Other Cool Blogs: Tor.com (4/18/17) – Gallows

Gallows Superstitions and the Repurposing of Corpses” by Viola Carr, published at Tor.com on 4/18/2017 is the perfect blog post for Halloween month. If you are in the business of hanging, what do you do with the bodies. I mean, really, who can live on a government salary – certainly not a hangman!
Which is why all those lovely bodies could be repurposed for side gigs and additional income.
Give the body for science, and if not enough offenders happen to keep the coin flowing, you can always dig up a few extra of the fresher ones who died of natural causes.
Find out some other cool and creepy ideas of how civilians has repurposed corpses throughout history by reading Ms. Carr’s post.
Military purposes include tossing infectious bodies into enemies camps, and increasing the appearance of body counts by having the soldiers stand duty even after they pass. 
Comment below about other repurposing of corpses you have run into.

Flash: Naked Truth

Rating Mature

Work dragged all day. Every single customer it seemed needed to be the absolute worst humanity could be. Bryan forces the door to his room completely closed. He would have a devil of a time opening the ill-hung door later, but right now he has some privacy to rant.

“I don’t know why my debit card isn’t working.” … “I don’t know, maybe because it has no money.” He strips his vest and throws it in the dirty pile in the crack of space between his bed and the wall. Stocking the meats had been an entirely different disaster. He’ll have to go through the pile later and see if any were wearable for tomorrow since he didn’t have the time to get to the laundromat today.

“I need to talk to your manager.” … “No, you need to shut the fuck up.” The shirt didn’t pass the sniff test; it joins the vest. Bryan eyes scans the pile of clean laundry just inside the front door. One work shirt left. The pants were fraying at the hem but serviceable. He just needed a clean-enough vest.

His full-size mattress was only a little smaller than his entire bedroom, but at least the room had a door. He had to “pay” his mom extra to get the oversized closet by himself, but whatever.

“It’s a service dog.” … “It’s a rat that peed on the cart and the floor.” Bryan turns in the small space and leans against the wall to step out of his jeans and underwear. He needed to put another notch in the belt; even on the fast food only diet, he kept losing weight.

“Did you get the money?”

“Fuck!” Bryan screams, jumping around to find a glowing naked woman on his rumpled bed. “Daffney?”

“In the flesh,” the brunette smiles up at him. “Well, not really, but as close as it gets now.”

“You’re a ghost,” he says grabbing his flannel jacket off the wall hook to hold it in front of him.


“And naked.”

“Obviously,” She shook her generous top assets, the glow bouncing from pale blue to a brighter red, really bringing out the color of her nipples. “The zombies stripped me before eating. I think the rule is you appear in the clothes you die in. Enjoy!”

Bryan backs until he hit the door. Not a long trip. He schools his face to the normal retail dead reaction he spends most of his days displaying. “Thanks,” he deadpans, trying hard to not to enjoy. Those jugs though, damn.

“You did get the money, right?”

The man coughs, sliding the jacket higher, before speaking. Eyes up on those black pools. Weren’t they blue before? “Yes, all $3,248 of it.” A sad commentary that her 23 years of life ended with only that much saved. Even sadder that it was over double what he had managed to squirrel away. “Thanks.” How does one politely look at a glowing naked woman? Bouncing. Why is she bouncing? How is she bouncing? The mattress didn’t have any spring. Fuck. “You seem happy.”

“All part of that state-you-die-in I think.” Daffney tosses her longish hair over a shoulder. “Doc Woods had me on happy pills, then the zombie drugged me before eating, and, you know, that relief of finally getting out of my home. I’m feeling very positive, even with the whole being dead thing.”

Bryan nods. “Good. That is good, right?”

“Wonderful!” Daffney rises to kneeing, the thread-worn blankets previously tangling her legs and hiding her choochie passing through her as she moves to pool below her body.

Damn, that woman was all that. Some rippling on the thighs, a few rolls across the stomach, but it just made her even bigger than life with her glow.

