Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Out in the Dark . . .

For those of you new to my little corner of Hell, I also storm chase.  Check out my "other" adventures at 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Interview Room 3 - Detective Bailey's Interrogations Re: Samantha Bartlett and Attempt on President


MB:        This is Michael Bailey in Interrogation #3 .  .  . Today we are interviewing Dr. Samantha Bartlett from D.A. Bale’s “Running into the Darkness”.  So Doc . . .   Wait a minute are you a real doc or like a chiropractor or one of those TV show quacks?

SB:          I could ask the same of you – are you a real “investigator” or just some crack-pot wanna be?  If you are, then you should know the answer to your own asinine question, Detective.

MB:       Well since you are the one cuffed to the table and I’ve got the badge, doc.  I’ll ask the questions.

SB:          Yeah, un-cuff me and we’ll see who asks who the questions around here.  I have many areas of expertise.  Look, there’s only two reasons a man cuffs a woman:  his need to feel all powerful and in control or he wants to satisfy some sick sexual fantasy.  Which of these are you, Bailey? 

MB:        Option three, there was an attempt on the President’s life and we brought you in for questioning.  If it would make you feel more at home, I can have Officer Vasquez wear a leather mask or let those secret service types my officers are stalling come in and have a crack at you.  Ok here we go.  It says in my notes you started out as an ER resident had an argument with the attending, then a couple days later, your house blew up.  Where were you when the house blew up and why did you fake your own death?

SB:          First of all, Dr. Gibbon had no right discussing a private conversation with you that has nothing to do with your case.  The way he’d tell it anyway, you’d expect the man were a god or something – far from it, let me tell you.

MB:        It was a missing persons report, he gladly spoke you up.  Also, I’ve seen gods . . .um, nevermind.

SB:          Second, where in the world do you come up with your timeline?  A couple of days?  Give me a break!  You should be investigating the SOB who killed my…forget it.

MB:        Wow, another murder.  Now serving number 6.  Number 6 . . . anyone?

SB:          Bite me, and thirdly, just where in the world do you get your information?  Fake my own death – I did nothing of the kind.

MB:        Your house exploded and you didn’t show up . . . so, I get it. 

SB:          Sounds to me like you don’t have anything left to go on and are up to your armpits in assumptions.  You know what they say about people who assume, Bailey. 

MB:        Yep, were both assholes.  No argument here.  Where are you living now?

SB:          Really?  You’re going to ask me such a question now?  What are you smoking and whose payroll are you on?

MB:        It’s called an interrogation for a reason and the States.

SB:          Well then, why don’t you tell me where you’re living now so I can pay you a visit when I get out of this hell-hole?   

MB:        Nah, already got a gal.  Where are you from?

SB:          I’d still like to claim Washington State, if you don’t mind.  Those years are the only happy memories I have.

MB:        I show your parents are deceased and you were born in Kansas.  Care to tell me what happened?

SB:          Gee, you know how to drive a knife home, don’t you?  If you want to know, I’m sure the FAA filed the reports.  You really aren’t much of an investigator, are you? 

MB:        Already looked at the FAA report.  Alex, I’ll take things that go BOOM for $1000.

SB:          Ass-hole. 

MB:        See you agree with my earlier assumption.  What do you do for a living?

SB:          That’s complicated.  Let’s just continue to say I’m a surgeon by profession. 

MB:        Are you preforming plastic surgery in the back of a van?

SB:          Only if you’re my next patient.

MB:        Ha, who else is in your life currently?

SB:          Counting you?  No one important. 

MB:        Ouch.

SB:          Watch out then, because everyone who gets close to me meets a cruel fate. 

MB:        Done and done . . . Is there something strange going on with the President?

SB:         You can ask him if you like. 

MB:        They disconnected my red phone a couple years ago. 

SB:          That’s because yours was connected to Hell. 

MB:        Heh, actually ---  

SB:          If the questions continue down this path, I’ll be glad to send you to him and introduce you. 

MB:        Why red hair and the other . . .  ahem adjustments?   Note to self: keep looking at suspects eyes.

SB:          It goes with my eyes.  Anymore stupid questions?

MB:        Nope just a stupid assumption.  Kid, you and I have something in common.  Our lives get turned upside down and we are the only ones left to clean up after it.  How do you deal with it? 

