FLASH FICTION FRIDAY: Agonizing Decision | #flashfiction #freefiction #amwriting

Agonizing Decision

Hate. Murder. Unspeakable abuse. Neglect. Willful ignorance. Apathy.


Image Courtesy of Pixabay

You run the gamut of these emotions everyday but expect me to be loving, merciful, understanding. I can no longer allow the pain and outright hostility to run rampant among you. I have to take control back, return things back to the beginning; a time when creatures didn’t understand what they could do to one another. I have made my decision, agonized over it as I’ve watched you continue to destroy yourselves and everything I’ve created through your hands. It’s time to take it back to the bedrock and start anew…

© 2018 Julianne Snow

FLASH FICTION FRIDAY: Beneath | #flashfiction #freefiction #amwriting


image011It watches from beneath the flowing water, waiting for its moment to attack, tentacles tensed on the ready, coiled rage and frustration burning, blood boiling as it courses through hardened veins. It can see the bodies playing on the idyllic sand, their screams of pleasure knocking loudly at the vestigial auricles, inciting more anger, more hatred. Waiting for that moment when one chances close enough to grab with a strong, suction-cupped arm, it constricts inside with each high pitched squeal. A little white leg dances close enough and in the breadth of a moment, they disappear.


© 2018 Julianne Snow

7 Questions with Stuart Conover (@StuartConover)

Today on the FlipSide, I have the distinct pleasure of presenting an interview with author and friend Stuart Conover. For those of you who haven’t gotten acquainted with Stuart yet, here’s a little more information about him…

stubwStuart Conover is a father, husband, rescue dog lover, blogger, published author, geek, entrepreneur, and horror fanatic. He works IT during the day and tries to battle the urge to sleep with a healthy consumption of caffeine.

Twitter | Facebook | Amazon Author Page | Google+ | Website | LinkedIn

Welcome Stuart! Now let’s delve into the questions… Using ten words or less, tell me about your work.

My work revolves around adding new spins to classic concepts.

Well isn’t that intriguing… What song would you want to play during the opening credits of your book were it made into a movie? Why?

‘The Catalyst’ by Linkin Park or ‘Endgame’ by Rise Against

Both great songs! Who would you want to direct the story of your life? Is there anyone specific you’d like to play you?

As a geek I love everything by Joss Whedon though I don’t think the story of my life would be his type of film. Though if we’re having exceptions made, absolutely him! To play me? I’d go with Matt Damon just because he can pull off a good smile and a squinty look.

What is your writing process? Are you a planner or a pantser? Do you prefer to hand write your works or type them directly into your word processor?

Well I have two writing processes. For short stories I write them out by hand on the train and later on type them up. After they are typed I’ll print it up double spaced and edit by hand, update, and shoot them off! For novels they are completely type up initially. To continue I’ll also add in that I am a pantser for novels or joint work where I value an outline to work off of above everything else. The outline may constantly change as things progress but to keep things in order I find that they are invaluable.

What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself: something you wish you knew then that you know now?

Start writing sooner and make a point to write every day!

Writing every day is important! What are the three books that really inspired you to become a writer?

‘Dune’ by Frank Herbert

‘Good Omens’ by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

‘The Stand’ by Stephen King

Now it’s time for the Rapid. Fire. Questions.

  • Coffee or tea? Coffee
  • Cats or dogs? Dogs
  • Snow or sun? Sun
  • Print books or eReader? Both
  • Nachos or potato chips? Nachos
  • Baked or fried? Baked
  • Candy or chocolate? Neither
  • Comedy, Romance, or Horror? Horror
  • Action, Science Fiction, or Animated? Science Fiction
  • Classics or Modern? Modern
  • Old World or New World? New World
  • Sweet or spicy? Spicy
  • Comfort or Speed? Comfort

Thank you Stuart! Now let’s take a look at State of Horror: Illinois in which both Stuart and I have stories! Don’t forget that clicking on the cover will take you straight to Amazon.


Come take a unique tour of the state of Illinois. Visit a little known pizza place where the deep-dish pizza is to die for. Spend the night in a haunted house or explore an abandoned resort town. What happens when you disturb the sanctity of an ancient deity? Swim with us in a lake where fish are not the only creatures under the water’s surface. Ghosts, mobsters, and zombies all provide thrills as we explore the Land of Lincoln.

The number 13 is often viewed as an unlucky, even evil number. However , here it is only fitting we traverse the horrors of Illinois through 13 tales to make the heart beat just a little faster. Join us if you dare.

Stories by: Stuart Conover, Eric I. Dean, DJ Tyrer, Della West, Claire C. Riley, Herika R. Raymer, Frank J. Edler, Julianne Snow, A. Lopez, Jr., Armand Rosamilia, Eli Constant, P. David Puffinburger, and Jay Seate



7 Questions with Tabitha Thompson

Today on the FlipSide I have the pleasure of presenting an interview with author Tabitha Thompson. If you’re not yet familiar with Tabitha, let’s give her a moment to introduce herself…

CYMERA_20140819_130845[1]My name is Tabitha Thompson who resides in south Florida with a very loving family. I’m a devoted word nerd who has been writing horror stories for 7 years. By day I’m a college student who studies for computers and who’s a loyal employee for my day job but I churn out horror stories by night. In my life, many things have come and gone but writing was one of the few things that stuck around and became a great positive outlet since I can remember. Despite being very young and feeding off of different genres to figure out who I was, by the age of 16 I had found my calling in horror. Of course, none of my stories were good and were just plain embarrassing to read but I knew I could only get better if I continued. Ideas were never a huge issue for me as I would also get inspired by everyday people and no matter where I would be, my creative wheels would always turn.  After getting my feet wet with short stories published by Sirens Call Publications, it’s now given me the ultimate confidence to now aim higher with anthologies, novellas and possibly a novel by the end of the year which is still a work in progress.