She frowns, considering. “It’s a bit of a downer, not having people see me other than other dead. And it isn’t even the undead, so I can’t haunt the zombies who ate me. Not that I should, they only did what we agreed to.” Daffney rises to stand on the lumpy mattress. “The biggest slap is I can’t mess with Beth or hurt Curry. I tried to punch him several times and nothing.”

“Now that would suck.” Bryan comments on autopilot, while arguing with himself. This is Daffney. Stop thinking about her that way Little Bryan. Don’t you dare. The glow rocks, says the less sane part of his head. Fuck, says the sane part realizing that it is losing the battle. The jacket fortunately hid most sins, like it did back in high school when they escaped to his room.

“Yeah. The only people who see me are other ghosts, and they don’t do much.” She stops her bounce-walking around on his mattress. “Wait … you can see me! That is so cool.”

“Fuck, my charm!” Bryan focuses on where he had kicked his jeans off. Was it in there or his wallet?

Daffney’s head tilts to the side, her black curls cascading. “Why do you need a charm, Bryan?” her voice deepening, echoing, as she asks the question.


“Are you a naughty boy?”


“No?” The ghost of his only high school friend closed the space between them. “You were always good in school for some craziness but scared to go out at night.” Daffney drags a finger down his slim chest. “Now why is that?”

“Fuck.” Bryan reaches behind him to jiggle the door.

“What are you hiding?” she whispered, pressing closer, her breast flattening against his chest.

“Fuck.” the young man sighs as Daffney grips his hands to remove his jacket and tossing it behind her. It landed in the mostly clean pile.

“Well, that is definitely something that shouldn’t be hidden.” Her eyes turn completely black staring down on his dick.

He had been teased for a lot of things in the locker room but not his dick once puberty hit. Daffney gently grabs a hold of hardening member and pulls. Her touch goes beyond cool to downright icy, but his dick has never minded the cold before. In fact, her touch makes it harder than he had ever been before with anyone.

Looking up again to meet his eyes in wonder as she continued to stroke his dick, driving his lust to try to break up the debate between his sane and not-sane parts. “I can touch you. Isn’t that interesting?”

“Ye…muph” his response drowns when Daffney grabs his head with her other hand and pulls him down for a kiss.

After a few moments, he opens his mouth for her questing tongue and closes his eyes against her glow. It was everything he dreamed about during high school and never acted on, only better, because both of them knew what they were actually doing. He moves his hands to her broad hips and up to her thick waist, the right hand traveling further to find her heavy breast and starts kneading it. Daffney moans in approval. Bryan takes a moment for a deep breath before plunging back in.

She’s a ghost, the sane part of Bryan’s brain pokes in. You’re kissing a ghost.

“Shut up.” Bryan mutters as he spins Daffney around and presses her against the door.

A threshold. The not-sane part of his mind notes. The one he normally tells to shut up. The one that started talking to him when he turned sixteen. That is going to be solid for her, not like the wall. Keep her here.

Will do.

“No way,” the woman moans as Bryan lifts Daffney up to nibble at the blushing nipples. “Not if you keep that up.”

He didn’t know what she was talking about but took her words for approval, working harder at the task, sucking with his mouth on one nipple, plucking the other one with his free hand. His sanity wondered how he was holding this big woman up with one hand so easily, then she wraps her legs around him, freeing up both hands.

Sanity gives up the argument when Daffney guides his dick into her channel.

The not-sane shudders, giving way to emotion, feeling, and non-thought.

Need. Want. Moist. Cold – make warm. Ah, warm. She so warm. Good. Deeper. Push. More. Stabilize. Door. Press in harder, harder. She is screaming. Good. Come on. Come on. Go over girl. YES! More. More.

Mine, the not-sane claims. They fall on the mattress together as the second organism hits them both.

(Words 1,409; first published 2/27/2022)

Series – No Regrets, All Dead

  1. Prepping a Meal (Zombie Version) – Link to 1/25/2022
  2. You Have Mail – Link to 2/6/2022
  3. Naked Truth – Link to 2/20/2022

Flash: Mop Up Part 2 (Pizza and Movie Night Part 4)

Picture from the Interweb

Flash created from the above text prompt for a Facebook writing group. Aim was about 50 words, but I wanted to add it to the Pizza and Movie night series.