SB:          So now you’re a shrink?  Listen, Bailey, after what I’ve seen and been through, conflict and change would be like tip-toeing through the tulips.  How’s it working for you?

MB:        Most days I’m the kid following the parade elephant with a bucket.  Is there anything specific you want to tell your readers?

SB:          Sometimes life is hard.  Sometimes it sucks and you’d just rather give up and die.  But not me.  I’m going to find out everything and make every single one of these bastards pay for what they’ve done to me and everyone I’ve ever cared about.  Now all I need to do is figure out how many have spun this web around me – and why.  Once they’re dead, I can finally rest in peace.  Hey, when they’re in pieces I can be at peace – get it?

MB:        What inspired you to do all this?

SB:          Vengeance – the greatest motivator ever known to man…and woman.

MB:        Are you going to be following up “Running into the Darkness”?

SB:          You can bet your bottle of whiskey on it. 

MB:        Sorry.  Been dry for three weeks.   

SB:          So you say.  See I’ve done a little investigating of my own.  If I find you’re involved with this group in any way… 

MB:        Well, Doc.  Looks like the Secret Service is here.  Probably shouldn’t have asked all the questions I did but like I said . . .  you had the right to remain silent.

SB:          Darling Miranda was never quoted in my presence, Detective.  My lawyer will have a field day with that one.

MB:        Meh, you know the drill.

Funny thing about the video cameras in interview 3 went out right before the secret service went in.  Never could trust those cameras.  Unfortunately, she made it out and left three men on the floor.  D.A. Bale’s “Running into the Darkness” is available through Amazon at and also available at for other e-reader formats  

You can visit D.A. Bale and Doctor Samantha Bartlett at


Interview Room 3 - Detective Bailey's Interrogations

Detective Micheal Bailey from "Hell to Pay" will be conducting interrogations soon from the main characters of other novels.  Let's just say the Interrogation of the March Sisters from "Little Women" didn't go so well, there was a lot to clean up and Bailey may end up talking once again to the DA.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Day the Sun Stopped Shining Blog Hop

Micheal Rivers Blog

Andy Holloman

Tim Ward podcast

Davida Green-Norris (Dicey Grenor)

Marie Harbon

Georgina Kamsika

Thursday, December 22, 2011

National Short Story Day

In celebration of the shortest day of the year, here is one of my short stories from many moons ago (circa 1998).

