GOOD EVENING MISFITS // One of Those Days, eh?

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Good Afternoon Survivors // Kick Ass FRANKENSTEIN Poster by Anthony Petrie

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anthonypetrie.com

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GOOD EVENING MISFITS // Let’s Listen to Some Æthenor // Silk to Breath

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Good Afternoon, Survivors // Four More Random Albums // Just Because

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My criteria for choosing these albums and the ones in the previous post is pretty simple: if afforded the luxury, could I happily listen to any of these albums on a daily basis? The answer is yes, and there you go.

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GOOD EVENING MISFITS // FOUR RANDOM ALBUMS

Making the rounds on twitter. These are mine.

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Tagged in this post: @malcoJOJO, @pulpthorn, @kitlane, and @lazcorp

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BLACK SPRING a poster

BLACK SPRING

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FICTION: A Not Really Scary Story for @mlleghoul On Her Birthday, “The Vampire’s Lover”

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OUR HEROINE HAS GROWN BORED with the romance of bats and fangs, faces at the window, bad dreams. True, he is snappy dresser and never uses foul language—he has always been, if nothing else, a perfect gentleman—but endless midnight necking as the wolves howl satisfies for only so long, no matter how captivating his accent. It is nearly twelve and the moon hangs full of hunger in the raven sky; he will be appearing soon. She is unable to sit still; dressed in denim shorts and T-shirt and without a trace of makeup she pads from room to room, muttering half-words to herself, glancing from the clock to the window to the TV that flickers in bright rapid-fire silence. She pauses before the set and slips a spoonful of ice cream into her mouth. Close-up of an extraordinarily handsome man grinding his teeth, then spinning black tires and slick neon streets. A car chase. A cop show. She watches for a moment, then looks at the clock.

Soon.

Too late for any thoughts of escape.

She moves to the stereo. The Bach Partitas that Vladimir insists she spin for his arrival sit ignored in their jewel cases; the stereo is pounding full tilt with The Red Hot Chili Peppers, music he can’t stand. She turns it up. Let him flip, she thinks, finishes her ice cream, throws the empty container at the wastebasket and misses. The container rolls on the kitchen floor, stops dead center. Her lips curl in defiance; she notes how effectively she’s trashed her apartment in the course of coming to her decision. Wet towels hang from doorknobs and issues of Cosmo cover the floor, a stack of dishes in the sink, overflowing ashtrays and empty Smartfood bags. And thrown in the corner, the puffed white Victorian gown she has come to despise. She touches her neck. The curl of  her lips become a snarl.

She wonders how she ever brought herself to play his loony game night after night, wonders how she actually got into that ridiculous gown—taking care to slip one strap off her shoulder—then lay in bed and pretended to sleep and waited for him, every night, for the last four weeks. It’s all so… weird! So old-fashioned! Which is exactly what her friends said in the beginning, cooing with jealousy, Oh it’s so dark and mysterious and romantic, etc. She smiled and blushed, lapped up their attention the way Vladimir lapped at her throat and coyly shrugged at their endless questions: Does he really speak French? Isn’t he too old for you? Is he rich, do you do it in a coffin, does he bite DOWN THERE? Now she lives for their fucking phone calls, like postcards from a lost childhood. She finds herself missing the goofy, normal things: razor stubble, musk, hairy backs, beer breath. She longs for the electric din of a nightclub in the company of strangers, the feel of Bob’s fingers inside her, Jasmine’s weird trick of talking like a guy and kissing like a girl but all the while… Oh. Her tongue pushes against her teeth. Oh yeah, the good stuff, pleasures her black-clad suitor never dreamed of.

When exactly did his spell fade? When he introduced her to his friends, maybe? No, after that, she realizes, probably the night they fought, the night she suggested they order pizza and Vladimir recoiled, lips curling back over his fangs. “PeetZAAA? You seriously expect a child of secrets and shadows to dine on greasy rounded slabs splattered with noxious spices and crisped in hellish ovens until they bubble and pop and ooze slime blah blah BLAH!” He bitched for hours. So uncool. She could have had a better time with somebody’s great-grandfather. He left her that night without drawing blood, only to slither through the window the following night with murmured words of apology. He would try harder to understand her, he said, it was, after all, a strange new world. The moment she saw the pathetic bunch of flowers in his hand she knew it was finished, he had blown it. The mystery, the thrill, the passion… it had all turned to dust.