Using ten words or less, tell me about your work.

West Nile is a story about mosquito bites gone wrong.

What song would you want to play during the opening credits of your book were it made into a movie? Why?

I have a bunch! But one I would choose is Never Surrender by Straight Line Stitch. Being a personal fan of this band and song, I felt that it also I’m a huge fan of the band personally but it resonates with West Nile as to fighting the good fight in a time of crisis.

Who would you want to direct the story of your life? Is there anyone specific you’d like to play you?

Interesting question. Being a huge fan of his I would get Ron Howard and I would get Nia Long to play me because she’s feisty, funny and awesome.

What is your writing process? Are you a planner or a pantser? Do you prefer to hand write your works or type them directly into your word processor?

I’m a pantser definitely. I always handwrite first and then go to Word processor for the final draft. Most times I’ll have fragments of a story that will suddenly pop up in my head then I’ll try to write them down as quickly as possible and then I’ll go from there. It sounds hippie-ish of me but my stories after that usually write themselves.

What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself: something you wish you knew then that you know now?

I’d tell myself to be more of a risk taker when it comes to my creativity. Although I started writing horror stories when I was 16, I felt that I wasn’t confident enough to put my work out there until I was 20 and got published in Sirens Call Publication’s online horror magazine at 23. So now if I had the chance to go back I would tell myself to grab life by the balls and just go for it.

What are the three books that really inspired you to become a writer?

3 books that had a huge impact on me to write were The Chosen by Edward Lee, On Writing by Stephen King and Dark Lover by J.R. Ward. Even though writing has grabbed me by the chest from an early age and has never let me go during my teen years these authors helped shape my stories a lot better.

Now it’s time for the Rapid. Fire. Questions.

  • Coffee or tea? Both
  • Cats or dogs? Both
  • Snow or sun? Although I live in South Florida I’ve seen snow in other states and it’s nice but so not down for subzero weather.
  • Print books or eReader? Print
  • Nachos or potato chips? Potato Chips
  • Baked or fried? Fried
  • Candy or chocolate? chocolate girl’s best friend 🙂
  • Comedy, Romance, or Horror? All 3
  • Action, Science Fiction, or Animated? Action and animated
  • Classics or Modern? Both
  • Old World or New World? New World
  • Sweet or spicy? Sweet
  • Comfort or Speed? Both

Thank you Tabitha for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’d like to keep up with what Tabitha is doing, you can find her on Twitter, Facebook, her blog, or Tumblr.

And if you’d like to read Tabitha’s short story West Nile. You can download the 16th issue of The Sirens Call full of Apocalyptic fiction for FREE ! Just click on the cover!



7 Questions with Bryan Murphy

Today on the FlipSide, I’m pleased to present an interview with author Bryan Murphy. If you’re not quite acquainted with Bryan, here’s a little more information about him…

Author on West Lake3British writer Bryan Murphy is the author of the social science fiction novella Goodbye, Padania, several other e-books and countless poems. He recently retired from a job within the United Nations system and now divides his time among Italy, England, the wider world and cyberspace. He is working on a novel set in Portugal during the world’s coolest revolution in the 1970s. The provisional title is Revolution Number One.

Welcome Bryan. Now let’s delve into the questions… Using ten words or less, tell me about your book.

As racism destroys Italy, Daria tries to give up killing.

What song would you want to play during the opening credits of your book were it made into a movie? Why?

“Strange Days” by The Doors. Because the older I get the more I appreciate The Doors, and because Goodbye, Padania is set in the future, which has to be strange to be interesting.

Great song! Who would you want to direct the story of your life? Is there anyone specific you’d like to play you?

Tarantino, to see what he could make of a life without violence.

Halle Berry, to see whether she can really act or not. Seriously? John Hurt, though he’s even smaller than I am.

You know, I’d like to see Halle playing you… What is your writing process? Are you a planner or a pantser? Do you prefer to hand write your works or type them directly into your word processor?

I’m an anarchist in the real world, but a dictator in my literary life. I grant my characters a bit of leeway, but not much. They will surely rise up and smash the system one day. However, I am planning to tighten it up before they get the chance.

Working on a full-length novel has changed my writing process. I wrote my short stories or poems, even my novella, on paper. Then I would type the work on to the computer, print it out and revise it (several times) using pen on paper, before keying in the changes to leave a final version on the computer.

With the novel, the first version of each chapter went straight on to the computer. It saved time and sped me towards the goal of a completed first draft.

What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself: something you wish you knew then that you know now?

Fact: football is fixed. I mean soccer, but it will be true of any type of sport on which vast sums of money can be waged. I used to think that football had one over on, say, “Macbeth”, because in football you did not know the outcome from the beginning.

Advice: get writing; and thicken that skin.

What are the three books that really inspired you to become a writer?

Brave New World, the Spectrum One science fiction anthology, and 1984.

Now it’s time for the Rapid. Fire. Questions.

  • Coffee or tea? Coffee.
  • Cats or dogs? Cool cats.
  • Snow or sun? Sun.
  • Print books or eReader? eReader for fiction; print for non-fiction.
  • Nachos or potato chips? Mexican nachos and UK chips.
  • Baked or fried? Baked.
  • Candy or chocolate? Chocolate, to eat or to drink..
  • Comedy, Romance, or Horror? Comedy: gotta laugh.
  • Action, Science Fiction, or Animated? Science fiction: future is now.
  • Classics or Modern? Modern, preferably contemporary.
  • Old World or New World? New worlds.
  • Sweet or spicy? Spicy.
  • Comfort or Speed? Comfort: it’s one of my favourite deadly drugs.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions Bryan. If you’d like to connect with Bryan, you can find him on Twitter, his website, on Facebook on both his author and personal pages, his Goodreads blog, as well as his Amazon Author Page.