Farewell to the Huntsman


William Brian Johnson

The long winter finally succumbed to the first soft breaths of spring, awakening inhabitants that sought shelter from cold and snow in the forest.   As always on the first day of spring a gathering took place of all forest elders.  The meeting began with its usual fervor and ambiance.  Father Bear began shuffling around with his muzzle covered in honey.  Still groggy from his long nap, he plopped down next to Skunk, almost crushing him.  “Watch it, you oaf!” Skunk cried and everyone echoed in unison.
Owl, seasoned and ancient, noticed the high numbers that had survived winter. 
Father Bear said, “I realize who and what I’ve devoured before my big nap, but did you see the size of the Rabbit clans?”
Elder rabbit added, “This year has been kind to us.  No thanks to some of you, we’ve survived a hard winter.  Oddly enough . . .  the Huntsman has taken no pelts this year.” 
Chatter broke through the meeting as a lone figure approached.  It was Fox.  His family had been strong at one time, but due to the Huntsman, all but one had disappeared.
With cheerless eyes he gazed upon all present.  “I’ve watched his cold house this winter, no shadows, no smells, no warmth or smoke.”
Owl proclaimed, “After Father Bear killed his mongrel, maybe he left.  In all his killing he walked with that monster.”
Bear held up his mangled paw, a relic served by a trap hidden for his kind.  Could his old enemy be dead?   “I hope his spirit broke with it.” Bear mumbled then sat back and belly laughed, “Mauling was too good for that beast, from the very pits of Hades it came.  It bit me through my skin and I still carry the lump of old tooth it left in me.”
Squirrel arrived late as usual, eyeing Owl with a certain fear and respect.  “We can all see what he did to the mighty bear, yes we can,” laughed Squirrel.  “That dog hated me, yes he did, and from my branch I’d cackle. He’d bay and scream; I’m always out of reach.  I tricked him, I did. Try to eat me many a time.  Missed me.  It seems so lonely here without him.  I miss him.”  Squirrel sighed, “I used to make him run in circles and bark till he was hoarse—”
          “That’s enough, Squirrel.” Owl glared in his direction. “You know good and well the danger we’re in when that monster was about.  He was anything but a toy.”  Squirrel tried to respond, but Owl paid him no heed.  “Tomorrow we will go to his cabin, and Fox will keep an eye on it tonight.”  Owl commanded, “Remember the monster is dead, but its Master may still hunt us.  Think of the heads of our families he keeps; a mockery of their lives, stuffed and lifeless, for his pleasure.” 
“But—” Squirrel said, but Owl cut him off.  “Silence, or I will silence you.  We all know about the corn he’s laid out for you in winters past.” 
Owl’s eyes beamed to the sky.  “We meet at dawn, for now I must eat.” 
As Owl’s wings beat against the night, Squirrel turned and scrambled away hidden among the thick branches.  “Is he gone?” Squirrel asked. The others paid no attention to him, until Bear got up and smacked him out of the tree.  When they settled down, the beasts gazed hungrily at each other, but this was not the time.  Food would be plentiful this year.
Squirrel gathered himself up from the ground and looked nervously around, if he was going to survive this year he’d need help.
As the night sky gave way to sunrise, a dew-ridden Fox stood ever vigilant across from the Huntsman’s cabin.  Owl came to rest on a branch not far above him, “How is it, old friend?”
“The butcher shop’s closed,” sighed Fox.  The snap of twigs forced them out of their thoughts as Father Bear arrived. 
“Owl, did you know Squirrel made a pact with the Mouse clan against you.”  Owl made a strange noise in his throat and spit a large wad of bone and hair. 
“What is that?” Bear asked. 
“The mouse delegate,” Owl replied.  “Did you hear the wolves last night?”
“So something is dead out here,” Fox replied. 
“I try to ignore the foul creatures,” Bear declared.   
“If they’re in the area, we should get this over with,” said Owl.
