Banquet of Souls, 11th Course, “Dead Run”


What follows is an excerpt from the eleventh story from my new anthology, Banquet of Souls.

Dead Run


“Get in.”

The voice was familiar, but John couldn’t place it, nor did he recognize the car. He stepped closer. The face behind the wheel was shadowed in the darkness. A hard rain had begun hitting both the sidewalk and his back, chilling his skin though his wet shirt.

“No, that’s okay. I’m parked right up here.”

“I know. I said get in.”

That’s when John saw the gun. Snub-nose .38, pointing directly at his face. Then he looked up and recognized the holder of the gun.

“Hello, asshole,” the gun-holder said. Lisa’s ex-husband, Carl.

John wanted to bolt, but doubted he could move fast enough to dodge a bullet, even a bullet from the small-ish .38.

“What are you doing, Carl?” He asked, trying to keep his voice strong and steady, but not really feeling either.

“Get the fuck in the car, John. Now.”

“When did you get out?”

“Two days ago. Took me that long to track down where you and the bitch live. You gonna get in or do I have to shoot you in the kneecaps and drag your ass in?”

John looked around, quickly trying to assess the situation. A tropical depression was swirling up the coast, on the verge of dumping an ocean of rain and the streets were nearly deserted. He would not have been out, either, if he hadn’t worked late. A lone Toyota passed them, creating waves like the parting of the Red Sea. No one else was around.

What the hell? Weren’t the authorities supposed to notify you when an attacker was finally getting out of prison? Carl Bell. Ex-coworker. Full time lunatic.

Lisa divorced Carl when, after they first got married and all was fine, his personality changed. He started out by screaming at her for every little infraction. Then he began the slapping when something annoyed him. Then came the punches. And the vicious rapes. The final straw came when she dialed 911 just before he began beating her with an ax handle, pinning her down by sitting on her. The cops busted down the door and took him away. Her arms were broken and she had serious internal injuries, so much so that she spent four days in intensive care. The moment she left the hospital, she went to a divorce lawyer. She never went back to her home, and the last time she had seen Carl was at his trial. He was convicted of first degree assault and sentenced to fifteen years.

John flipped up the door handle and got in. The car smelled like stale cigarettes and old burger wrappers. A woman’s handbag lay on its side at John’s feet, its contents spilled out on the floor. Compact, feminine napkin, a stick pen for cleaning spots off clothes, a nearly empty pack of Salem cigarettes. A wallet lay open and in disarray, several credit cards out and loose on the dirty floor mat. It did not look good. John arranged his feet around the mess, then pulled the door closed.

“What do you want? Weren’t you instructed by the parole board never to come near us again?”

“Of course they told me that! And I promised on a stack of Bibles I wouldn’t. But here I am, huh?”

“Where did you get the car?”

“A female acquaintance loaned it to me.”

“Where is this female acquaintance?”

“Close by.”

John’s brain whirled in fear. “Where?”

Carl barked out a short laugh. “Close.”

“The trunk?”


“She alive or dead?”

Carl’s smile slid from his lips. He pulled the hammer back. “Let’s just say I had my fun and she doesn’t have much to say about it anymore. Now shut the fuck up while I tell you what’s going to happen next.”



12 courses of fear and horror! Banquet of Souls is available now at Amazon Books

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Kindle edition $2.99

Paperback $10.00


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