Monthly Archives: February 2015


“Don’t do it!” The police officer’s voice is desperate and horrified.

Every ounce of common sense is screaming at me not to but I must.

My eyes look to my hand where the flame is dancing out of the Zippo and then back to the man drenched in gasoline lying on the park bench.

You don’t know what it is!” I yell.

Just put out the flame and step back!

Then, as if I’m watching it unfold in slow motion, I toss the lighter onto the ground near the bench, igniting the gas and within seconds it is a glorious and righteous fire.

Within seconds I’m slammed to the ground and knees are driven into the back of my neck. Even as they rip my arms behind my back to slap the handcuffs on, I don’t look away from the burning figure… from him… from it.

The clothes burn away as the flesh bubbles.

Just before they pull me up, I catch its eyes one last time. They flicker red and yellow as a faint smile spreads on the barely recognizable face.

Then, the demon is gone.

Damned Words 11


Pen of the Damned

A Reason
Joseph A. Pinto

I found a reason to walk tween the folds of winter’s shawl, so hand in hand go we along Perdition’s Road. Shall we burn, we burn as one; shall we suffer, then know love cores the depths of our wounds. Lace your trembling fingers round my neck and your burdens I shall carry. I’ve no need to burn this lantern’s oils for our demons come well-known. Let them swirl in the dark, guttering til gone. Death is tenant of our path, yet tonight she’ll know no coin. My life I mortgage for yours; take flight now against my sky.

Nina D’Arcangela

Torn and bloodied, she huddles against the lantern’s pedestal fighting for a life already lost. Broken in spirit, broken in heart, she watches as they circle, awaiting night’s fall. Not taken on the last, she knows this eve she’ll not be so lucky…

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STRAIN by Joseph Pinto

Joseph A. Pinto


The E. R. seemed quiet
a ruined man coughing up ghosts
sneezing lies of what home should be
an overweight woman bleeding from her soul,
condescending son lamenting his late night
and they avoid my gaze (well they should)
for my pain would serve only to break them.
Pretty nurse takes pulse, pressure
eyes sparkling as they meet my own
“Sir, this may hurt a bit” (needle penetrates my joint).
I laugh, make one thing clear:
“Never me.”
The E.R. seemed quiet
now the pretty nurse choked on ghosts
wheezing breaths where life should be
if only she had looked away.

© Copyright 2013 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.

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SYPHEUN by Pen of the Damned’s Zack Kullis

Pen of the Damned

 Her feet traveled up the roughly hewn steps with quiet ease. Ageless, she moved with immortal agility and timeless grace. The ethereal shimmer of her gown accentuated her femininity as she climbed. Beautiful from before time was first counted, Sypheun was gifted beyond most. That is why she went.

The steps rose from far below and stretched into the darkness above. Occasional flashes of light touched her form with their fiery embrace. A myriad of eyes watched from the eager masses below, knowing that only she was capable of performing this rite.

Sypheun glanced over her shoulder and watched the wretched thing that followed her. A flash of anger darkened the bright color of her eyes. “Your kind is never strong enough.” She yanked on the chain with perfectly bridled strength – hard enough to cause pain to the derelict being, but not hard enough to knock it down…

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The elevator lurches to a stop on the fifth floor and the orderly leads me out as the doors swish open. It’s always quiet up here. The carpeted floors, potted plants and framed paintings on the walls almost make you forget that you’re in a mental institution.

Dr. Quill’s office is the last door on the left at the far end of the hall. The orderly guides me down, his hand gently gripping my elbow. His name is Harold and he’s always been decent to me since I arrived here over five years ago.

We stop in front of Dr. Quill’s door. They get the nice, wood stained doors up here while we are stuck with steel ones painted in sterilizing grey. Harold checks his watch and at precisely 4:00pm he knocks.

“Come in, please.” Dr. Quill’s voice is faint and gentle.

Harold turns the knob and pushes the door open.

Dr. Quill’s windowless office appears smaller than it actually is thanks to four large book shelves that line the far wall. Each shelf holds complete sets of expensive looking medical encyclopedias and I wonder if he’s even read one of them. There are two fake-looking potted plants in the corners to my left and right. Dr. Quill is standing behind his desk, smiling.

“Good afternoon, Xavier,” he says.


Dr. Quill nods to Harold who turns and leaves, shutting the door behind him.

“Have a seat.” Dr. Quill says gesturing to the single chair in front of his desk. “How are you feeling today, Xavier?” He pulls his chair closer to his desk by the arm rests.

I smile. “Fantastic.”

“And why is that?”

“Today is the day that all of this ends.”

He begins to scrawl his notes on the pad. “All of what ends, Xavier? Our sessions?”


More scrawls. “What time will this occur?”


Dr. Quill stops writing and looks at his watch. His glasses are resting on the end of his nose and he has to tilt his head down  to look over them at me. “That’s a precise time… and so soon.”

“He’s waited long enough and sees no point in delaying his arrival any longer.”

“You are referring to…”


“So Sredna is coming at 4:09?”

I nod. “I’ve told you all about him week in and week out for the last five years. I’ve been his conduit and you still don’t believe that he exists, do you?”

“He’s real to you.”

I giggle. “Very soon he will be real to you too, doc.”

“What will happen when he gets here?”

“He will eat our reality. It’s what he does.”

Dr. Quill writes some more in his notes and is about to speak when he hears it. A low hum that’s very faint but we can both hear it. My fillings are beginning to tingle.

He is coming.

A high-pitched shriek cuts through the air and all of the light bulbs explode in showers of sparks. Dr. Quill jumps back, letting out a cry of surprise and the entire room is thrown into blackness.

It’s 4:09.

“Don’t worry, Xavier. The emergency lights will kick in any minute.”

His voice is muffled and seems far away. I cannot see him anymore in this blackness.

The blackness is moving, almost wriggling with no distinct shape.


I notice my skin is burning. The pain is excruciating yet I don’t scream as Sredna fills my mouth, rendering it useless. My skin dissolves, exposing muscle tissue and it too is quickly eaten away. In what I can only guess to be a matter of seconds the burning subsides and then, there is nothing.

Just Sredna.

Snipe Hunt

Snipe Hunt by Pen of the Damned’s Tyr Kieran

Pen of the Damned

Austin gave a nervous chuckle as he looked back and forth between his fellow Scouts’ faces, searching for a sign that this was just a stupid joke. The two older kids held his stare, unblinking.

“You’re kidding, right?” Austin finally said.

“No way. They’re real,” Eddy replied. “Nasty little things too.”


“Yeah. You never heard the tale about the slaughtered troop in these very woods, thirty years ago? A kid by the name of George or Gerald was the only survivor. They found him covered in blood and ranting about wild animals. His hand was ripped off. They chalked it all up to wolves, but we know better.”

“So… if they’re dangerous, why are we going to hunt for one?”

“It’s a test of courage that all Newbies have to take,” Eddy answered.

Austin’s stomach fluttered. Again, he waited for a punch line.

Eddy shook his head. “The…

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