Friday, April 29, 2011

Escape With Horror

Escape With Horror

Feeling bored? Don't know what to do this evening? Well, how about escaping the usual routine by watching classic horror movies that changed the genre forever.  I recall when I was a kid and sitting in a movie theater, mesmerized by the sound of a chainsaw.  If I didn't know enough to respect that tool till that point, I guarantee respect went out the window and outright fear set the stage for my future.  How could I grow up to be a lumberjack if the mere sound of such an important tool, made me want to crawl and hide inside the pantry?

Anyway, as luck would have it, Katina Solomon sent me a link from one of my favorite sources, College Degree Dot Com.  I've included an excerpt of the article here, but please follow the link below to finish reading the article at College Degree Dot Com and perhaps you'll find something else to your liking or maybe, decide to finish that degree you've putting off.  

Without further ado, more about horror movies. 

10 Horror Movies That Changed the Genre

As long as movies have existed, filmmakers have been telling horror stories. George Melies' Le Manoir du diable, a silent, three-minute French film from 1896, is generally recognized as the first horror film ever made, coming just a few years after the medium was invented. Since then, horror films have undergone constant changes, growing in tandem with mainstream entertainment and doing their own part to advance filmmaking technology, push the envelope for what's appropriate in film, and get people talking about movies. It's probably fair to say that there have been dozens, if not hundreds, of horror films that have changed the genre in one way or another, but of all these, a few stand out as especially powerful, or gripping, or revolutionary.

These are the films that didn't just make a cultural impact or earn decent revenue; they redefined what horror films looked like, period.

1. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: "Even if one of them survives, what will be left?" Tobe Hooper's 1974 film The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (it wasn't spelled Chainsaw until the sequels) was a pioneer in the slasher genre and instantly influenced the entire horror field. It's credited with popularizing a number of now-standard tropes for slasher flicks, including the plight of the "final girl," who is left to fight the killer or flee for her life after her friends have been picked off one by one. More than that, though, the film championed a new aesthetic that's still in use today: industrial grunge. The iconic Leatherface wasn't hunting his prey in a sleek city environment, a well-groomed suburb, or even a nicely tended piece of country land. He's chasing his victims through a grimy, run-down house and barn, one that's cluttered with old junk and the rotting remnants of previous kills. The Saw franchise and the whole vibe of Nine Inch Nails wouldn't exist without Texas Chain Saw Massacre. It's down and dirty, and it also took horror in new directions by having a killer motivated not by revenge or psychological trauma but by sheer creepy insanity. Leatherface's family is just plain weird, which is often scarier than anything.

2. Night of the Living Dead: The first entry in George Romero's Living Dead series is still, in many ways, the best. Appearing in 1968 and made for a ridiculously cheap $114,000, the film revolutionized horror and specifically zombie movies for decades to come. Shot in stark black and white, the film is a departure from the often cheesy thrillers that had filled movie theaters in earlier years. Psychological terror wasn't new, but the idea of taking zombies and other monsters so seriously certainly was. There's no way to laugh off the undead killers in Night of the Living Dead; this isn't a low-stakes, wacky frightfest. This is a full-on horror film, designed to be shocking, and it definitely achieves its goals. The movie made it safe to believe in monsters, and it pulled supernatural horror that much closer to the mainstream. If you've never seen it, you're missing a classic.

3. Halloween: Slasher films were a growing trend for horror filmmakers by the late 1970s -- in addition to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, there was 1974's Black Christmas -- but it was 1978's Halloween that really took the sub-genre to new heights. John Carpenter's terrifying film about a psychotic killer stalking bored teens on Halloween was made on a shoestring budget but went on to achieve major box-office success, launching the career of Jamie Lee Curtis in the process. It's a brilliantly structured scary story that makes the most of its atmopshere, too. After a shocking opening sequence in which the childhood Michael Myers slaughters his sister, the film dials back the blood and focuses on the paranoia and terror of being followed by a threat you can never quite see. The success of the film popularized slasher flicks, which flooded the market in the 1980s, but it also demonstrated that the best way to make a horror movie is to minimize the actual blood and gore and emphasize the mental effects of the story.