Now let’s take a look at Goodbye, Padania… Don’t forget that clicking on the cover will take you straight to Amazon!

Daria_english_newDaria Rigoletti is a troubled young woman from the south of Italy. Seduced by a priest, she never forgets and never forgives. Years later, in 2032, she is in the independent, racist state of Padania, carved out of northern Italy. She has a contract to fulfil, a contract to kill. The look in her target’s eyes stops her, and from then on Daria herself is on the run. She does everything she can to give up killing, but can she really stop? Dark Future, good reading.

A Monday for Anything: Killers and Demons II: They Return Blog Tour with A. F. Stewart

Today on the FlipSide, I’m hosting A. F. Stewart as she tours the internet in support of her new collection, Killers and Demons II: They Return. She’s written a very engaging guest post, but before we get to that, let’s get to know A. F. a little better…

AnitaA. F. Stewart was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada, and still calls it home. The youngest in a family of seven children, she has always had an overly creative mind and an active imagination. She is fond of good books (especially science fiction/fantasy), action movies, sword collecting, and oil painting as a hobby.

Ms. Stewart is an indie author with several published novellas and story collections in the dark fantasy or horror genres, with a few side trips into poetry and non-fiction. She has a great interest in history and mythology, often working those themes into her books and stories.

Twitter | Facebook | Blog

And without further ado…

Historic Settings for Horror

I love history, and I often use different historic eras as settings for my books or stories. So what do I see in the past that makes it such an effective medium for horror?

First, it’s fairly easy to establish a sense of drama and tension in certain historical settings. London in the Victorian Era for example, invokes an iconic image of gas lamps, fog shrouded streets and Jack the Ripper type terrors lurking in the alleyways, while medieval settings lend themselves well to a more supernatural dread, demons, witches and the like. History brings with it a built-in atmosphere and mood, which can be adapted nicely to fit into the horror genre.

The trappings of an era can establish a tone for the story, too. A reader expects a certain kind of behaviour from a top-hatted, finely dressed Victorian villain, actions far different from a rampaging, scantily clad, sword-welding barbarian, or an evil-minded alchemist in a black hooded robe. Clothes, especially period specific clothes, often make the character.

In my new book, Killers and Demons II: They Return, several of the stories have historic settings, and use the built-in ambience and characteristics to full advantage. I traipse to my favourite era for horror—the aforementioned Victorian era—in two of the stories, One Night in London, and Runner. The pair is a contrast in subject matter, with One Night in London having a straightforward historical background, and Runner bringing in a supernatural element, but both use the dark and surreal London streets and a less than savoury Victorian underworld to create a quality of menace in the story. However, my story How Do You Take Your Tea? does a bit of the opposite. It uses a Regency England setting as a contradiction to the villainy of its characters and plot. I mean, what could be more frightening and disquieting than evil in the world of Jane Austen? Be careful sipping your afternoon tea, poison may be lurking in that cup.

My last two historical stories, Suffer a Witch, and Up From The Ground, play with medieval locales and superstition. Suffer a Witch combines the unjust accusations of witchcraft with a bit of undead resurrection and revenge, leaning heavily on history to form its basis. Up From The Ground does much the same thing, using religion and a slice of medieval life as backdrop for a chilling paranormal horror story of possession. There is something decidedly perfect in the pairing of a medieval setting and a demonic invasion.

So that’s my take on history and horror. An ideal match made in heaven…or maybe in Hell.

Thank you A. F.! Now let’s take a look at Killers and Demons II: They Return… Don’t forget to click on the cover to be taken straight to Amazon!

K&DII MedEvil is back, with a greater appetite for death.



They lurk forever in the shadows, smile at you in the morning, and haunt your dreams at night. You can’t hide, you can’t run, and there’s no escape. You can only scream when they come for you.

Killers and Demons II:  They Return is a collection of thirteen tales, blending short stories and flash fiction, tales where the blood lingers on your tongue or spurts quickly from the swift cut.

The Villainous Roster:

Wade, every parent’s nightmare
Hannah and Mr. Greeley. Who is the victim and who is the villain?
Simon and Zoe, a married couple who are dying to be single again.
Norman and his “cookie” of a wife, Mabel.
Millicent and Jane, a delightful duo you shouldn’t invite to your Regency tea party
Amanda, who literally has a skeleton in her closet
Balthazar, the demon bounty hunter on the hunt once more.
Sarah, a young woman going through some changes and craving new tastes
Emmeline, burned as a witch, now back from the dead for revenge
Gabrielle, a woman haunted by shadows
The Dollmaker, she showers death, and an umbrella won’t help
Nightmare Demons, bent on driving a town insane
And then there’s Alice, a little girl locked in the basement by her Daddy…

Together they form a spine-chilling cadre of predators.

Did I mention there was a giveaway??


Click on theRafflecopter logo to be swept away to enter!

SUNDAY SPOTLIGHT: The Possession of Nina Grey

Maynard Blackoak’s The Possession of Nina Grey released last week by Phrenic Press


Love is an obsession; possession it’s one true desire. If you found your lover to be unfaithful, what would you do? Would you seek revenge? Perhaps confront them reasonably to discuss the truth behind such infidelity? Or would you take matters into your own hands… or in Nina’s case, your own mind?

Where the heart beats the strongest, the psyche sometimes slips into abysmal madness prompting one to perform heinous, unthinkable acts. What drives Nina that one step too far? Perhaps the answer lies in the shadows that lurk between genuine adoration and insane jealousy – the grey areas.