She despised him.

She notices a sudden chill in the air, a prickle at her neck, a certain musky smell. She turns. It’s midnight, exactly. A thick grey mist is churning outside her window. She sees the soft ripple of shadow bones unfolding, taking shape. The Chili Peppers are pleading If you see me getting mighty, if you see me getting high, knock me down! Our heroine draws a long, slow breath, then goes to the window and slides it up.

The vampire pours himself into the room, a swirl of smoke and claws that curls around her lovingly, brushing against her ankles, her legs, her stomach. She barely holds back the grimace. Then there is the crush of a phantom kiss against her cheek and she stiffens, turns away, and his psychic mutter of confusion is almost audible. The image of a crow flashes behind her eyes, then a wolf, then some unnamable creature with teeth like a broken picket fence. She shudders, forces back the image, and he tears away from her in a roar and a rush to materialize in the center of the room, black cloak flaring as if in a tempest, his blue eyes caught somewhere between lust and fury. She takes an instinctive step back, wondering, not for the first time, what kind of man he was when he was just that, a man. Then she realizes with a start he’s speaking to her, his lips moving in a rapid angry way but she can’t hear him, the music is so loud. She shakes her head.

“That noise!” he shouts, and it is like a knife in each ear: two windows shatter, a picture falls from the wall, the CD player spits sparks and the music, predictably, dies.

“Great,” she says, slowly lowering her hands from her ears. “That’s real good.”

He looks at the damage he’s caused. He licks his lips. His eyes narrow. Then he turns his gaze on her.

“You,” he begins, “are supposed to be in bed, pretending to be asleep.”

“Oh yeah?” she says. “Well, that’s the type of girl I am, full of surprises. Didn’t you once say you like surprises?”

“Surprises, sometimes. The timbre of your voice, no.”

“The what?” she snaps. “The timbre of my voice?” She rolls her eyes. “Listen, Vlad, we’ve got to talk.”

He draws closer but she steps out of his reach. He stops, one hand frozen before him.

“Come to me,” he says.

She shakes her head.

His fingers curl slowly into a fist. When he speaks his voice barely above a whisper. “You… dare… not!”

She laughs. “I’ll dare what I please, pal. I must have been blitzed out of my face the night I met you!”

“Do not say these things!”

She allows her mouth to become cruel. “I’m saying them. It’s been, ah, unreal, but look, it’s done. Come on, pack up those bat wings, let’s not make it any messier than it has to be.”

“I have spoken words to you that have not fallen from my lips in seven hundred years, shared secrets the manner of which undreamed of by paltry mortal minds, brought you to heights of rapture that would leave lesser women babbling and senseless!” She cuts him short by pretending to stifle a yawn. He seethes in silence for a moment, then says, “And you would throw it all away, for what?!”

She pretends to think about it. “A stiff dick?”

“Aarrgggh!” he screams, his features boiling. “I knew it!”

“Vlad,” she begins but stops; she’s laughing too hard.

“I thought you were a woman of sensitivity! Of substance!”

“Come on Vlad,” she manages to gasp around her laughter, “it’s just a joke,” but he isn’t listening, he’s a sudden blur of black and teeth and then she’s flying through the air, the wall smashes into her and she crumples to the floor.

“Is this what you want?” she hears him say through her pain-wracked skull. “This is what my lovers usually expect. It’s usually what they get. But you…!”

She manages to focus her vision in time to see him cross the room in a single pounce; he reaches down and yanks her up and holds her aloft. Her feet dangle above the floor.

“Is this what you want?” His once-blue eyes are burning desert yellow, his teeth jutting broken plates. “Tell me, dearest,” he says, his voice shaking. She panics. She twists against him, tries to kick him, punch him. A shudder passes through him. His mouth quivers. He slams her against the wall. Then he does it again. Then again.

Then again.

Scream! Scream! Scream! Some part of her brain thinks, but his nails are digging into her throat, she can barely breathe, she can barely think, each crack of her head against the wall is a car crash, and she thinks stupidly of the handsome man in his car on TV, she thinks of the first she saw Vladimir, how tall and unbreakable and cruel he seemed, how he wiped the steaming blood on the back of his hand and let the husk of his victim drop at his feet and how he turned, slowly, to face her, how his eyes seemed to fill with the sight of her, the need of her, and how she felt the red flood rush though her, the deep warm red pushing the single word from her lips, Yes, until it became a pulse, an ache, and she moaned it, Yes, and he came to her, wrapped his arms around her and he kissed her.