4. Dracula: There have been dozens of film and TV adaptations of Bram Stoker's Dracula, but the 1931 movie starring Bela Lugosi has stood the test of time and proven to be one of the most influential ever made. Produced and directed by Tod Browning (who directed Freaks a year later), the film came out just a few years after talkies were introduced, but its place in movie history owes as much to its story and style as it does its use of new technologies. The success of the film obviously paved the way for the legions of adaptations to come, but more importantly, it injected a vital strain of bleak realism into the horror field's dependence on the supernatural. (F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu can make a similar claim.) There's nothing remotely jokey about Dracula, and perfectly innocent people are killed or, worse, turned into vampires by his actions. The film made it clear that, though horror films often took place in fantastical versions of our own world, their consequences could be every bit as dire as those we'd see in a typical drama.

5. Saw: Saw did a lot of things right, but it also caused a lot of problems. Yet that's often the nature of those films that change their genres the most: that change can be profound, but not always positive. In 2004, Saw blew the doors off with its grimy, gory approach to morality plays. It can be tough to remember now just how much the film stood out from the pack at the time: it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and earned positive reviews, especially for its script, which reworked classic locked-room puzzles with a decidedly more gruesome bent. It amped up the industrial vibe of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre to 11 while introducing its characters to a series of deadly games that would come to dominate horror for several years with the rise of the "torture porn" sub-genre. The first film is, comparatively, light on the torture, focusing instead on the terror of captivity and helplessness, and it remains a visceral and chilling film. Unfortunately, its power was retroactively watered down by a series of increasingly convoluted sequels (there are now seven films in the franchise) and a host of odious films inspired by the notion of captors torturing their victims. (The worst of these was Captivity, which was so hard to stomach that even the billboards were censored.) Influence is double-edged like that. Flash Animation

You can find the rest of the article here

I hope you enjoyed this little snippet. 

Catch you on the dark side of the movies.  

Nomar Knight

© Copyright 2011 All rights reserved. has granted Knight Chills, non-exclusive rights to display this work.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Beautiful Horror: Sebastian by Aline Sánchez Iniestra

Beautiful Horror: Sebastian by Aline Sánchez Iniestra

Here's an excellent example of what I call beautiful horror by the gifted Aline Sánchez Iniestra:

by Aline S. Iniestra 
His eyes shed tears
For his lost little love:
A pretty girl in a white robe;
He’s only ten years old.
He stumbles on the snow,
Passes houses by,
Sits under a tree
That shares his loss, and cries.
He saw her die;
Snow painted in red,
His soul painted in black …
He cannot understand.
Now he has decided
To say nothing more;
He cuddles with the tree
And hopes to meet his love.
The night embraces him
And the moon lights up his fading eyes:
“Such little creature
That wish I will grant”
So he slept with the tree
And the moon disappeared,
And the sun with his warmth
Could not bring him to life.
Now he’s gone to join
His beautiful found love;
Two little children
Kiss somewhere beyond. 

Thank you Aline for adding a touch of class to Knight Chills. You may visit her wonderful blog: In Darkness I Play here  

© Copyright 2011 Aline S. Iniestra. All rights reserved.

Aline S. Iniestra has granted Knight Chills, non-exclusive rights to display this work.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sneak Peak 6: Master's of Horror Damned If You Don't

Here's a small taste of my story in this fabulous anthology. The book will be available in e-book, paperback and hardcover by May 1, 2011. Enjoy!

This tale by Nomar Knight reminded me of the SAW films, and brought to mind one of the other evils of addiction: when some people have their vice taken away, they’ll do anything to get it back.