The stone stairs beside the old coal chute were worn until the angle tilted down, on top of the indentations where most feet land, making them a hazard with the wet slime growing on them in the perpetual dark of the city alley. Jae had an easier time of it going down with only one hand handling a machete, the other could be used for balance since handrails were not part of the required OSHA safety features from the age of coal and steam. Me, I had the banged-up metal bucket and stinky mop, plus two sawed-off shotguns and one full length cannon holstered on my back balanced through wishes and prayers to various low-level deities and demigods against the ammo stored in the front of the harness.

Only Magic kept me from falling down the five treads.

Literally, Jae leant me some of their extra-ness through our bond giving me the balance of two people for a few seconds. I shoved it back at them once I got down in the questionable rainbow-hued puddles by the alley door; they had the lead and would need every bit of their two-soul specialness if the possible six (or more) zombies were waiting on the other side of the warped wood.

While the doorknob turned in Jae’s hand, the door didn’t budge. They slammed their nearly six-foot thin, but muscular frame against the door until it reluctantly open. Shoving the swollen wood against the concrete floor, eventually made enough space to let us through. I had to pass the mop and bucket, turn sideways, and think thin thoughts about my boobs which bumped against the door, to get through, but it worked, even if I collected a couple more bruises from the pinch to add to last night’s collection. I was more concerned about the loaded weapons on my back than my breasts.

The mid-afternoon sun leaking through the hopper windows gave us enough vision to see the old stone foundation, partially plastered bricks where fixes had been mortared in, building column supports of ancient smoke-darkened wood, and an array of pipes and wires partially secured to the open floor joists in the ceiling. Jae passed me back the mop-up equipment before moving deeper into the building. Avoiding the old coal pit, we quietly investigated the basement. Sure, the noise of opening the door likely gave everything down here warning of our arrival, but maybe we could blend in time.

Finding our targets didn’t take long. First, fists pounded a metal door creating a deep hollow sound vibrating in the silence we were struggling to build.

Second, well, we got the standard zombie greeting.

“Br..ai..ns,” the thing said as it staggered out of the shadows.

I backed off to a clearer area and set aside the bucket and mop, in order to draw Momma loaded with solid shot. As I did so, I looked around for the other five, well, four if only one of them were stuck behind that metal door. And amended my thought to “maybe even more” based on my experience of the reliability of magic.

Jae swung their ever-present machete at the shambling not-person. A test mostly for range in the uncertain light, but also to see if it would back down. Last night’s zombies wouldn’t of course, those things were brainless and had little underlying programming other than to break things and people. The half-drunk, fired-that-day-for-sexual-harassment idiot just poured magic he shouldn’t have had out into the greater New York City graveyards raising the most recently dead.

The fact this one could talk was worrisome.

The others didn’t say a word last night, but maybe they changed the older they got. Or maybe with the original summoner dead (the New York Alpha pair do not like their See fucked with) the ongoing energy mutated. Mutated zombies, oh, that is ALWAYS so much fun.

I didn’t see anyone else around but kept watch on the battle in case I needed to use ammo.

A duck, twist, and slide-by gave Jae the perfect neck hit with their dancing partner.

“Cole, it’s stuck!” They puffed, trying to yank it out before kicking the zombie in the back of its knees and moving back to draw their second machete.

“That’s new.” I shouted back. Yesterday gooshers were easy one-shot or one-cut kills. There just had been a lot of them with over four hundred deaths monthly filling the cemeteries on the Union County side of the river. Those risen were mindless bags of dead flesh pushed back to movement by the misused magic of a drunk asshole whose feelings got hurt.

