Sometimes They Come Back
Five Complete and Unabridged Stories
The Other Self
Specter of the 1-2-3
A Soul for a Silver Dollar
Twisted, bloody tales of revenge from beyond the grave with stories set in the 1880s, 1960s, 1980s, and present day.
Read below for a synopsis for each story and exclusive snippets from each of the five tales.
Sometimes They Come Back available now on Amazon: Kindle and softcover. And Barnes & Noble: Nook Book
Artwork by Romolo Tavani
Edited by Kevin Fern
Love Undying, previously unpublished. Conceived from my fondness of the grand days of Las Vegas, and Brooklyn born disc jockey Wolfman Jack.
• Two detectives are called to investigate a series of bizarre strangulations and weird sightings following the apparent resurrection of a murdered 1960s Las Vegas entertainer, who returns to life in modern times and attempts to find his teenage lover while exacting revenge on his killers.
“So, what do you have?” the well-groomed mid-30s lieutenant asked
“Appears to be a well-dressed male with a garrote around his throat,” George responded.
“A garrote?” David questioned, a tone of surprise reflecting in his voice.
Frank said, “Doesn’t sound like a mob hit to me.”
“Not unless you’re Luca Brasi,” George told them. “I’d say the vic has been entombed for over 30 years.”
Frank observed a Bulova watch and diamond ring on the victim’s hand. “Looks like our vic had money. Don’t suppose there’s any ID on him?”
“Won’t know ‘til I get him back. But by the suit he’s wearing and the expensive watch, I think we may have just found Buddy Love.”
“Buddy Love?” Frank questioned the coroner’s revelation. “The Jerry Lewis character?”
“No. The real Buddy Love. He disappeared in ‘68, the night before he was supposed to sign a new contract with the Peppermint Hotel & Casino,” David educated his partner as they all watched two medical examiner assistants finish wrapping the dirt encrusted body in plastic.
“Mobbed up, was he?” Frank asked.
It was apparent to David that his older partner knew nothing about the late-60s Las Vegas entertainer. “Everyone who was anyone in this town knew Buddy. And everyone loved him. Even the mob bosses would come out and see him perform, but the Peppermint was legit.”
“Well, someone didn’t love him,” Frank remarked before turning to George and asking, “So why he’s so petrified?”
“He was buried pretty deep. Looks like the dry earth sucked all the fluids out of him, inhibiting decomp.”
“That deep, huh? Somebody didn’t want him found, that’s for certain.”
Pumpkin Face, previously unpublished. My partiality for Halloween and 80s slasher horror. A tale of a tragic protagonist whose on a bloody rampage to get back his missing, dismembered head.
• A young Down syndrome boy brutally murdered on Halloween night, returns from the dead six years later to exact revenge on his killers and to find his missing head.
Billy Phelps would be true to his word. All of them would pay for what they had done. And this night Billy would make good on that promise.
Blindly, the rotting corpse scratched and clawed its way out of its subterranean tomb and into the crisp, clean and clear autumn morning only minutes into a new day—Halloween day. Nonetheless, the body of Billy Phelps could not see the cloudless, star filled sky above him, nor could it smell the fall scents around him, not even the wondrous fragrance of apple coming from the cider mill he never knew. Billy’s corpse was headless.
Pulling itself up from the earthen hole from which it had escaped, it crawled haphazardly around the cemetery wall until it found the wrought iron entry gate. Unlatching the door, the decapitated torso slowly rose and walked away from its resting place and into the night.
The Other Self, originally published in Devolution Z, Issue 14, September 2016. Inspired by a news article about a young boy who remembered his past life in Hollywood during the 1930s and 40s.
• An audio recording engineer discovers the spirit of a murdered 1970s New York City mob hitman is taking control of him, and forcing him to exact revenge on those who brutally murdered the hitman and his family nearly 30 years earlier.
“Welcome home, Umberto,” the younger of the two Melis brothers greeted him, as Roberto was knocked on the back of the head with the butt end of a pistol.
Roberto knew the two brothers. They were independent contractors like he was, except these two had no morals. Not only were they two ruthless, stone-cold killers who were known for their enormous capacity for violence, they were also part of a crew that controlled the heroine trade in Harlem and the South Bronx. They were low life, bottom feeding scum to Roberto, given contracts that Roberto turned down.
“What the fuck do you two think you’re doing?” Roberto angrily responded to the home invasion.
“We’re here to deliver a message from Don Lombardi,” older brother Marco informed him. “He thanks you for your service over these many years, but your services are no longer required by the Five Families.”
“So, you come into my home, pointing guns at my wife and me, to tell me that. Don Lombardi could have called a sit-down if he had a beef me — not send two Pleasant Avenue stronzos to tell me.”
Being called a piece of shit infuriated Jacomo. He kicked Roberto in the ribs several times, and then stated, “You got some balls on you, Umberto. You think you’re better than us, just because you live in this fancy house with your expensive whore wife! Well, you ain’t. You ain’t —”
“Chiudi il becco!” Roberto ordered, telling Jacomo to stop running his mouth, and then demanded, “Take me to see the Capo Bastone.”
“You got it wrong, Umberto,” Marco informed him. “There’s going to be no-sit down. This a whack job.”
Specter of the 1-2-3, previously unpublished. My hate/love relationship with the MTA subway system and the crime that to this day still plagues it.
A trapped and vengeful spirit of a murdered New York City subway rider finds an escape decades later by inhabiting the body of a recently deceased woman, and discovers his new female form has its advantages in tracking down his killers. Meanwhile, two detectives are seeking the whereabouts of an injured female subway rider, who is electrocuting members of a Bronx street gang for no apparent reason.
Vindictively destroying Ryan Ellis filled Denton with a tremendous sense of pleasure and accomplishment. Not only had he manifested himself again in a human-like form, but was now able to control and manipulate electrical energy and use it as a weapon of punishment and death. These abilities fueled his need and desire to seek out and destroy those who had ambushed and murdered him. However, he was not corporeal and knew through past attempts his soul could not cross the boundaries that had been set without blinking out of existence.
Perhaps, Denton rationalized, there was one way out of his underground prison, and that was to occupy a body. He needed a body that could not resist his influence and one that he could do no harm to. He would not purposely harm a living innocent. The woman on the tracks could prove to be a useful vessel.
A Soul for a Silver Dollar, previously unpublished. A homage to my love of American and Italian Western films of the 1960s and 1970s, but with a SciFi twist.
• A Confederate Army captain, murdered by his own soldiers, makes a desperate deal with a devious entity in order to restore his Southern honor. In exchange for his resurrection and allowing him to bring to justice those who betrayed the Confederacy, the captain agrees to a very bizarre and complicated arrangement. It is a bargain that could condemn his soul to eternal torture if he fails.
Captain Coltrane gasped for air. He was still buried in the pit Sergeant Frazier’s men had dug. He still felt disembodied. Coltrane hoped he was face up, like his vision had revealed. Then more of his living sensations came back. He could now feel his dead men pressing on his back, so he must have been face up, he concluded. Coltrane dug and clawed at the earth, straining to get free. His right hand seemed to be free from his dirt tomb. He felt warmth upon it. Then his other hand was freed. He wiggled them about, then turned them in circular motions, widening the holes he had made. There was a rush of air into his tomb. Fresh air filled his lungs, and as it did, he felt his strength return. He withdrew his hands back into the grave, and using them as leverage, he forced his body up into a sitting position. The earth crumbled around him and he was free. Sitting, he was still chest deep in dirt, but at least he could see sun and feel the North Carolina air in his lungs. He took no notice the grave he had been entombed in was now overgrown with grass.