Sins of the Flesh
By Nomar Knight

A loud screeching sound woke me.  At first, I thought my dreams still held my consciousness…
Until a tightening pain around my wrists heightened.  I moved my arms and chains rattled.
 My heart pounded when I saw a man’s button eyes peering at me through a curtain of hair.  His crooked smile did nothing to reassure me of my safety.  With his hands restrained behind his back, I recognized the contraption that held him in place.  I blinked in disbelief.  His neck was trapped in a guillotine.
“Oh, good, you’re awake.”  His familiar, nasal voice irked me.
I scanned the well lit chamber, noting our captor’s taste for ancient torture toys.  A wooden table used for stretching body limbs lay empty to my right. 
“Tell me, lady.  Can you see what’s above me?”
 “I’m not sure, but it looks like a blade.”  I broke out in a cold sweat.  Then I realized I hadn’t gotten high in a couple of days.  “What is this place?” 
A scream overtook the rattling of chains.  The terrible shrill seemed to originate beyond a closed bronze door.  I fought to move my limbs.  Metal bracelets latched my thin wrists in place.  Another pair of shackles held my ankles at bay as I hung on a cinder block wall.
Helpless prey.
Caught in an alien spider’s metal webbing.
The man said, “We’re in hell.”
Again, someone screamed.  The wail of agony jolted my eardrums like the sudden crack of thunder.  I shut my eyes, hoping that when I reopened them the dreaded nightmare would be over.  But when I did, the burden brought forth by reality heightened my hunger for crack.  Shaking my head I said, “I need to get out of here, now!”
The trapped man struggled to move his head until enough hair brushed out of his eyes.  From my vantage point, I noticed he had a pot belly and unusually long arms.  “I know you.” He sounded as if we were at the supermarket and he was pleased to see me.  “Christine?”
“You sound familiar, but I can’t place the face,” I said, probably because his hair kept falling on it.
“I’m Hadley.  We went to high school together.”
I recalled the long arms almost reaching the ground as he walked.  The kids teased him.  They called him ‘Magilla Gorilla’, after a cartoon character. 
“You do remember me.  You’re smiling.”
I wiped the grin off my face and jumped when the unseen man screamed again.  “Who is that?”
“That’s Potts.  Mr. Riverton is doing…God knows what to him…in the other room.”
My stomach churned upon hearing the name of our captor.  There was no way the town’s most prominent citizen would stoop to torture tactics.  “No…you’re wrong.  Mr. Riverton would never hurt anyone.”
Hadley mocked me with his laugh.  “Think about it, Christine.  What was the last thing you remember before waking up here?”
I recalled visiting the Riverton Estate unannounced.  I was surprised when the butler let me in.  He guided me to the study where I saw my last source of income and my only chance to get a fix: Peter Riverton.
I had lost everything. I’d sold everything I owned to buy crack, then robbed whatever I could from my husband, until he’d thrown me out. Then I robbed whatever I could from my parents, until they’d thrown me out. I’d been the Prom Queen of 2002, and I was a scrape away from turning tricks out of the back seat of my beat-to-hell station wagon. 
The scream reached a new decibel.  A rancid odor permeated our prison.  I said, “I was in Mr. Riverton’s study.”
Hadley grinned, “What a coincidence!  I was in his office at the casino.  You’d think to a man like him two thousand dollars would be a drop in the bucket.”
Mr. Riverton owned the only casino in town as well as most of its ‘legitimate’ businesses. Everything I knew about Peter Riverton made my current reality impossible to grasp.  Hadley was right.  Our incarceration didn’t make sense.
Hadley sighed, “How much are you in for?”  He grimaced while trying to remove his shackles.  

Check out the new Masters of Horror: Damned If You Don't Anthology website here

© Copyright Triskaideka Books 2011. All rights reserved. 
Triskaideka Books has granted Knight Chills non-exclusive rights to display this work.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Deception: Knight Chills Review of Red Riding Hood

      Not all tales are pulled out of thin air from some writer's overactive imagination.  Many are based on real events.  So when I sat down to watch the movie Red Riding Hood, what I understand to be the true story lingered in the back of my mind.  A Grimm tale usually entails a harsh lesson to be learned.  My take on the original spin is that a young lass, perhaps thirteen years old, chose to take the shortcut to grandma's house.  It's conceivable to think she had to travel through a heavily wooded area.  As a horror writer, I love walking in the woods.  There's something about the lure of the potential for evil to do its deed with little risk of being discovered.  Anyway, the redheaded teen ran into an older gentleman.  I have no reason to believe that he'd show himself to be anything other than noble and well mannered.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if his name was Mr. Wolf.  
     Now we all know that the big bad "man" gained the gullible child's trust.  His experience in knowing that Red's hormones were like wildfire ready to torch hundreds of acres probably added to his excitement.  Of course, we may never know if the child welcomed the change in routine to her eventual demise or if Mr. Wolf demonstrated a ruthless disregard for the young girl's life.  I don't doubt that first he stole her innocence.  Then he broke her to show his dominance and build up his ego until finally, he snuffed her life as if killing her would somehow bring him closer to immortality.  
     Immortality? Hmm, I shudder to think that Mr. Wolf has lived on in infamy by becoming the enemy to all decent men.  A real man doesn't need to abuse anyone or buy himself a bride (sex slave).  A real man will serve to protect the innocent and live to preserve dignity in the hopes that the youth will grow to improve mankind and showcase decency over horrendous deeds. 
     As far as the movie, directed by Catherine Hardwicke, poor Little Red Riding hood lives in a village terrorized by a werewolf.  Too bad the Twilight director brought in her version of a werewolf which to me, is just a wolf on steroids.  The movie featured nice scenery and there were a plethora of possible villains.  Yes, deception was the order of the day, but in the end what brought a smile to my face was how they incorporated the more innocent, well known version, down to the famous lines such as, "Why grandma, what big eyes you have."  I grinned because it was pretty lame. 
     I guess if it's a rainy day and you have no place to go, this movie would entertain, provided you don't have to pay theater prices. In fairness, it had its moments and Gary Oldman has always been a talented actor, but the romance angle didn't do it for this horror fan. 