Not like last month’s zombies. Those had been raised by someone who knew what she was doing. Who MEANT, and, worse, UNDERSTOOD, every unholy necromantic word passing her lips. The spell animated old dead, the partially mummified, the ones where people cried tears over the graves for years, the ones absorbing whatever earth magic in the ley lines passing near their rotting coffins. Solid bodies like jerky. And cutting them in pieces didn’t help either, as the bits kept moving. Kept moving, wiggling forward, looking for fresh meat to absorb. To eat. Once they had enough living juices, those zombies could reassemble the dismembered parts back into a body. Only a brain kill worked, not even a beheading. I went through a lot of ammo that day. The saving grace that let us survive, other than the few number of dead meeting the spell’s distinctive perquisites, were their jerky-meat bodies made them slow.

At least until they ate, when speed picked up considerably. New Yorkers ain’t proud enough to ask for help with the cleanup, and the Toronto and Philadelphia Sees sent their best.

“It’s one of last month’s.” Jae and I said together as the stuck machete clattered to the ground, the cut sealing behind it.

If it could heal, it could move. “Back up, Jae.”

I dropped Momma to the floor and reached for the boomstick. Not something I liked going off in an enclosed space, but the head needed to get misted.

Jae, being Jae, didn’t back up, but kept the zombie occupied as I changed weapons. They managed to knock it to the floor and continued to use their machete and a pipe they picked up from somewhere to keep it on the ground as I moved around to get a good shot off.

Suddenly everything changed.

“Wait, wait, please don’t kill me.”

The zombie begged, movement ceased and its hands out, one to Jae swinging the machete but being careful not to cut off even a single finger because dismemberment movement had to be one of the creepiest annoying variations on zombies in the book. The other aimed towards me.

Way too environmentally aware for a hunger-driven zombie with food closer to it than me.

And the talking.

Zombies don’t talk.

This one had been mumbling “br..ai..ns” since it first stepped out of the shadows. Brains when the machete fell out. Brains when it thrashed on the ground trying to get up.

Now a full pleading deity-blessed sentence.

Its head whipped back and forth between us. Both Jae and I stepped back and exchanged a quick look that might have gotten us killed with a vampire.

Keeping my shotgun pointed at its head, I asked, “Who are you?” The question twisted my insides. I hated killing things with names.


(words 1,236 – first published 9/28/2022)

Pizza and movie night series
Pizza and Movie Night (2/21/2021)
Pizza and Movie Night Part 2 (3/7/2021)
Mop Up Part 1 (Pizza and Movie Night Part 3) (4/4/2021)
Mop Up Part 2 (Pizza and Movie Night Part 4) (4/18/2021)

Visitor at Movie Night (Pizza and Movie Night – A Flash) (5/23/2021)

Book Review: Necromancer for Hire

Amazon Cover

Necromancer for Hire: The April Sullivan Chronicles by Darin Kennedy


April Sullivan is a young woman with a special gift. She can raise the dead.

This collection of stories introduces you to the April’s world, the world of a professional necromancer. Her days and nights populated with vampires, werewolves, and demons as well others of her stock in trade, April must use all the tools at her disposal, mystical and otherwise, not only to ply her trade, but to stay alive. This first collection gathers the initial seven April stories, from their homes in various anthologies, into one volume for the first time.

“Necrodance” – April teaches a serial killer a lesson on the difference between being the hunter and being the hunted.

“Bonds of Blood” – Sibling rivalry takes a new spin as April and her vampire brother meet to “discuss” the affairs of their ailing mother.

“Solstice” – April must combat the necromancer who taught her everything she knows before he can raise an army. And the army he intends to raise: Arlington National Cemetery.

“Class Reunion” – April attends the funeral of the first boy she ever loved, but dark events converge to ensure he doesn’t rest in peace.

“Solomon” – April plays a dangerous game of chance with a demon with her immortal soul as collateral.

“Symphony of Wolves” – April’s boyfriend takes her to the symphony on the night of the full moon. What could go wrong?

“The Fall and Rise of Julian LaMorte” – An origin story of sorts for April’s once mentor now nemesis.

This book clocks in at just over 150 pages and is perfect if you’re looking for a quick, fun read in the urban fantasy genre. And in case you really like, never fear, for more April is on the way!



A collection of short stories on a reoccurring character, April Sullivan — Necromancer, by Darin Kennedy. Some of the collection are amazing, most are good, and all hit the mark. Seven stories in all published over a period of three years, four of the seven were published in other anthologies before the rights reverted to Dr. Kennedy.