Not all cheeks can be turned the other way, and not all truths are what they seem.

Click on the cover to be taken to Amazon! All Phrenic Press titles are exclusively available on Amazon for borrow and purchase!


The lovely and talented Nina D’Arcangela saw the release of her short story Bent Metal via Phrenic Press this week!

PhrenicPress_BentMetal_NinaDArcangela_CoverWhere does reality end and dreamscape begin?

Woken each night by the sounds of screams and twisting metal, Lauren must relive the panic and fear of discovering her brother’s broken body on the asphalt. But each morning, she finds it’s only a dream… One she doesn’t want to keep having.

At what point does a dream become a nightmare, and what if the nightmare was more than a figment of her subconscious?

Click on the cover to be taken to Amazon! All Phrenic Press titles are exclusively available on Amazon for borrow and purchase!

SUMMER OF ZOMBIE 2014: John O’Brien Teaser!!

Have got a treat for you all today!! John O’Brien, author of the A New World series is touring the internet along with 32 other Zombie authors during the Summer of Zombie 2014 Blog Tour!

So without further ado, let’s get to this teaser!!

Seattle, Washington

Untold Stories large2Captain Sheldon Hendricks stands just outside of the cockpit door near the front entryway nodding at each passenger as they board. If his other duties don’t interfere, he likes to greet the passengers. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Mary, the lead flight attendant for the flight, is stunning. It’s not that he has any ideas about taking it further than talking with the occasional flirt thrown in. He just isn’t like that for a number of reasons. He has observed too many ugly situations arise when flirtation becomes more. He is one of the few that keeps his private life separate from his professional one. Anything that has the potential to bring drama into his life, he avoids at all costs, regardless of how attractive anyone is. He’d been bitten by that one a couple of times before the lesson finally sunk in. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t look though, or do a little friendly flirting from time to time. He is human after all.

Mary and he chat amiably between greeting the passengers and him checking the enroute weather reports. Sheldon enjoys flying the red eye flight out of Seattle to Minneapolis and feels a little let down that this is to be the last one for the foreseeable future. It just doesn’t support the decreased number of fares. Normally, this flight is filled with every available seat taken. Tonight, however, they are less than half full with fewer than a hundred passengers. The operations center had cancelled numerous flights in the last few days for the same reason. The Cape Town flu virus has taken its toll on the tickets sold; along with a vast number of crew ill and unavailable to staff the flights.

As a matter of fact, they are going to have a late takeoff due to having to call up an on-call flight officer and a flight attendant. He and the ticket agents decided to board the aircraft on time though in order to shave off a little time. The on-call flight crew members reported that they were on their way and Sheldon knows that he can cut some time off their flight with the jet stream on their tail.

Several of those boarding entered attempting to stifle coughs. Sheldon nodded at them in sympathy. With all of the hours he’s had to fill in, he hasn’t been able to get his flu shot even though there is a company mandate to get it. He isn’t sure when he’ll have time, perhaps the following day; he’s just been too busy having to fill in on other flights. There were days where he’s barely made crew rest and there was talk about the Federal Aviation Administration suspending that requirement for the short term. The same availability was affecting the controllers and was another reason for the cancellation of flights.

With the number of passengers boarding with flu symptoms, Sheldon worries that, with the enclosed nature of the aircraft, the virus could easily spread. He’s surprised that, considering the contagious nature of the flu, those exhibiting symptoms are even allowed to fly. However, the need for fares is apparently overriding any concerns along those lines. The CDC put out a warning about flying but there has yet to be a mandate prohibiting it.

The floor of the aircraft rocks as the baggage handlers close one of the compartment doors. The airliner is fueled and the flight route has been put into the nav computer. When the flight crew members arrive, they should be able to make a quick start and push back from the gate.

Sheldon checks his watch for perhaps the twentieth time in as many minutes. He’s proud of his on-time departure statistic and is a little annoyed that the virus has affected it. The number of passengers boarding slows to a trickle, allowing him to talk more with Mary, which he doesn’t mind and alleviates his annoyance to a large degree.

One of the late passenger arrivals rounds the corner of the walkway being assisted in a wheel chair. The woman, in her mid-twenties, has a blanket over her lap. Her pale face, with red-rimmed eyes, and constant runny nose makes it apparent that she is deep within the throws of the flu virus. Sheldon nods but the woman is too ill to raise her head and acknowledge his greeting. It’s the seventh passenger to require such assistance to board the flight.

Watching as the woman is assisted into her first-class seat, courtesy of Delta, Sheldon hears voices echoing down the walkway. Turning, he sees the on-call flight officer and flight attendant round the corner towing their wheeled luggage behind them. Following behind is one of the ticket agents.

Sheldon steps aside as the on-call members begin stowing their gear. The flight officer nods his greeting and heads into the cockpit get ready for the flight. Mary takes the final manifest from the ticket agent.

“Everyone has boarded so we should be ready on our end. Have a good flight,” the agent says, exiting the aircraft to assist with closing the door.

Sheldon informs Mary of their flight and arrival times, telling her that they’ll try to make up some of the time enroute.

With the door closed, Sheldon enters the cockpit and seals the door shut. In the cabin, Mary begins making her announcements for everyone to get settled in so they can push back quickly, apologizing for the late takeoff and gives their estimated enroute and arrival time into Minneapolis.

With clear skies overhead, allowing the multitude of stars to twinkle on a black velvet background, Sheldon looks to the lights shining in the mostly empty terminal buildings of SEATAC. He is reminded of why he likes the red-eye flights so much. It’s the peacefulness that they afford and the limited traffic flying the airways. The radio isn’t filled with the constant chatter of controllers directing traffic in and around the busy airports. It’s like they are the only ones aloft and it brings him back to his early days of flying, when he could actually enjoy the feeling of being airborne. He is able to forget feeling like a bus driver and allow himself to sink into the peace of the night.