He just kissed her.

She realizes he’s released her and she’s sitting on the floor, coughing.

Vlad is crouched halfway across the room, watching her. She sees that he’s a miserable heap of shakes and blood-red tears.

“Did it,” he sputters through his sobs, “did it ever occur to you that I could break your bones in twos and threes, that I could drain you to dust?” His shoulders tremble; he spits a curse in some ancient, foreign language. “I could have!” he says. “I can! But…” his voice cracks. He reaches toward her. “I can’t make you what I am,” he says. “I… love… you…”

Something turns inside her, like over-ripe food at a summer carnival. And even through the throb of her head and ache of her throat, she manages to say, “You know, I used to wonder what kind of man you used to be.”

His eyes lock on her.

“Now I know,” she says, and forces herself to swallow. “Get out.”

He doesn’t move.

She closes her eyes and draws a long, ragged breath. Then she staggers to her feet and looks down at him. “Get out,” she says. “Get out, you fucking faggot.” He stops shaking and stares at the floor but doesn’t move. She steps toward him. “Get out of my sight, you fucking dickless wimp.”

His jaw flexes, and she thinks for a moment he’s going to cry. She sees he’s searching for something, anything to say, and she feels a momentary twinge of pity.

“Just leave,” she says.

He turns, and is gone.

A sigh rattles out of her. She rubs her throat and stands at the window for a long time, looking out into the night.

Then our heroine is tearing through her apartment, wondering where she left her fucking cigarettes.

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Mysterium Lunae: A Requiem For The Invasion Of The Moon (Various Artists)

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Spooky compilation with tracks by Hawthonn, Burial Hex, SUTEKH HEXEN, Anji Cheung & English Heretic, Moon Mourning Earth, and TenHornedBeast.

Mysterium Lunae: A Requiem For The Invasion Of The Moon (Various Artists)

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FICTION: From DOOMTROOPERS, The Part When Gloriana Catches a Glimpse of Her Mother on the Ocean Floor

Episode 5

Aboard Apocalypso, Jasper and Negative and Ziff huddled transfixed over a monitor displaying a yellow dot that beeped ever earthward in an alarmingly sharp trajectory.

“Shit shit oh SHIT they’re coming in too steep!”

“Too fast,” Negative mumbled. “No chance.”

“Wrong, idiots,” Ziff said, feigning disaffection though his interest was keen. “They’re going to run out of ocean…”

The yellow dot went down beep beep beep…

Blur of fire, splash of crimson across the sky. The sphere shot long overhead like a finger stretching toward the distant horizon, reached the point where the ocean met the sky, and the hot sphere kissed the cold water in a massive eruption of spray and foam, kum-DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUSSH!

“Touch-DOWN!” Jasper howled.

“The term,” Ziff sneered, “is splashdown.”

“Bite me bitch,” Jasper snorted. “You sure it’s them?!”

“I’m sure it’s their Battlesuits, one can only assume it’s them!”

“Works for me.” Jasper swung around. “Helm! You got their cords?!”

“Aye, sir! Latitude four zero niner—”

“Save it, man,” Jasper snapped. “Let’s go get ‘em!”

Blue and white waves rose and fell, evaporated instantly against the burning shell of the sphere. The sky rumbled; there was a soft whisper of rain. The glowing sphere bobbed and lolled as coils of steam rose with a hiss.

Within, the scream of angels subsided. The electric fire withdrew. The fierce energy Gloriana had unleashed went shooting back inside her, a fury-driven host of phantom blades zooming at her clenched eyes—

Her eyes snapped open. Her pupils had returned, blue and cracked with a black hole at each center, eyes full of wonder, perhaps a little terror. She sucked air that wasn’t there.

The ocean rose and fell. The glowing skin of the sphere fluttered like the lashes of a sleepy infant, then vanished.

What remained of the Firing Chamber lay revealed as a massive black globe of Nytemare metal, cut and pockmarked with holes and severed sections where the sphere had ignited and sheared away everything beyond its fiery perimeter. And at once the black metal globe began to sink.

Water came surging into the Firing Chamber, water from every angle. Gloriana looked about, scarcely able to believe. This… this really is the surface of the ocean, right? We actually…

A wall of water surged, knocked her off her battleboots.