     Knight Chills gives Red Riding Hood 3 kills out of 5.

© Copyright Nomar Knight 2011. All rights reserved. 
A Knight Chills movie review.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Knight Chills receives Liebster Blog Award

     It warms my heart to wake up to a good person's act of kindness.  One of my favorite writers and poets, Jezri, decided to pass on the Liebster Blog award to Knight Chills. You can visit her cool website called Jezri's Nightmares here. And be sure to purchase her entertaining e-books on Amazon which you can link up through her site.

     The award is given to recognize each writer's contribution to blogging. There are conditions upon receiving this award. The condition for accepting this award is to pass it on to 3 to 5 blogs that have under 300 followers. 

     There are plenty of great blogs that I read with less than 300 followers. However, I'll do my best to keep it to five. First up is my friend Julie Myers and you can find her blog in her fantastic website. My Paranormal Nightmares.  It's a fascinating subject that hits close to home. Please visit her, you won't be disappointed. 

     Next up is my fabulous Science Fiction author and friend, M PAX at Wistful Nebulae. If she doesn't dazzle you with her prose, her awesome space pictures will get you.

     Another writer whose work I enjoy reading is Aline S. Iniestra. She's a fellow member at Master's of Horror and writes excellent dark poetry. Check out the talented, rising horror writer star at In Darkness I Play.

     Of course, not everything with me is about horror. That's why I gravitate toward the lovely and talented Biola Olatunde at her blog, Ephesus. Biola is the real deal. Her mastery with words dazzles every time.  Plus, she enjoys featuring other authors in her segment, Center Stage. 

     Finally, Sean Paul Potterson hosts Blackprint Poetry. His dark poems hit close to home for me. Please show him some love, visit his blog and tell him Nomar sent you. 

     Thank you Jezri for nominating Knight Chills.

     Have fun visiting a few of my favorites and don't forget, I'll catch you on the dark side. 

Nomar Knight

© Copyright Nomar Knight 2011. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bleed by Bren Freeman

Bleed by Bren Freeman

     I'm pleased to welcome one of my favorite poets.  Bren Freeman has graciously left us with quite an impression here on Knight Chills.  Last year she taught us how things needed to change in her poem, Changes. Tonight, she provides more hope with exquisite poetry. Tonight she puts the pages of Knight Chills to Bleed.

By Bren Freeman

We bleed through our hearts,our words,
with the pen in our hand like our sword
But the strength is in the ones,
after all is shed, that can still say
I am strong enough to bleed again.
This heart will be the one
that through all the tears and pain....
finds the truest of love because it chose
to be strong enough to bleed again.

© Copyright 2011 Bren Freeman. All rights reserved.

Bren Freeman has granted Knight Chills, non-exclusive rights to display this work.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Let Me Be

Let Me Be

For One Stop Poetry Week 41

Let Me Be
By Nomar Knight

Let me be who I say I am
Not what you want me to be
Pleasing you got me in a jam
Stole my originality

Let me be what I want to be
Even if you lose face
I own up to responsibility
Your reaction's a disgrace

Let me be different for a change
Not like a robot stuck in time
So your friends call me strange
They never gave us a dime

Let me be a learner in my way
Even if I stumble and fall
Can't protect me every day
You're not talking to a brick wall

Let me be who I'm born to be
Original like sin
Spread my wings and be free
Tired of living in a stranger's skin

Let me be the one to soar
For great heights do await
Raising me wasn't a bore
Please let me meet my fate

© Copyright Nomar Knight 2011. All rights reserved. 
A Knight Chills poem.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sneak Peak 5: Masters of Horror Damned If You Don't

Time for another sneak peak into Masters of Horror: Damned If You Don't

Sex, as we all know, is the mechanism that puts us all on the planet, it’s proof positive that God wants us to feel something pleasant while we’re here. Having said that…it CAN be a ‘slippery slope’ leading some individuals to a Pandora’s Box of perversions that can destroy any hope for a healthy relationship.
There were two shocking, cult-classic horror tales in a genre all their own: one is “Love Doll” by Joe R. Lansdale, another is “Somebody to Love” by Robert Bloch.
And now, courtesy of Mr. Joseph Pinto, there are three…

