Ever been in a situation where someone hurt you so badly you just had to get even, just had to make a statement, and the more emphatic the better? Of course you have.
But what happens if the person you need to get even with isn't someone you know? What happens if that person is completely anonymous and the only way you can find him is to search, night after night, in the only places you can imagine he might be?
And what happens if, against all odds, you finally find the person who hurt you, and after years of planning, are able to extract the revenge you've dreamed about for so long?
That's good, right? But what if the revenge you have planned is so . . . twisted, so . . . depraved that it goes far beyond all boundaries of justice and decency? What then?
That's the premise of "Dance Hall Drug," my short story featured in the Autumn 2010 issue of Dark Valentine, the classy new dark fiction ezine that has just gone live with their second issue. I wrote this story a while ago and had serious doubts about it ever getting published due to the disturbing nature of the tale, but kudos to the publisher/editors of Dark Valentine for their willingness to run with it.
Here's a snippet:
Halfway through her second drink - another club soda, of course - Carrie caught a glimpse of a young man who made her skin crawl and her stomach clench in instinctive fear, and immediately she knew. The terrifying visceral reaction made it clear. This might be the guy. Tall, close-cropped brown hair, snappy dresser. Good with the ladies. Great dancer. She felt a jolt of panicky electricity surge through her body as she jostled her way through the shifting crowd for a closer look. She couldn't take her eyes off him.
Her drink sloshed over the sides of the glass; she didn't care. Men and women glared at her as she elbowed her way past, and she didn't care about that, either. She had to get a better look at the tall guy with the close-cropped brown hair, because if it was who she thought it was-
Carrie's breath caught in her throat. Her eyes widened. Her stomach tried to evacuate its contents but she choked down the nausea, swallowing hard.
It was the guy.
This is one cool magazine and I'm thrilled to have found such a good home for "Dance Hall Drug." One of their classy touches is that each story is accompanied by outstanding original artwork. In the case of "Dance Hall Drug," the artwork was contributed by an artist from the UK named Mark Satchwill, whose work has been exhibited in London and Dartmouth, England. I couldn't be happier with the results of his work, as I believe it captures perfectly the dark and disturbing elements of the story.
And of course, mine isn't the only story in the Autumn issue of Dark Valentine, a magazine which bills itself as "fiction on the bleeding edge of a black and bleeding heart." In total, there are 23 creepy tales to check out, with all but two of them featuring original accompanying artwork.
The best part? This 149 page magazine won't cost you twenty bucks, or even ten bucks, or even a single lonely dollar bill. It's free. That's right, free, as in it won't cost you a thin dime. A red cent. Nothing. It's available as a PDF download, meaning you can read it on your computer, load it onto your Kindle, whatever.
If you'd like to check it out, here's the link to the download. Did I mention it's free?
And if you do check out "Dance Hall Drug," don't worry. I'm really not as disturbed as you're going to think I am.