No time. Glori got to her knees in the fierce swirl of water, stabbed gloved thumbs into the underside of her helmet. The interior displays triple-flashed em release and there was an explosive blast of mini-charges at her neck. She wrenched the helmet up and off, Air! She panted. Her face was drenched with sweat. Her hair was a glossy blonde skullcap. She threw the helmet aside and splashed toward her friends. They lolled like mannequins made of driftwood in the frothy rush of seawater.

“Come on, Sasha! Time to go swimming!”

In a furious blur Gloriana ripped the Battlesuit from her staggering and semi-conscious friend. Bolts popped and broken plates flew as Gloriana peeled away layer after layer of reinforced armor until Sasha was down to her essentials and Gloriana slapped her twice, blurred stings across her face.

“Sash, wake up! Help Clive. Get his goddamn helmet off!”

The water was waist-high. Through the cut and severed sections the Atlantic sky was getting smaller, darker; their very heavy re-entry vehicle had a definite appointment at the bottom of the ocean. Glori turned, confirmed that Jack was awake and moving, slow and clumsy in the pummeling water, yet still reaching to blast his helmet clear from his neckbrace. Good. She grunted, reached down, hauled up Perry.

“Move it, trooper! The Edmund Fitzgerald is sinking, dude!”

She sheared Perry out of his armor even faster than she’d freed Sasha from her suit, mwaa-KRANG! and ka-KRENCH! and shum-rrakaarakka-RIIIIP! and when she was finished she gave him a good shake. “All hands on deck?!”

Perry’s head lolled, but his eyes focused. “Fuck yeah, Captain!”

“Ultra. Help Sasha with Clive, he’s way screwed up!”

Gloriana spun Perry around and shoved him toward Sasha. The water churned, chest-level. Sasha had successfully removed Clive’s helmet and upper armor. Perry grabbed at something Gloriana couldn’t see, then he half splashed, half swam to Sasha’s side, and together they began to tow the semi-conscious Clive toward the nearest opening. Glori turned to Jack—

Jack still hadn’t removed his helmet.

His gloved hands clawed desperately at his neck and jawbone, fingers splayed and pushing, pushing.

Damn it, and damn her! She’d forgotten; Jack’s Battlesuit was fucked!

She lunged toward him but a sudden canopy of water fell over her, smashed her under the surface with a hard slap of Atlantic blue. Roar of bubbles and crushing cold; the submerged chamber was thick with broken wreckage, wires and cables curling like eels.

Gloriana pushed through the freezing clutter with desperate strokes, boots and armor suddenly heavy like rocks lashed to her legs. She grimaced, knived through the hard water toward the blur that was Jack, and there was a blast of escaping pressure.

Jack ripped his helmet free. Even under the frigid water his face was gaunt and handsome and strong; his eyes locked with hers and he reached toward her, his lips split with defiant teeth. Glori seized his hand, pulled. She wrenched Jack up. They kicked furiously, they swam blind toward one of the submerged holes of the Firing Chamber, a blue circular window with a descending ceiling of black. Gloriana shoved Jack out before her. They surfaced amid broken gasps and sharp Atlantic waves, the lolling shadow of the sphere behind them.

Sasha and Perry splashed nearby and Clive coughed. The sky rumbled with thunder. The ocean swelled, lifted the troopers up, threatened to sweep them apart. Gloriana struggled to stay afloat in the dragging tug of the body armor. She forced her tired legs to kick and kick.

“Y-you—” Jack started, spurts of seawater dribbling from his mouth.

“No, you,” Gloriana said. She reached toward him, gripped his chestplate. “Get naked, man.” But it was far more difficult getting Jack out of his suit while she doggedly treaded water, waves slapping her repeatedly in the face, her head falling again and again under the surface. “Damn it! Shit!” She pressed both knuckles together, pushed her fingers through the seams and plated sections, then ripped the Battlesuit both up and out. She peeled Jack out of his armor even as she kept him from sinking like a stone, thinking without cessation I can do this I am Gloriana Blitz I can do anything

The final plates fell away. Jack was free of his suit. She pushed him off and he splashed away clumsily.

My turn, Gloriana thought, and she dug gloved fingers into the space between her reinforced collar and the pale skin of her throat, she was ready to tug with all that remained of her strength when Jack’s eyes turned sudden saucers and he lifted his bare arm out of the Atlantic chop and he spurted a warning that sounded like “GWOWY—!!”