By Joseph Pinto

He’d only fuck his type.
In actuality, he became quite the fusspot. He desired athletic women. They didn’t have to be sculpted from stone, but they did have to have lean arms, and they did have to have long legs. Pretty feet, too. That was important. Very important. He didn’t think it would be at first, but his tastes had matured. He joked with friends at work (they must’ve believed him to be a real hoot for they laughed an awful lot when he was around; odd he should still be waiting on an invitation to lunch or even happy hour, for that matter) that he was like a fine wine, better with age, blah blah blah, but when asked what he meant, he offered something ambiguous.
He couldn’t tell them the truth. They’d never understand.
Pretty feet. An odd thing. A breathtaking body scored points for sure, but appalling or misshapen feet would kill the deal. Long toes. Crooked toes. Fat toes. Callused toes or even callused heels. Pretty feet. It was important. He was a harsh judge. Now toenail polish he wasn’t such a stickler about, as long as the polish wasn’t flaking off. That skeeved him. Yep, a real deal killer.
He enjoyed tits; all applicants were welcome. Perky tits. Saggy tits. Booty mama go go tits. Whatever. He didn’t do much to them anyway. Sometimes he sucked on them. Occasionally he’d stick his dick between them. Mostly he liked to look at them. Tits were never the deal-killer bad feet could be.
The ass he preferred a bit bubbly but tight. An ironic thing, because his own ass was a pockmarked, lumpy thing. Just a mess. He never worked out. He was the complete opposite of the very women he preferred. He ignored the man in the mirror; the only thing he focused on was the whole fine wine thing, blah blah blah. Back to the ass. Tight. Yes. He usually took his women from behind and needed something to hold onto - a small waist, a wide firm ass. Lovely.
Smooth skin soothed him. Smooth and cool. Cooler the better. He liked to rub the length of his own body against theirs before fucking.
But there was one thing his women couldn’t have.
A head.
Fairly simple. He didn’t need to look at them. He was fucking them, after all. No head. Clean, cut and dry.
He looked his girls over. Monica, Jasmine, Katelyn, Sarah and Bunny all in a row. He knew Bunny wasn’t her name. It was a stage name, but he never questioned her real identity, never pressed the issue. He chose five girls every night from the many that shared the house. How many were there now - fifty, sixty maybe? First floor, second floor. Attic. Basement. Every closet. The girls were there. He’d always find them. They couldn’t leave. Why would they? He took good care of them. Besides, he was a good fuck, if he said so himself.
He took his time. Choosing five girls from the lot was a difficult task. His tastes changed all the time, sometimes several swings over the course of a given day. Choosing one girl from the five was even thornier. Nerve-wracking. He certainly didn’t want to offend anyone. He didn’t want to offend any of the girls, ever. It wasn’t a matter of picking the best, he’d tell them. Just picking the best to accentuate my taste for the day, he’d explain. They knew he had specific tastes anyway. They understood he was like a fine wine.

One of the advantages of living in this period in history is if you don’t like some particular feature about your body, you’re not necessarily ‘stuck with it’. Is your nose too long? Chop it. Are your breasts too small? Shove some silicone in there. Don’t like your eye color? Stick in some colored contacts. Build that ‘Perfect Beast’, baby.
Just try not to get carried away. Because both beauty and ugliness—as Carson Buckingham explains—are only…