Climbing steeply out of the basin of Western Washington, the twin engines of the 757 howling with their characteristic whine, Sheldon banks the aircraft to the east. The lights from the western corridor, from Seattle south to Olympia, shimmer under the night sky. Moonlight glitters off the waters of the Puget Sound fading behind, also reflecting off the ice fields of Mount Rainier to the south.

Levelling off at their cruise altitude of 35,000 feet, Sheldon sets the autopilot and glances at the lights of Spokane shining off their nose ahead. The glow of the city rises starkly amid the darkness surrounding it. Settling back into his seat, he wants to enjoy the last night flight that he’ll see for some time.

Looking at the approaching city, he reflects on the current pandemic sweeping across the world. Many of his friends have been stricken with the virus, but with advent of the vaccine, he hopes the contagion will be brought rapidly under control. He’s not sure just how much longer he’ll be able to function with the continuous flights and lack of rest. With Spokane sliding past the wing, he wonders how many below are currently lying on their sick beds. The lights continue to sparkle regardless of how many have been afflicted.

With a strong jet stream pushing them, they leave Spokane far behind. Entering the western edges of the Rocky Mountains, the intercom light from the cabin illuminates, letting him know one of the flight attendants is calling.

Probably to see if we want something to eat or drink, he thinks, answering.

“Captain,” Mary says, “I just thought you should know that the woman in 3A is out cold and looks worse. She’s one of those who had to be wheel-chaired in. We’ve been trying to rouse her without success. There are others in economy that are in the same condition.”

“Are you sure they aren’t just asleep?” Sheldon asks, knowing most of the passengers on red-eyes try to get whatever rest they can.

“That’s what I was thinking but they look really sick; worse than when they came in. They’re all very pale,” Mary answers.

“Do you think it’s bad enough that we need to divert?” Sheldon asks.

“I’m not sure.”

“Okay, make sure the door is clear. I’m coming out,” Sheldon states.

“It’s clear.”

Sheldon informs his co-pilot, a man he hasn’t flown with before, of the situation and that he’s going into the cabin.

“Be ready to divert us. We have Salt Lake City to the south and Denver ahead,” Sheldon says, rising.

Entering the cabin, he closes the door and is greeted by Mary. Looking over the dimly lit interior, he sees some of the overhead seat lights shining down, brightly illuminating a couple of passengers who can’t sleep and are attempting to catch up on their reading or work. He’s been on enough of these flights that he’s surprised that their neighbors aren’t complaining about the lights being on. There’s not much for the flight attendants to do on these flights as they usually suspend the in-flight service so as to not wake the passengers.

Under one of the shining lights in first class is the young woman in question, seated next to the window. Over the top of the seats, only her head is visible and is pressed against the cream-colored plastic wall with her eyes shut. Even from the front galley, he can see how pale the woman looks.

“I was worried so I’ve tried waking her several times,” Mary says, standing to the side in the galley.

“And the others?” Sheldon questions.

“They look in the same condition and we’ve tried waking them as well. They just aren’t responding,” Mary replies.

Sheldon nods and takes the few steps to the seat row. A series of very slight bumps rock the aircraft as they proceed through a small area of turbulence inherent over the Rocky Mountains. No one wakes to the slight tremors.

In the darkened cabin, the light illuminating the woman makes it appear as if she’s under a floodlight, the circle of brightness highlighting her pale face. Gazing at her, Sheldon observes dark circles under her eyes, giving them a sunken look. On her cheeks, there appears to be gray blemishes darkening her pale skin. He’s not sure if she had a pale complexion before, but it now looks waxy and almost translucent. Her skin seems clammy and looks as if it should be moist. There is no doubt in his mind that this woman is very ill and, considering how many people across the world have died from this pandemic, he knows she needs medical attention soon. Upon leaving the cockpit, there was a possibility of a divert. Looking at the woman, that now becomes a definite reality.

“Show me the others,” he states, looking to Mary.

They journey down the narrow aisle, working their way past sleeping passengers and doing their best to avoid the occasional elbow or foot poking out into the passageway.

The next ill passenger is just behind the exit seating over the wing. Seated in seat 28E between two resting passengers, is a middle-aged man wearing a light-colored sports coat. His head is tilted to the side, almost resting on his shoulder. His condition is similar to the woman in first class.

Sheldon knows he has a situation on his hands. He has no choice but to radio that they have an emergency medical situation as soon as he makes his way back to the cockpit. First though, he wants to see the remaining ill passengers. Mary and he meet with another of the flight crew as they make their way to the rear. All of the sick ones brought aboard are asleep and have the same gray tinges on translucent, pale faces. Near the rear of the aircraft, a young boy, about twelve years of age, is in the same condition. None of the passengers awake to the gentle ministrations of the flight crew. All in all, there are seven who appear to have taken a turn for the worse.

“Okay, we’re going to divert into either Salt Lake City or Denver,” Sheldon tells the flight attendants. “You’re about to become very unpopular and the passengers aren’t going to like it. Just be ready to make the announcement once I decide where we’re going and be prepared to deal with some irate passengers.”

“We’ll offer them free drinks if that’s okay with you,” Mary says.

“Yeah, that’s a good idea. I suppose it’s the least we can do. Except for the sick ones. They don’t get anything except water. If anyone gets too unruly, you know how to handle it. Call me if someone gets overly upset.”

Stepping around elbows and outstretched feet, Sheldon slowly makes his way back to the cockpit thinking that operations is not going to receive his divert well. However upset they may get, they also know that it will be a worse situation if Sheldon continues with his original flight plan and one of the passengers dies.