They advanced uneasily toward the cabin. Bear glanced up and sighed, “Your friend is on the roof.”  Owl took to the air and swooped down upon the hapless Squirrel. 
Squirrel stooped as Owl’s talons streaked by, “I just want to see what’s going on.  Please let me be a part of this, and stop trying to kill me.”
“You’ve been nothing but a pain to me since you were spawned, you little menace,” Owl screeched.
Squirrel ran to the edge of the roof and dived into the guttering as Owl made another pass.  He stopped midway down and climbed through a rusted hole near the window pane.  “I see him!” Squirrel screamed.  The others hearing this, stopped.  “He’s not doing anything.”
Squirrel scratched at the window oblivious to Owl approaching behind him.  Owl landed on the pane, knocking Squirrel off.  He peered into the dusty cabin. The old man lay crumpled on the floor with his hand clutched at his chest.
Owl relayed this to his friends.  Fox ran under the house and found an entrance inside.  Bear not being able to fit under the house made a grand entry, splintering the front door. 
No movement came from the Huntsman.  For so long the animals had feared him.  They only knew him as a fearsome sight, dressed head to toe in the pelts of his kills, and the cold stare he gave an animal caught within his trap.  His eyes now stared void and dead, frozen in death by the bad winter. 
“See, I told you he wasn’t so bad,” whimpered Squirrel.
Fox bared his teeth at the comment.  “Look around you Squirrel, how can you defend this monster?” 
They beheld their kindred, skinned, stuffed, and altered.  Owl sat dumbfounded as he gazed around, Bear rubbed against his mother’s pelt, Fox ripped the stuffing out of his former mates.  Other animals shredded their former folk.  When they were done, the cabin was left in tatters. 
Wolves howled in the distance.  The animals gazed at the crumpled, wrinkled flesh of the Huntsman.  The pelts he’d worn were strewn about him and framed the weak pink flesh inside. 
“The wolves will not take him,” Bear muttered and picked up the Huntsman’s body.  He carried it outside as the others followed as he lumbered up the hill.  Father Bear stopped short of the peak, in a place overlooking their dens, caves, and nests, and watched the wolf pack approach.
Alpha, their leader came forward. “Let us have him Father Bear, it’s the way things are.”
“Leave us, carrion feeders.”  Bear wanted no part of them here.  Years ago while his son was trapped, they came.  His young cub removed two from their numbers, but in the end, they won. 
Alpha approached and Bear reared up “Mine” he roared loud and strong, thunderously enough to be heard throughout the valley. 
Alpha knew he was no match for the Elder Bear, but all that gathered would receive his visit one day.  The pack turned and fled down the hill. 
Fox watched them run away.  He turned to Bear and Owl and said, “We place him high above us to never do harm again. Let this point be a place of solitude and thought.  While we rest here, not one of us harms another.  This is a place of peace.”
Bear grunted in agreement as Owl spoke, “We lay to rest our greatest of enemies; he hunted us for food, and he hunted for greed.  He laid upon us a mark that we will all carry to our own resting place.” 
The animals clawed into the soft earth and made the Huntsman his own den.  When it was finished, the body fell in, and Fox methodically covered it with dirt.
Afterwards, he scowled at the mound and whispered, “We’ve cowered in the shadow of death for too long.” And with that Fox left.
Father Bear circled the site, packing in the earth.  He glanced into the Forest and remembered his son. 
They stayed on the hill slowly going back into the forests by themselves, when they had enough.  The procession of forest inhabitants left, all except one.  Squirrel sat upon the ground, and for the first time in his young life, experienced silence.  The carefree existence he once lived was gone, and today he would be among the hunted.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