By Carson Buckingham

It all began innocently enough, with the removal of a single, unsightly wart.
Lucinda Parker had been begging her mother for years to take her to someone who could get rid of “the immense-by-any-standards” growth next to her nose. 
“Mother, it looks like I have three nostrils,” she would wail, and her long suffering parent would then give her the same, half-listening broken record response, “When you’re older.”
To which Lucinda’s broken record rejoinder was. “I’ll never be ‘older’ because I’ll kill myself before then!”  This was invariably followed by stomping down the hallway and slamming her bedroom door—often more than once.
“The difficult years have arrived,” Mrs. Parker could be heard to mutter as she dried another dish.
The difficult years.  Lucinda was twelve.  She had had exactly one menstrual cycle, thirty-two (she counted them) pubic hairs, and one training bra which she wore night and day.  She was already shaving her underarms and legs, though not out of necessity, and was experimenting with make-up.  Her best effort to date made her look, if you squinted, like Lady GaGa; her biggest failure, a cross between Alice Cooper and Tammy Faye Bakker.
The hairstyles are not to be mentioned, much less discussed.
In short, Lucinda felt that she was now a Grade-A, one hundred percent woman, and she wanted the perks that went with it; but before they could even begin to kick in, she had to do something about her face.
Everything would be perfect if I could only get rid of this tumor next to my nose.  It dwarfs the Empire State Building , for cryin’ out loud!
Mr. and Mrs. Parker remained unconcerned for most of that year, chalking their daughter’s antics up to number one, a phase and number two, hormones.
However, as Lucinda’s thirteenth birthday neared, things shifted dramatically.
“Lucinda, it’s Saturday night.  Why don’t you go out to the movies with your friends?” Mrs. Parker asked.
Her daughter looked up from her copy of “Marie Claire” and rolled her eyes.  “I don’t have any friends.”
“Oh nonsense.  Of course you do! Call one and go out—my treat.”
Lucinda sighed and picked up the phone.
Ten minutes later, there was a soft knock at the front door.
“Must be Lu’s friend,” Mr. Parker muttered behind his newspaper.
Mrs. Parker, ever cautious, glanced into the peephole.  “There’s nobody there, George.”
“Damned kids.  You’d better see if they left a bag full of dog crap on the stoop, hoping that you’ll step on it.”
“George Parker, really!”
“We did it when I was a kid.  Doubt things have changed all that much.”
“Haven’t,” Lucinda said, walking in.  “Except now they set fire to it to make sure you step on it.”
“How charming,” Mrs. Parker said.  The word ‘disgust’ could have actually appeared across her forehead and no one would have been surprised.
“Aren’t you going to open the door?” Lucinda asked.
“There’s no one there.”
“Sure there is.”  She swung open the door and there stood six-year-old Charlie Foley from next door.  He was so small that he didn’t show up in the peephole.
“Oh, I’m sorry to keep you waiting out there, Charlie,” Mrs. Parker said.  “Does your mother need something?  Eggs?  Sugar?”
“No, m’am.  I’m here fer Lucinda.  We’re goin’ on a …uh…what was it again?” he asked Lucinda.
“A ‘date,’ Charlie.”
“Thassit!  A date.  Whassa ‘date,’ Mrs. Parker?”

       As it happens, there are addictions that are somewhat positive…at least when compared to most others. Even though obsession almost radiates from this particular protagonist, this one made me want to jump back into a gym…and get…

By Blaze McRob

       It is time. The iron calls me.
       The digital clock next to my bed spells out 1:59 in bright red letters. Perfect. Once again, I wake before the alarm goes off.
       I can’t remember the last time it sounded. Probably, there would be no need to set it, but the fear of oversleeping, of missing my encounter with the destiny of the day, forces me to continue with the ritual.
       Except for the alarm clock numbers, my bedroom is completely dark: just the way I like it. This is my house. I live alone and don’t have to cater to anyone else’s  needs or wants. My sense of purpose, compulsion, and desires, preclude me from allowing anyone else to venture into my world. It is mine and mine alone.
       I dress in the dark, pulling my clothing from its allotted space on top of the ottoman adjacent to the lone chair in the room, a weathered, brown Lazy Boy. There is no need for unnecessary furniture to clutter up my existence. Books and magazines go on bookshelves and my furniture sits in a neat, orderly fashion against the walls, allowing an open expansiveness to my environment.  
       As usual, I made coffee last night and I plop it into the microwave to heat it up as I finish my preparations. From the refrigerator, I withdraw two bottles of a thirty-two gram protein drink; thirty-two grams is the maximum amount of protein the body can absorb at a time. Fully dressed, my thick drink in hand, I walk out my front door into the quiet morning, enjoying the bite in the air. It helps to prepare me for what’s coming, and I smile in anticipation of what lies ahead.
       It doesn’t take long to walk the four blocks to the gym. I stare at the unique design of the building: the right side roof, extending forty feet into the sky, has a steep pitch before blending into the flattened design of the remainder of the structure.
       No one else is here: the parking lot is empty. The place is all mine.
I slide my access card into the slot and enter, allowing me time to soak up the ambiance and bask in the glow of my surroundings. This is my gym: I own it and I’m proud of it. My 24 hour-access piece of heaven.
       The treadmills, steppers, and bikes, are all up front by the big windows. I walk past them. My warm-up is a little different: 400 bent knee sit ups at a moderate pace. Why 400? No reason. That’s the number I’ve been doing for years. This way, I get well developed abs without the bulk. I slide my toes under one of the benches and go to town.
       My waist might be trim, but the rest...the rest is not. Thirty years of pushing the iron around has made me huge. If you slammed an oak plank across my back, said plank would break…and I’d just think it was raining.
       Today is my big day: the day of my total body workout. Every muscle in my body, worked as hard as is possible to push a muscle to the very brink, to the precipice of maximum potential usage versus the possibility of exceeding what should be attainable. Go too far, and danger reaches out to grab you, snapping your tendons as if they are overstretched rubber bands, tearing away muscle fibers like stringy pieces of over cooked corned beef removing themselves from the main brisket, and destroying cartilage around the knees, perhaps for life. And every so often, there is the specter of bone pushing through the skin, the popping sound echoing throughout the gym, followed by cries of agony.
       The gym talks to me, daring me to reach my ultimate maximum.
       Are you man enough today?  Do you dare touch the heavy iron? 