Pausing at the row with the young woman, Sheldon assesses her condition once again. The woman is panting but not heavily. He is startled as she abruptly opens her eyes. Turning sharply toward him, he sees a wild expression in her gaze. He takes her look for one of fear. Perhaps her illness and sudden waking is causing her to not understand where she is. With his frequent travels, he’s woken under those circumstances many times. Recovering and with her fearful expression, he seeks to reassure her.

“It’s okay, ma’am─” Sheldon begins.

The countenance of the woman that Sheldon first took to be fear immediately becomes one of a feral nature. She draws back her lips, a low growl coming from deep within. The woman snaps toward the man resting next to her. With her mouth opening, she tilts her head back. A high-pitched scream fills the interior of the cabin, jarring awake the man next to her, along with most of the rest of the passengers.

The shrill nature and volume of the scream causes Sheldon to jump backward. The man sitting next to the shrieking woman gasps deeply as he rapidly comes out of his slumber, jumping in his seat only held down by his lap belt. Mary, standing next to Sheldon, adds her scream of shock.

Sheldon recovers and, thinking the woman is in deep pain, bends forward, once again attempting to reassure the woman. With a speed belying her illness, she turns in her seat and lunges toward her seat mate. The man shies away but the seat belt fastened about his waist prevents him from escaping.

The young woman, her shrieks subsiding, snarls and grabs the man by the front of his dark, lightweight jacket. Before Sheldon can react, the woman pulls the man toward her, sinking her teeth into his neck. Shocked by the suddenness of her actions, and not believing what he is seeing, Sheldon watches as the woman’s teeth bite into the exposed flesh. Bright red blood sprays across her pale face and runs down the man’s neck.

Screaming from the intense pain, the man tries to push the woman away but her grip on him is firm. The man tries to pull away but only succeeds at stretching his torn skin. Sheldon, reacting to the brutality of the attack, grabs the woman’s head, trying to help the man push the woman away. Shaking her head, she rips a chunk of flesh from the man’s neck, sending more blood streaming.

Doing the only thing he can think of, Sheldon reaches down and unbuckles the man’s seat belt. Grabbing his neck and screaming in pain, the man tumbles over the arm into the aisle. Knowing the woman entered the aircraft alone, he can only think she is delirious from her illness. In all of his years, he has never witnessed such a horrific act.

The woman spits out the mass of flesh and begins shrieking once again. She lunges toward Sheldon but the lap belt holds her firmly in her seat. The woman is frantic in her attempt to get at him and he can only imagine what will happen should she remember to unbuckle. This is one moment when he wishes he had a sky marshal aboard. The wounded man is lying in the aisle, still screaming with one hand holding his neck, blood leaking between his fingers and staining the carpeting. The other passengers, fully awake now, look on with shocked expressions. Most are unable to see what is going on but can to see the man lying at Mary’s feet.

The woman wiggles and continues lunging, pulling against her restraint. Sheldon is at a loss as to what he should do. His training involved protecting the passengers and crew, and if the situation arose, subduing anyone threatening their safety by any means. Thoughts race through his head, trying to figure out a way to subdue the woman without posing a risk to the others. In her current state, he’s not sure how to go about that. They have no means to administer a sedative.

Knowing that he’s about to make the biggest mistake of his flying career, and going against his base moral character, Sheldon swings toward the lunging woman. His fist connects solidly with her upper jaw, snapping her head backward. Momentarily stunned, the woman ceases her frantic attacks and quiets.

That should have knocked her out, Sheldon thinks, hoping the punch will pull the woman out of her current state.

The woman, blood circling her lips and dripping down her chin, shakes her head and continues her attempt to get at Sheldon. Not believing that this is how he gets to spend his last night flight, he punches again, feeling a jolt of pain in his hand. The woman collapses sideways, falling across the middle arm rest. Drops of blood slowly drip from her lips, soaking into the seat fabric.

“Get the first aid kit,” Sheldon directs Mary, nodding toward the man on the floor. “And find something to tie her hands.”

The remaining passengers look on with shocked expressions. About to reassure them that the situation is under control, a shriek similar to the one the woman emitted comes from farther to the rear of the aircraft.

All heads, once focused on him, turn sharply toward the sound. Looking past Mary, who has halted in mid-step, Sheldon sees a man rise quickly from his aisle seat. In the gloom, he watches as the man lunges down the aisle. He can’t see much other than a flurry of movement due to one of the other flight attendants standing in the passageway near the exit rows. The on-call attendant, who Sheldon recalls flying with once before but can’t remember her name, has turned toward the scream.

About to call out a warning to her, he watches as the woman stumbles and falls heavily to the floor, the man on top of her. His shrieks filling the cabin, the crazed passenger begins tearing at her face and neck. Screams of fear erupt from those passengers near the flight attendant being ravaged. Brushing past Mary, Sheldon begins a headlong flight down the aisle. Even in the dim light, he sees the attendant looking at him with pleading, pain-filled eyes.

Before he can get to her, several other passengers leave their seats to help the woman. The man and attendant are quickly engulfed in a sea of bodies. A couple of the would-be rescuers are tossed back from the pile, some landing in the aisle while others are thrown into adjacent seats. The entire cabin is filled with cries of fear.

Sheldon loses sight of the attendant as several men punch at the crazed one, trying to subdue him and pull him off her. One man, standing to the rear of the pile, suddenly lurches forward and goes down, pushed from behind by another. The twelve year old boy claws at the man’s head and leans down to sink his teeth into the exposed neck.

Sheldon slows, seeing a woman climbing across the top of the seats and attacking the seated passengers. A red splash of blood passes through the stark beam of one of the overhead lights. The young boy stops attacking the man and begins an onslaught of another passenger seated nearby. Stunned, realizing that the sick ones have gone crazy, Sheldon is at a loss.

