Horror

Death Honk: Nine Tales of the Macabre

By

This book will launch on Feb 5, 2021. Currently, only those with the link can see it. 🔒
Synopsis

Menace, Murder, Mystery!

Trespass forbidden boundaries, cross into eerie dimensions, mingle with the sinister and the lost in a treasury of nine peculiar tales ranging from the supernatural to the satirical.

A naïve publisher blindly sets in motion the annihilation of Earth.
High school students risk their lives in a brutal quest for popularity.
An ambitious District Attorney struggles against the consequences of his inane policies.

Written over a decade, these stories span the worlds of magical realism, dark urban fantasy and classic horror. Greed, innocence and betrayal draw characters into settings laced with tension, black humor, and the creepy abominations of H.P. Lovecraft. So grab a copy, relax and set your imagination to cruise as an anthology of fantastic fables awaits.

Dagon and Jill


Santa Monica, CA

Dear Mr. Whateley,

Guiding you through the publishing process would go a lot smoother with email. However, as you insist there’s no email in

Dunwich, snail mail it shall be. First, congratulations on selling your textbook concepts to the Los Angeles Unified School District. Great timing. The district’s religious diversity program, Different Voices, Different Ways, has been on the hunt for nontraditional faiths and yours certainly fits the bill. Mind you, I’m not judgmental. While I have never heard of Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep, or any other Great Old Ones, I’m certain your beliefs are sincere, and your books will contribute to the rich cultural mosaic that is Los Angeles.

To recap: Whitman Press will publish three children’s textbooks, based on your creed, for which you’ll deliver manuscripts and artwork. The three books are:

Dagon and Jill

The Shadow Over Humpty Dumpty

A Children’s Necronomicon (with pop-up section)

As Walt Whitman once said, “I am large. I contain multitudes.”

Welcome to our multitudes. I look forward to working with you and “opening doors,” as you like to say.

Cheers,

Martin Gelb-Crispling Editor

Whitman Press

PS

I Googled “Dunwich” in north central Massachusetts. Your town seems to be ground zero for bizarre deaths, livestock mutilations, disappearances, and a host of other mysterious, forbidding events.

All I can say is be careful.

Maybe purchase some pepper spray.


Dunwich, MA

Goode Gelb-Crispling,

The stars wheel in their course toward a terrible alignment. Young voices shall call forth that which is ancient beyond time; vital they learn to serve them who dwell in sea, earth, and outer spheres. The powerless crawl before those with it, if ye see my meaning.

Sent ye writing and pictures for first book, Dagon and Jill. Will send second book if I am still alive. Last night One that Dwells Below emerged. Now it roams the hills and has already et up a horse and a lawn goose.

I am yr servant,

Ezra Whateley


Santa Monica, CA

Dear Mr. Whateley,

Didn’t catch a lot of what you said, but I couldn’t agree more about empowering youngsters. Our daughter, Shannon, is being raised to believe she can rule the world.

Going forward, there could be a small problem with Dagon and Jill in the chapter where young Jill lures a homeless man out onto a pier, then shoves him into the water. The man is drug screaming beneath the surface by amphibious monsters, which then reward Jill with a gold tiara covered in seaweed.

This is a wonderful empowerment metaphor about the rewards that come from facing scary things. However, legal is worried some might view it as mean-spirited. Could you include people from other cultures and races, who are also shoved off the pier, so as not to single out the homeless?

Cheers,

Martin Gelb-Crispling


Dunwich, MA

Goode Gelb-Crispling,

Yer thought is true. More sacrifices would please Dagon. But Jill is too young to offer so many. Let stand the drawing of the doomed tramp.

Have sent ye words and art for second book, Shadow Over Humpty Dumpty. Artwork is mine, drawn in the eldritch light of a gibbous moon. Thing from Below went back down but et up a county road crew. Now police will come again to meddle.

Stars are aligning. Must quickly say the Black Mass and make the Voorish Sign. My youngest boy went mad. He sits drooling on the porch, trying to play the cat like an accordion.

He’s been scratched some.

Yer Servant,

Ezra Whateley


Santa Monica, CA

Dear Mr. Whateley,

Sorry about your son’s injuries. That’s a problem with cats. You’ll be pleased to know Legal withdrew all objections to Dagon and Jill after receiving your gift of a sack of gold coins. They say money talks, but in your case, it hollers through a bullhorn. However, it’s not for me to judge.

Our first printing of “Dagon” went out to schools and was incorporated into the Different Voices, Different Ways curriculum. So far, the book has been well received by students and teachers who enjoy the use of fantasy to further appreciation for non-mainstream faiths.

Everyone is delighted.

Except the police.

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there has been a tragic local incident. Three middle school boys confessed to pushing homeless men off the Santa Monica pier. (Not sure of the total number since no bodies were recovered.) The boys carried Dagon and Jill and were caught trying to purchase iPhones with a gold tiara covered in seaweed.

Clearly, this is a case similar to Charles Manson where he used the Beatles’ music for criminal ends. Still, I’ve been unable to determine if we face liability because our entire legal department resigned and moved to Las Vegas, taking along the gold coins. But that’s an internal issue.