When I Realized the Mayans Were Wrong

From a writer's prompt from a Diamond in the Dark blog:

He blinked and looked around. “What the hell is up with the birds?” he wondered.

The sidewalk was littered with hundreds of bird carcasses as their breathern wheeled and squawked above.  Some terrified birds flapped as the others bombed them.  The others, the ruffled and damaged looking birds refused to pull up, and plummeted into cement. 

Travis Johansson sought the cover of a gas station’s metal awning as the hail of bird debris rained down.  The bird screams, like a caw of a crow, drooled on.  Some birds escaped, flying in different directions away from the deadly flock.  Others after being attacked, would lose coordination, attack the others, and fall.

Travis stared at the sky, peeking out to fall back when one fell to close.  It wasn’t until he felt something peaking at his shoe, that he had the realization.

This zombie apocalypse didn’t start with people.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hell to Pay Chapter 0 "The Ballad of Mercy Tyler"

Point a shotgun at someone and it changes their perspective. 
Mercy Tyler had the draw on a group of redneck teenagers who picked the wrong day to dick with a long-haired man on a Harley.  The boy behind the wheel was either too stupid or scared and didn’t know what to do.  Shotgun scattershot would break a window and maybe cut the kids, but that left Mercy with two tons of pissed-off old Ford truck running him down.  If it got too hot, the lump of concealed .44 in Mercy’s jacket had murderous intentions, but he couldn’t afford distractions with twelve pounds of meth in the saddlebags.  Mercy’s best hope was to play the boy.  It was too close to civilization to leave the kids out for crow food. 
The driver gripped the steering wheel and gave a nervous nod.  If Mercy let them go out here in southwestern Kansas, some toothless kin would come rooting for revenge or the cops would come, but standing here did nothing.  He sheathed the shotgun into its concealed back holster, throttled on, and left the group of teenagers parked in the road.
Miles away, the kids were done but now clouds threatened.    All day storms developed then fell apart, but now they gathered like a rushing mob.  Aggressive cloud tops blasted into the atmosphere and beckoned wind.  This wasn’t going to be a rain to idly ride in, but one of those Kansas storms with a death toll.
Mercy needed shelter.  There were people loyal to the Berserkers Biker Gang living thirty miles to the south, but Mercy hadn’t seen them since he took power.  Not everyone was happy with management changes, especially when they went down quick and violent.  He’d already pointed a shotgun at someone today and decided to run for home.  He turned east on “Shadow Road”, a gypsy trade route of asphalt away from the arterial highways through Kansas to avoid freight trucks, cops, and locals.  Hopefully.     
The main storm cannibalized clouds around it, drawing in moisture and building furiously.  It blocked his movement north but should track east. 
Thunder echoed over the motor’s roar and ten miles down the road, a crosswind developed and blew Mercy over centerline. He slowed down and scanned the horizon.  The storm wasn’t moving east, but southwest.
            Damn storm’s chasin’ me.
Storms don’t go southwest; east, northeast, maybe southeast, but not toward Mercy.  He hoped to outrun the dark clouds that rotated nearby, and opened up the Harley as dust rose from cut wheat.  Mercy leaned down and tried to go faster, but the wind hampered him.  Clouds covered the sun and nickel-sized raindrops fell.  Lightning flashed as another bolt smote western Kansas dirt.
            The thunder’s growl pealed across the prairie and toned down to the sound of another throaty motorcycle engine.  The lightning illuminated someone on a motorcycle riding in the storm. 
Mercy hit the throttle, soon the bike’s vibrations signaled full out.  Another lightning strike illuminated the lone rider, a large bald man on a black bike followed behind him.
            “What the fuck?” Mercy yelled through bug splattered lips. 
He reached into his jacket and produced his .44, pointed the gun behind him and waited.  The next lightning bolt showed his pursuer less than 100 feet behind, still cloaked in rain.  Mercy fired.  The recoil almost took him off the bike.  
            He pulled over and let the storm catch him.  The rain swirled as if showing its emptiness.  Thunder growled overhead and the wind screamed, but Mercy was out here alone.     He raised his jacket above his head as the wind driven rain started to hurt.
            A farmhouse or structure would provide shelter until the storm blew over, but on the western plains there was nothing but cows and open farmland. 
The rain slowed as a large hailstone shattered on the pavement in front of him.  For once in his life, Mercy wished he had a helmet, but held his jacket up higher to buffer any strike while waiting to get beat to hell.  Hail clobbered the pavement with machine gun intensity.  He looked down at the clean patch of asphalt surrounded by piling ice.  It didn’t register until he peered out of his jacket. 
Green and black clouds boiled overhead.  Hail pulverized anything it came in contact with, except for him.  Cows bellowed and fences and vegetation were destroyed as softball sized chunks of hail kicked up divots of dirt.  The ground turned white apart from a small circle that enveloped him and his bike.  Then it stopped and Mercy was surrounded by silence.
Lightning flashed.  The thunder sounded like an incoming round and the force of it blew Mercy off his bike and into the ditch.  He was roughly aware of hitting cold water.  His ears rang in protest and he fought to stay conscious.  Bubbles of vision cleared as Mercy looked up.
His bike’s front tire melted into the pavement and his chrome forks looked like charred slag leading up to the blown apart gas tank. 
“Oh, shit.” 
A chuckle snagged his attention.  The lone rider sat on his black motorcycle looking down on him in the rain. 
“Take the fucking meth,” Mercy bellowed and stumbled in the ditch. 
The giant said nothing and stared at him.  For a moment it looked like the rain boiled off him.
“What do you want?”
The giant’s hand moved off the bike and he pointed.  His red mirrored sunglasses reflected Mercy’s horrified expression.  Mercy grabbed for his .44 and found it missing, as the wind around him screamed.  He lost his balance and fell, thinking to feel the ground’s cold wet impact, but found himself flying.
The wind accelerated, taking him higher and faster down the road.  Dirt and debris assaulted him as the wind roared.  He spun head over ass and then the wind abruptly ceased.  Mercy opened his eyes.  From the cold heights, he watched the tops of grain silos far off in the distance. 
Gravity took over and as Mercy plummeted, his last thought . . .
 What the fuck did I do to deserve this?
*          *          *
            On a lone dirt road, miles from where it last touched the Earth, Mercy’s shattered body lay near the small impact crater.  A giant of a man, dressed in black with a goatee the color of fire approached.  He rolled the corpse over and found a patch roughly stitched to the leather jacket.  It said Berserkers Biker Gang with an old symbol of power at the bottom.  The symbol of leadership had flecks of old and new blood on it.  The giant ripped the patch from Mercy’s jacket and let the corpse fall back to the ground.  Not everyone would be happy with management changes, especially when they went down quick and violent, but now things had been forced in motion, and someone needed to act.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hell to Pay Now in Paper

Spread the word, let me know in the comments below.  I will be drawing for a Minion's T-shirt tomorrow at Midnight.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I'm just saying

You know, with all the storms, earthquakes, tidal waves, etc we've suffered this year.  The moon looked a little wounded Saturday morning.