© Copyright Triskaideka Books 2011. All rights reserved. 
Triskaideka Books has granted Knight Chills non-exclusive rights to display this work.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Burning Love XX

Burning Love XX
By Nomarr Knight

            I found the vacant apartment which overlooked Angelino’s Bistro.  The plump mobster sat alone at a table outside the restaurant.  Two goons, both over six feet tall, stood behind him, eyeing every passerby as if each person were a potential assassin.  I thought it odd they never glanced up in my direction. 
            I recognized the sniper’s rifle Sam left for me to use for the execution.  A Cheytac bolt action rifle sat on the bed.  I loaded five .408 caliber rounds.  Sam had trained me with one like it because he felt I could handle its kick.  Plus he favored the silencer on the muzzle.  He called it a kickass weapon for long range kills.  I recalled the gleam in his eyes when he cradled the thing.  After a month of intense practice, the rifle felt good in my hands.  He had called me a natural. 
            I took position by the south window and was pleased to see my target still in place.  He sipped a glass of wine and snacked on a piece of bread.  I peered through the Chetac’s scope and grinned for my target was well within the 2000 meter range, promising to make this hit a piece of cake.  I put an earpiece on and at once Sam’s voice disappointed me. 
            “Glad you made it, Candy.  This is a quick in and out.  Pump two rounds in the bad man’s chest.  By the way, the key to the locker you have is no longer needed for there’s been a change of plans.”
            “What?  What now?”
            “Lucas just placed the bag under the driver’s seat of your car.  Your plane ticket and bearer bonds are all you need to start a new life.”
            I hadn’t noticed my body temperature rise until a droplet of sweat landed on my wrist.  There was something odd about all this.  Sam had proven relentless in his efforts.  I couldn’t believe he would let me just disappear. 
            “Where’s Lucas?”
            “Concentrate on the hit!”
            I wasn’t sure if he scolded me in anger or annoyance.  Emotion usually eluded the great assassin. 
            “I’m not going to go through with this unless you tell me where he is.”
            “The deal is your life for this final kill.  Lucas belongs to me.”
            “He’s my boyfriend!”
            “He’s my associate.  He never cared about you, Candy.”
            “You lying bastard!”
            “The window of opportunity will soon close.  Concentrate on the hit and you’ll be rid of me forever.  Isn’t that what you want?”
            His cold voice sent shivers down my spine.  I tried to shake off tears.  Sam had attempted to teach me to leave my emotions out of my work.  Assassins had no business being sentimental.    Tears clouded my vision, hindering my ability to shoot the weapon. 
I forced myself to look for a positive and I was thankful how much thought had gone into this location.  Sam had canvassed the area well.  It would be difficult for me to hit anything from this angle other than my target. 
            When my eyes cleared I refocused on my target and gasped.
            “What’s wrong, Candy?”
            A chubby boy about five-years-old and a little brunette girl around ten hugged my target, Angelino Trasverte.
            “I can’t do this!  He has kids!”
            “Damn it, Candy!  How many times do I have to tell you?  Emotions are the cleanser’s enemy.  You are not evil.  What we do is essential for the good of mankind.  We are providing a service to society, one that has been around for ages.”
            “I am not going to kill a man in front of his children!”
            My hands shook.  I looked away from the scope and up to the heavens.  In my mind I asked, “Please God, if you exist, get me out of this without killing anyone.”
            Sam said, “I knew you would chicken out.  Take a look at the little girl’s happy face, Candy.”
            “No, I’m leaving.”
            “Look at the girl and tell me what you see!”
            Sam’s irritated tone chilled me.  I had no choice but to look through the Chetac’s scope.  When I adjusted the sight I saw how overjoyed the girl was. 
            “Do you see it, Candy?”
            “So she’s happy.  What does that have to do with me?”
            “Look further down.”
            A red dot fixated on her chest.  The monster had his own sniper’s rifle sights fixed on the girl while Angelino had his attention turned to his son. 
            “Sam, you wouldn’t dare!”
            “You know me better than that Candy.  You keep your end of the bargain and execute your mark, and I won’t have to kill the girl.”
            “I hate you!”  I tightened my grip on the instrument of death.  “How can killing an innocent girl prove to me that you’re on the side of good?  A good man would never take a child’s life.”