Still, going forward, there may be more controversial points with your second book, The Shadow Over Humpty Dumpty. For example, in one chapter, youngsters Tiffany and Giles ambush and murder a postman. They cut out his intestines and droop them into a 7-11 Big Gulp cup. Late at night, Giles offers the entrails to a round, eerie being seated on a wall. It sips up the guts like spaghetti while Tiffany screams something called, “The Spell of Aklos.” (A real tongue twister, which, incidentally, contains no verbs.)

I’m inclined to argue this is a parable telling kids that even with religion there are no easy answers to some of life’s problems. Is that correct, or could it be a humorous metaphor on homework? Please clarify.

Cheers,

Martin Gelb-Crispling


Dunwich, MA

Gelb-Crispling,

Lad and lass appease the guardian of a doorway. Alter nothing on Spell of Aklos, least ye cause Earth to be dragged into another dimension. And stop ye talking so much. Print what I give ye.

Sending ye words and art for Children’s Necronomicon. Police broke up Black Mass and chased us, but we lost them in Cold Springs Glen. Alas, they shot my eldest boy. He died, then dissolved into a puddle o’ black stinking liquid.

But I knowed he would, so it’s Okay.

Yr servant,

Ezra Whateley


Santa Monica, CA

Mr. Whateley,

I don’t appreciate your tart tone. We’re all trying our best to be sensitive to your religion’s eschatology. Once again, our new legal department found no objections to “Humpty Dumpty” after receiving your gift of a large gold bar covered in moss. (You should really consider keeping your money in stocks.) Subsequently, “Shadow” has gone out to schools. Students and teachers are again pleased.

The police, not so much.

Same problem as before, I fear: bad timing. Recently, a half dozen postmen disappeared in Sherman Oaks. One was found dead near a cinderblock wall, split open like a Thanksgiving turkey, intestines missing. Anyway, because the postmen were federal employees, the FBI stepped in. They questioned everyone at Whitman Press except the legal department, who had resigned and left for Barbados with the gold bar. The FBI seemed to know quite a bit about you and Dunwich. They were rude, intolerant, bullies, especially one Special Agent Hank Armitage. He treated me as if I were an ignorant dupe. (I’m sure my SAT scores tower over his.)

I’m afraid I gave them your address. Clearly, from your previous letter, you are no stranger to religious persecution by the authorities.

Let me know if you need legal help.

Sadly yours,

Martin Gelb-Crispling


Dunwich, MA

Goode Gelb-Crispling

Armitage is a cursed threat and may yet spoil the return as in times past. (I pray he dies screaming in the mouth of terrible Nyarlathotep.) Know ye the signs of the coming? Lightning shall strike for six hours and upon the sixth hour doorways shall open, admitting them from without.

But all waits upon the stars and the last book, The Children’s Necronomicon with pop up section.

Hurry ye with the printing.

Yr. Servant,

Ezra Whateley


Santa Monica, CA

Dear Mr. Whateley,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful gift. I have never seen an emerald that big. (It will sure help with Shannon’s college.) May I call you, Ezra? I was a little upset in my last letter. Please forgive me. I’ve been under great pressure. The manuscript and artwork arrived for The Children’s Necronomicon. Everyone is relieved except the new legal department, who were hoping to have issues that would result in receiving one of your generous gifts. As it stands, the new book appears to be a fun, interactive, Harry Potter-type spell book with various incantations plus potions children can make out of common household items.

From the artwork, I gather kids will be opening those doorways you’re so fond of and allowing Earth to be engulfed by nightmarish Great Old Ones who topple cities and crush horrified humans. Meanwhile, the children who opened the doorways will be honored and given power over continents. (As well as pesky brothers and sisters? I kid.) Clearly, this message of perseverance winning out over adversity via belief in an underrepresented religion will be well received in diversity circles.

Are you still being hassled by police? I’ll notify the ACLU.

Martin Gelb-Crispling


Dunwich, MA

Goode Martin,

Cursed Armitage hunts me and has brought dogs, but this time he is too late. The stars are almost right. Ye have done much to bring about the indescribable return. May ye go mad quickly and not be devoured.

Farewell,

Ezra


Santa Monica, CA

Dear Ezra,

Please contact me at once. (I’ve included a phone card.) We have a crossover hit on our hands. The Children’s Necronomicon (with pop-up Great Old Ones) is being gobbled up—another of your favorite themes. Kids love it. My Shannon must have four saltshakers and twenty candles in her room. I hear her up there pronouncing those jaw busting spells you so love to write. Shannon even goes online and chants with other kids. They’ve started a Facebook page. As for you, we’re besieged with interview requests from the media. The Children’s Necronomicon could be bigger than Twilight.

Your friend,

Marty

PS

Nasty weather today. Lightning’s been hitting around here for almost six hours. Hope it lets up soon.

I’m supposed to play tennis this afternoon.

About the author

Author of several fiction and non-fiction books, Mac's writing career includes penning magazine articles, marketing copy and TV animation. A former assistant marathon coach with Team in Training, Mac is currently typing away on volume two of his "Hallow Mass" series. view profile

Published on December 26, 2020

30000 words

Genre: Horror