“Necrodance” introduces us to April Sullivan in a creepy story where you are never certain who is the hunter. (4 stars)

“Bonds of Blood” give us a bit of insight into April’s family life and her full abilities. (4 stars)

“Solstice” has switching POVs between April and a cop who pulled her over for a routine speeding ticket and gets far more than he expected. There is reasons cops are worried during every pullover – the danger is real. Though usually not involving a century-old necromancer raising entire graveyards of soldiers during a lunar eclipse. (Story has to take place December 22, 2010 – the only time since 1638 for a lunar eclipse on the Winter Solstice. – Yep, this fact in the story wasn’t just made up because it was cool. Mr. Kennedy chose an actual event.) (4 stars – plus a bonus star for getting the eclipse right)

“Class Reunion” is the best of the story stories because the emotions of everyone involved. Each and every character has agency, personality, and impact to the outcome of the story. Everyone changes because of the story, even April a little. This story is unique to the collection and hadn’t been published before. (5 stars)

“Solomon” – I first read in the Big Bad anthology, and I think it works better in the mix of that anthology then in this collection. When I read it as part of the anthology, I was jamming on the Big Bad of the story – when I read it as part of the collection, I focused on our necromancer anti-hero. Interesting how you can read the story and have two completely different take-aways based on what other stories surround it. (3 stars in this collection; 4 stars in the anthology)

The final two stories – “Symphony of Wolves” and “The Fall and Rise of Julian LaMorte” – were written for this collection. Symphony is as action packed as Solstice, while Fall and Rise is perhaps the weakest of the lot because it’s more a prologue for the upcoming novelette than a stand-alone story. (4 stars and 2 stars respectively)

Average 4 stars. As Goodreads rating states “I really liked it.”


If you are interested in the technical side of writing, each short story of the collection has a different point of view (POV) style. “Necrodance” is first-person POV (not April!). “Bonds of Blood” is third-person POV. “Solstice” is alternating first person POV (April and the cop). “Class Reunion” finally has the typical urban fantasy first-person POV on the main character. “Solomon”‘s first person POV again returns to the adversary of April we saw in “Necrodance”. “Symphony of Wolves” is third-person, and “The Rise and Fall…” is first-person adversary.

Hmmm – I liked “Class Reunion” the best, could it be because it follows the traditional formula the closest? Again, if you are interested in the technical side of writing looking over this collection written by the same author and same character with the same “voice” but with different POVs can help give you a feel of how POV can change things.

Flash: Date a Necromancer

Image courtesy of Somkiat Fakmee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“You need to stop leaving dead bodies in my kitchen.”

My cat looks up at me. “Merp?”

“No, not you.” I pick up Agent Tom and pet his stripped fur. “I want all the mice to be dead and birds to stop shitting on my car. You are perfect.” I kiss his head and brush my cheek against the top of his head while staring daggers at my boyfriend.

Looking up from his textbook, Nathan holds his spoon halfway between his bowl of cereal and his mouth, dripping milk. “What?”

I glare at the severed hand on the waxpaper and the intestines in the mason jar sitting on my side of the table and then back at him.

He finishes putting the spoon in his mouth, chews, and swallows. “What?”

“Oh for the love of G– clean up after yourself!” I let Agent Tom escape my arms before turning to get the hot bread out of the toaster. Muttering under my breath, I butter the toast. “Date a necromancer, my mom says. People are always dying, he will never be out of a job, she says. No mention of the…” I switch to a much louder voice, “…constant body parts just dropped everywhere!”

I drag my chair to his side of the table and shove his book aside to make room for my toast and grapefruit.

“Wait, what, …” Nathan moves the textbook before the shift flips the pages. “… Anita, give me a second.”

I roll my eyes, but let him move things without any further intervention, though the body parts on the other side of the table remain in place. “Idiot.” I accuse him affectionately.

“Psycho,” he replies, giving me a half-smile and nudging my leg with his before going back to his studies. Finals are in two weeks.

(words 301; first published 3/15/2020)