            “Are you sure?”
            A silent pause shook me to the core.  Again my body trembled. 
            He whispered, “Every war has collateral damage.”
            So many thoughts rained in my mind.  I pictured making love to Lucas.  I wondered what kind of life Angelino’s kids would have without a father.  The fact he was a mobster meant that he probably wouldn’t live long enough to raise his kids anyway. 
            “Sam, do you have any idea what shooting Angelino in front of his kids would do to their psyche?”
            “We’re not in the business of mental health.  We exist to make the world a better place.  Shoot him now!”
            I swallowed hard and tried to dry my hands against my jeans.  Then I pulled latex gloves on to reduce the chance of slippage.  The way I saw it, though I had loaded five rounds, the first one was the money shot. 
            “Damn it Candy!  Angelino’s getting up.  You may lose your only window of opportunity!”
            I aimed for his chest.  He hugged the boy and patted the girl on her head.  I held my breath and squeezed the trigger for my scope revealed a heart shot would be almost impossible.  The bullet entered through his left clavicle bone.  I fired another shot and watched as blood spurted out of his neck. 
            Sam yelled, “Take the headshot!”
            Angelino had spun and was falling fast when my third shot entered the back of his skull.  Screams and pandemonium ruled the next frantic moments.  One of Angelino’s bodyguards pulled the children away from my line of sight.  The other had a nine millimeter drawn and crouched over his boss. 
            “Get out Candy!”
            I wanted to find Sam since I knew he was nearby.  I wanted to pack up the weapon, take it with me and hunt Sam down.  Having been careful not to leave my DNA behind, I left the room and the rifle behind, trying hard not to look rattled.  I was thankful I wore a plain blue cap, which at first glance made me appear like a boy.   A green army jacket hung loose on me.  This was my idea of inconspicuous wardrobe.
            When I got to my car I had hoped to find Lucas sitting inside, but instead I found a black duffle bag with one million dollars in bearer bonds and a ticket to Paris.  There was a blue, scented envelope.  I instantly recognized the cologne that Lucas wore.  I opened it and found this letter.
            My dearest Candy,
I regret that we must not continue our affair for we are linked to a man who will stop at nothing to win his battles.  I’m sure he’s said that I played you, but the fact of the matter is that I loved you since the first moment I laid eyes on you.  Take this opportunity to make the right choice now.  Choose life and go far away from this mad existence.  In time you’ll fall in love and perhaps forget I ever existed.  Whatever happens, never disregard your training and please try and find happiness for while it may not exist for me, I feel you are destined to find and keep love by your side. 
I love you my sweet, always. 
Cold.  My body grew numb.  I didn’t know what to feel.  I thought I’d turn to mush if I had ever lost my love.  At first, anger crept in for I failed to exact vengeance on my uncle who had molested me when I was young.  Soon anger was replaced by confusion.  I felt like a lost soul incapable of holding on to thought.  Just when I felt hope drained away, my focus returned with a vengeance.  I caught the next plane to Paris.  For much of the flight my senses heightened, prompting me to expect an unknown assassin to eliminate the loose end that I was.  Eventually, I recognized that Sam had finally kept his word.  I raced to the bathroom to get away from people. 
Once inside the only private room on the plane, I balled, mourning the loss.  At first I cried because I had lost Lucas, but then I cried tears of joy because I had finally gotten away from the madman that changed my life.  Sam may still be alive, but at least I had an opportunity to change my fortune and find a love that could be stronger than what I had with Lucas.  I prayed for a chance at living a life so passionate that it could only be described as burning love.  
            I had my life back.  Though the road ahead was filled with regrets and lost opportunities, at least I survived.  Who knows, maybe I’ll be strong enough to fight another day.

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 Thank you to all Knight Chills readers for your wonderful words of encouragement and for keeping Candy and the cast of characters company through many nerve racking nights. Look for this novella in e-book, titled, Burning Love by June 2011.  Hopefully, the novel will be ready for the spring of 2012. Lots more action coming Candy's way and several surprises are in store for our charming assassin.
© Copyright Nomar Knight 2011. All rights reserved.
A Knight Chills presentation.