He is unable to get past the pile of bodies in the aisle, many of whom have ceased to move. The crazed man who pushed the flight attendant down emerges from the pile only to continue his attack on the people seated in the nearest row. Panic ensues with many rising from their seats and pushing toward the front. In the rush, Sheldon is forced backward, stumbling into Mary who is looking on at the brawl open-mouthed.

The entire cabin is involved in a fight with many rushing to get out of the way. In the dimness, dark stains begin coating the walls and overhead bins, lines streaming down from the thicker blotches.

With a rush of passengers approaching, Sheldon knows he won’t be able to stop them before being trampled underfoot. It’s a dilemma between protecting the passengers or his crew. He’s not certain how he can safeguard the passengers at this point. Stymied by indecision, he watches the approaching horde. Behind them, he sees others go down. The first man attacked lies at his feet. Sheldon can’t hear his moans above the chaos rolling through the cabin. The very aircraft threatens to shake apart from the screams of terror, the shrieks of the infected, and cries of pain. All of his other flight crew are trapped behind the passengers streaming for the front.

“Into the cockpit, now!” he shouts to Mary.

She remains standing, transfixed by the horror coming at them. Grabbing her shoulder and turning her, Sheldon pushes her toward the cockpit.


Stumbling over the prone, wounded man, she comes to her senses. With a quick glance behind, she starts for the cockpit with Sheldon following. Knowing he can’t open the door, he grabs for the attendant’s phone and punches the line for the cockpit.

“Everything alright back there?” the co-pilot asks.

“This is Hendricks. Open the door and be quick about it,” Sheldon responds.

Seconds later, although it seems like an eternity, the door opens a crack. Sheldon pushes Mary inside. Following, he closes it quickly behind. The screams permeating the cabin, become muffled. Leaning against the door, Sheldon becomes aware of his panting breath and pounding heart. The co-pilot, standing behind Mary, looks bewildered having heard the screams. His face tells of a hundred unasked questions.

“I’ll tell you in a sec. Right now, we need to get this aircraft on the ground,” Sheldon states, starting for his seat.

The cockpit door shakes from repeated fists hammering on the other side. His co-pilot turns to the door but Sheldon ignores it as he belts in. Looking at the nav display, he sees that Denver is the closest airport lying twenty minutes away to the southeast. As he sets in a new course, he briefly relates to his co-pilot what is happening. Sheldon has trouble telling it because he really doesn’t know what just happened. He sees the look of disbelief in the eyes of the flight officer. If it wasn’t for Mary backing him up, he would think he was the one going crazy.

He keys the mic. “Denver Center, this is Delta 1493 declaring a medical emergency. Requesting divert from present position direct to Denver International.”

“Delta 1493, Denver Center. Copy emergency. Turn right heading one two zero, descend and maintain two five thousand. State nature of medical emergency.”

Sheldon really doesn’t know how to respond to that. He knows if he tells them what he saw, they’ll think they have a lunatic pilot on their hands.

“Center, we have a number of passengers attacking the others. We have numerous casualties and we believe that most of the flight crew are down. The cockpit is secure.”

Sheldon can imagine the looks the other pilots on the frequency are giving one another right now.

Thank goodness we’re on a red-eye and there aren’t many flights airborne, he thinks, knowing it would be a hard one to live down should the world hear about it.

The pounding against the cockpit door continues with a frenzied pace and intensity. He can only imagine the fear that the passengers must be feeling. However, there is nothing he can do.

It’s not like they can go anywhere from here and we certainly can’t hold many in the cockpit. There’s no way I’m letting those crazed ones in here.

The long pause from Denver Center continues. “Delta 1493, state number of casualties and nature of attacks. Squawk appropriate code.”

Sheldon knows the message of his aircraft being attacked is making the controllers believe that he’s being hijacked. However, he can’t really say that, although those infected people may inadvertently bring down the aircraft.

Sheldon replies that their squawk is correct and that he has an unknown number of casualties on board. Denver Center tells them that they are cleared direct Denver and to descend at their discretion. They are giving Sheldon clearance to do as he deems appropriate.

A particularly hard slam against the door shakes the cockpit. All three turn toward the entrance with concern. Rising, Sheldon peers through the peep hole to determine what is going on. The expanded fish-eye view is startling. One of the pale-faced passengers is standing in the aisle. At his feet lie a number of bodies, some piled on top of one another. The man takes a run at the door. As the peep hole fills with his body, Sheldon flinches. The entire aircraft shakes as the man slams into the entrance with his shoulder. The hinges, although holding, vibrate.

Sheldon turns toward the front of the aircraft. Out of the windows, a few pinpoints of light shine from miles below. The lights from Denver and its surrounding cities glow from far away directly off their nose. The altimeter winds through 30,000 feet. His thoughts feel muddled, in shock most likely. Here he stands, on what was to be his last red-eye for some time, a flight to be enjoyed in peace. Instead, he is six miles in the air, flying over some of the most rugged, mountainous terrain in the world, a cabin full of dead passengers, with crazed sick people trying to get into the cockpit.

This all might be easier if we weren’t trapped miles high with nowhere to go. This is it. If they get into the cockpit, there isn’t anywhere to run.

Hoping the door does its job, and thankful, in a strange kind of way, for the need of it, Sheldon retakes his seat. Mary hasn’t moved from the side and is gripping her shirt, her eyes wide with fear. The co-pilot, who Sheldon still doesn’t know although they exchanged pleasantries, looks on with worry but without the fear he should be feeling, his not having witnessed what happened.

Another hard slam startles him. He never knew someone could hit the door so hard and he isn’t sure how long the entrance will actually hold under the onslaught. He informs operations of their predicament knowing he’ll be in for a psyche exam first thing in the morning.


