl forward into another world? Do you see innocence contrasted by death’s decay? The figure in white seems to be in a trance being pressed into death. The woodcut print was an excellent choice for preventing distraction from the theme.
Nina’s feathers are indeed black (and blood is flowing) in her chilling short story.
“You’ll not speak of my secret in life nor death. Of this, I’m sure.”
…In one hand, a large needle with wire tailing from the eyelet; in the other, a small vial of liquid gleamed in the glowing candlelight.
Beth strained against her bindings, but she was too weak to break free. Gloria removed the cloth from Beth’s mouth and grabbed her chin before tilting her head back, forcing the potion down her throat…
…Intermittent flashes of reality only offered hints as to Gloria’s purpose; the biting pain as her stepmother forced the wire through Beth’s lips made those intentions all too clear.
Darkness devoured every ounce of light.
Craig McGray is a regular writer for Pen of the Damned. You can read all of the short story (excerpt above) Kept Secrets here.
… “Did I frighten you?” I ask with mock patience, patience I have not felt in a decade or more.
She stares back true and steady for several heartbeats, licks her lips – a gesture of fear, or simply to moisten them? Her eyes say the latter. In a whispered voice that carries more strength than I would have imagined, she replies, “No, not frightened. Startled.”
“I don’t frighten you? I find that hard to believe. Please don’t tell me you are some ignorant field peasant the grovlings dragged in here because your curves will suit me.” Exasperation and a growing anger fill me as my fingernail draws blood from the soft hollow where it resides.
This is not the distraction I hoped for; yet another useless mongrel, I look away. Just as I am ready to release her from the burden of breathing, her hand gently wraps around mine, forcing my nail in deeper. I turn back, ready to dispatch the second disrespectful whelp of the day. “No, I was not dragged here by those hideous little creatures. I came of my own accord.” Staring directly into my eyes, she continues, “I have seen you, in the glade. Warming yourself in the sunlight, I have seen you soar above the cliffs that house this cave. I have seen you caress your lover to death near the water’s edge. I have watched you for some time now, and I wish to be like you. To…”
Nina D’Archangyal is the co-founder of Pen of the Damned and a regular writer. You can read all of her short story Feathers- here. Nina is also co-owner of the Siren’s Call E-zine.
Jarek Kubicki has given me permission to use his art this week to make the horror writing more tangible. Please have a look at his gallery this piece today is from his numbers collection and the negative of his black feathers (from Rumors about Angels collection) was an awesome addition for the end of Nina’s Feathers. In six days he has his own book release coming out in 6 days!!!
Looking for some good horror to read? Check out the Coffin Hop that runs through the end of this week. 50 authors are doing the hop with lots of free and discounted horror to keep your blood at the perfect chilled level. Nina is one of the participants and she is giving stuff away every 8 hours here – I think she will be a Zombie by the end of the 8 day HOP.
And… Craig and Nina have recent releases. Please enjoy their work- they are both are exceptional horror writers.
This week is set aside for the darker edge of life. Why not combine the two disciplines of art and writing to see what gets dug up!!!
What is horror for writers and artists? Darkness is in the air, it suspends one against its will, it hides in the shadows, but it doesn’t stay there. Darkness awakens the sleeper casting him into a delusional dream or awakens the dreamer into a place he tries to claw away from.
Why write it? why paint it? I ask this question often. There are too many answers and none the same (and some darker than others.)
Is horror just about Monsters?
“[Horror fiction] shows us that the control we believe we have is purely illusory, and that every moment we teeter on chaos and oblivion.”
― Clive Barker
Dali The Face of War
“Tired. So tired… Confusion and disorientation numbed his mind like cotton wrapped hands. Thoughts felt like a jumble of dusty moths bumped plaintively against a dim light bulb. He couldn’t grasp where he was – what he was doing. His limbs felt stiff and unused.
The stony grip of anxiety seized his mind and burned in his lungs. A deep breath was impossible. Thin air pulled slowly through his nose, bringing with it the smell of fresh clothing and an acrid smell that reminded him of a dissected frog. His anxiety doubled when he realized his mouth wouldn’t open. A hand finally responded to his slow mind. It moved sluggishly, fumbled around haphazardly until it found his lips. Glue. Somebody had glued his lips shut while he slept. Anger and the inability to get a full breath drove his fingers to tear at his lips with a horrible frenzy.”
Zack Kullis is a published author and writes regularly for Pen of the Damned.
The excerpt above is from the short story “The Manipulator.” The story can be read here.
” He did not leave, that night on New Year’s Eve, because there was nowhere else for him to go. There is nowhere else when he hears every ragged wheeze, wherever he is; the shuddering breaths of a world on the brink of expiration. As best he can remember he has always heard these sounds. He did not always know what they were, or what it meant to hear the death-rattle of the stones and the trees and the earth, but he felt them all the same, and stood slightly apart from everyone else because of this, while the others ran laughing after one another, or played hopscotch, or made daisy-chains in the grass, oblivious…
… “On paper, darkness shines. Words convey savagery with the finesse of bright bouquets. Language illuminates the broken back of the world, its atrophied limbs, its eyeless face: a rotten leviathan floating in space, quivering with parasites while it sings its last whale-song through an ocean of distant stars, almost inscrutable except by those who dare to pause in their furious lives and, for a moment, listen.”
Thomas Brown is a published author and regular writer for Pen of the Damned. Hope you enjoyed the except from the short story “All These Voices.” It can be read in its entirety here.
This wonderfully depictive work of art is by contemporary artist( from Bucharest) Oana Cambrea
It became my ghost, that lullaby—its virulent strain infecting not only the cloaked woods that surrounded us, but also the ears upon which it fell. It haunted us all, wormed its way into our brains and cored our frightened eyes to hollowed orbs. Unlike the other girls, who mewled in dread as those tinny chords crackled out from the absolute darkness, I sought to discover its origin…
…The creature sniffed my body. I gagged upon its putrid breath. Its moist snout moved slowly along my neck as a sharp talon grazed the top of my shoulder. Feeling. Touching. Pinpricks of white twinkled in one eye—the starlight reflected back from within its inky, remorseless orb. It peered upward, measuring my response. Urine trickled along my legs and I dropped the knife to the ground.
All those same people who scold you,
what they’d give just for the right to hold you
Joseph Pinto is the Co-founder and writes regularly for Pen of the Damned. The short story “Lullaby”(excerpt above) can be read here.
Purple Hope (Pancreatic Awareness website)
Zack Kullis on Amazon
Thomas Brown’s Lynnwood on Amazon
Joseph Pinto Dusk Summer on Amazon