Another hard crash shakes the cockpit. Instead of weakening, as he would expect, the crashes against the door seem even harder.

Perhaps out of desperation.

His heart thuds against the wall of his chest. Not knowing if the infected in the back will start hammering against any door they see, Sheldon has the co-pilot and Mary go on oxygen in case of rapid decompression.

Denver Center continues to guide the flight, allowing for any deviations that Sheldon might require. He informs them that he thinks the entire passenger manifest might be either injured or dead. This will make the authorities treat the flight as a hijacking which will extend this long night. Sheldon doesn’t care as long as he can get the 757 on the ground before the infected break through the door. There isn’t an escape hatch built into the aircraft but he’ll feel better knowing they can’t fall miles to the ground.

Slam! The door shakes.

The lights of Denver are closer as they pass through eighteen thousand feet. Their voices and actions are shaky as they progress through their approach to field checks. It’s a race between the structural soundness of the door and the airfield. The cockpit entrance is meant to withstand tremendous pressures to keep potential hijackers out, but Sheldon doesn’t know if it was meant to handle the pounding its taking.

It feels as if the crashes against the door are timed with each couple of hundred feet they descend.

How can those infected sustain that kind of intensity without harm?

Twelve thousand feet.

They turn to the east, setting up for a long turn to final.


The vibration sounds different. It has a ring to it as if the door is loosening. Beads of sweat break out on his brow. The race is going to be a close one.

Please let the door hold.

Although muffled from his headset, Sheldon hears Mary whimper with each slam against the door. Passing through eight thousand, with the engines in flight idle and speed break deployed to aid in their rapid descent, Sheldon turns to a long final. In the distance, he sees the strobes of the approach lighting system and the steady white of the runway lighting.

“It’s been a helluva night,” the co-pilot says, bringing the flaps down another notch.

“That it has,” Sheldon replies, adjusting their airspeed.

With the continued pounding behind them, almost in their sub-conscious, the gear is lowered. They forgo their normal announcements as, well, they just do, feeling the need for them to be rather moot at the moment. Three green lights flash on and remain steady near the gear handle.

Seven thousand feet, two thousand feet above the ground, and descending in a landing configuration. The pounds against the door continue. The aircraft shakes as it goes through turbulence stemming from the mountain waves. Sheldon applies small corrections to the controls to keep the aircraft aligned. The strobes from the approach lighting blink in rapid succession, pointing toward the runway.

Their bright landing lights illuminate the red metal towers of the approach systems as they flash underneath. Another bang on the door and Sheldon can definitely feel and hear the difference. He knows the door is giving way.

Six thousand feet and the strong beams of their landing lights begin picking up the runway markings. The red flashing lights from the responding emergency vehicles stand out near the runway along its length. Sheldon knows that some will chase the aircraft down the runway when it lands. Due to the nature of their emergency, they’ll stop and hold on the runway, awaiting further instructions.

Almost there.

*  *  *  *  *  *

The tower crew watches Delta Flight 1493 approach, their binoculars trained on the landing lights growing larger and brighter by the second. Due to the nature of the emergency, they’ve cleared the field and airspace around. Of course, it’s early in the morning so they don’t have much traffic to begin with.

With clearance to land given, it’s just a matter of waiting for the flight to touch down and then handing control off to the authorities. They are short-staffed due to the large numbers who have called in sick but, using on-call personnel, they have enough to manage.

The reports from center were sketchy. The pilot reported that the passengers were being attacked and that they had numerous casualties on board. How many there might be were unknown as the pilot was unsure. The latest report indicated that the pilot, co-pilot, and one other flight crew member might be the only ones left alive. They had also reported someone trying to gain entry into the cockpit. That means a hijacking and it may leave Denver closed for some time.

Staring at the approaching lights, the tower personnel note the occasional swing as the aircraft rides through turbulent air. The red flashing lights of emergency vehicles stand to the sides of the runway, the only real indication that something is amiss with the flight. Other than that, it looks like any other airliner approaching for a night landing. The runway controller holds a radio in his hands, ready to turn control of the flight over to the FBI agents who arrived a short while ago. Once the wheels touch the ground, it’s their show.

Over the approach lights, the landing lights break through the darkness. The aircraft experiences another wobble of turbulence which is almost immediately righted. The runway threshold begins to be illuminated under the intense glare. Going through another moment of turbulence, the 757 slews slightly to the side. Used to seeing the effect of turbulence from the wind passing over the mountains a short distance to the west, the controllers gathered together in the tower expect an immediate correction. They are taken aback, and then watch in horror, as the aircraft slides to one side of the runway and slams into the ground. Dirt, metal, and fuel are thrown into the air and off to the sides. Skidding across the ground, the aircraft begins coming apart. The fuel, thrown from ruptured tanks, becomes vaporized by the impact and ignites with a tremendous concussive explosion that lasts only moments before settling back down to a slow burning fire.

They were right about one thing; Denver would be closed for some time.


SummerZombie Shirt Front

The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 33 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser…and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #SummerZombie

Summer of Zombie 2014 Blog Tour

AND so you don’t miss any of the posts in June, here’s the complete list, updated daily:

Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author


Wicked Women Writers Challenge 2013

I’m one of the Wicked Women Writers for the 2013 contest and today at 12pm MST you can all listen to the podcast of all of the contestants on HorrorAddicts.net! I would love for you all to listen in and vote for me should you think my story is the best. You will also be able to read the stories on HorrorAddicts.net! Come out and support the Wicked Women Writers!

If you’re interested in coming to the Facebook Listening Party, you can join in the festivities here: 2013 Wicked Women Writer Challenge Podcast Airing!