Sasha screamed.

Behind her—

Gloriana had only removed her helmet.

She was still in full body armor.

She turned. The waters sucked past as a vast shadow fell. It was the looming hull of the Firing Chamber in its final gurgling plunge. The metal globe rolled over her like a giant black marble and the blunt edge of the hull struck her hard, the blow of a hammer to the bell of a cathedral. Gloriana wanted to cry out in pain and surprise but couldn’t because her mouth was full of water and everything was black and roaring and cold, massive weight pressing, pinning her limbs, forcing her down, no no but consciousness slipped…

Then she was sinking, arm over arm, a marionette cut from her strings and there was no light, just the roar in her ears, relentless, a river, a waterfall, the end of everything. And. It was. Okay. She thought. Beside her the sphere of metal spun slow and dreamlike toward the lush sandy bottom. Gloriana fell and fell in the black. She wanted… She wanted… Oh, it was okay. She’d pretty much done it, this wasn’t too terrible of an ending. The metal globe struck bottom with a thud and a deep reverberation, crunching coral and kelp as it rolled like a disgruntled giant, then settled with a deep hollow groan. Glori’s head tilted, lolled. And she hit the ocean floor as if she were a heavy metal puppet, sand rising in a soft plume.

She lay still.

She lay on her back, unmoving for long seconds, her eyes open.

Then she sat up.

Bubbles of air clustered at the corner of Gloriana’s mouth. She lifted her face, pale in the black and green, her short yellow hair flowing like a slow motion candle. Her lips parted. Strange, there was no need for air, no need to breathe. Glori looked around. It was midnight at the bottom of the ocean but still, she could see…

She saw the verdant submerged landscape with its rolling hills of sand, jutting crops of black rock, its fabulous plants. And now Glori smiled. It was beautiful. So quiet. The living Earth, still here, still alive. Her heart felt finally at peace.

A light approached. Bars of blue shot past a stalk of kelp, soft and incandescent. Something was burning, shimmering, a light in the dark. It was the glow of crystal, the shimmer of a diamond.

Gloriana frowned, tried to decipher what she was seeing: was it a chemical discharge, a piece of wreckage, a bit of the star she had rode down from the sky? The soft light came closer with soft definite steps, bare feet blue on the ocean floor. What—

Gloriana starred.

A woman with ice blue skin stood tall and regal at the far end of the oceanic plain.

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The tall woman at the bottom of the ocean wore a simple dress of gossamer and silk. Her long white hair flowed like wheat in a gentle wind. The woman’s eyes were ancient in a face resplendent with eternal youth and undying beauty, eyes that looked upon Gloriana with uncomplicated love. The woman held a trident in her right hand, a straight staff in her left.

Well done, the woman told Gloriana without speaking. The amber eyes were bottomless with affection. Now the real battle may begin

Gloriana wanted to ask, “Who.”

She wanted to plead, “Why.”

But there was a sudden pulse of static in her brain, the shriek of an alien frequency, her fatherhermotherherfatherhermotherherfatherhermother and Glori’s hands went to her head, teeth clenched hard in pain. And as quickly as it came the pain passed, slipped away. Glori shook herself, and the woman was gone.

The spot where the woman had stood was empty, a bare spot in a garden of kelp and coral and the disintergrating bones of a trillion fish.

Gloriana lowered her hands, lowered her eyes with… not regret. Nor disappointment. She didn’t have a word for it. It was a piece of her heart that had been missing for so long she had learned to accept its absence as a condition of existence. It’s all right, she told herself with only a little bitterness. The vision was gone. And now something else was coming.

A shadow fell like a sheet pulled over her face.

The waters pulsed with the thrum of a mighty engine.

With slow and sullen eyes, Gloriana looked up.

Apocalypso loomed above her, bow tipped toward the surface, straight shaft of the hull stretching long and powerful, distorted blur chopping at the stern.

Gloriana gazed up at her submarine, scarred ship of a hundred battles—and she realized there would be a thousand more battles to come. The submarine would be her shield and her lance, a sleek deadly chariot she would ride through darkness to victory. She would rally her soldiers. They would mend their wounds. Despite the spectre of radiation that promised nothing but inevitable death, they would stand at her side and together they would drive the enemy from their home. The wounded Earth would bloom again. Apocalypso. The submarine hung above her, waited like a sword ready for her hand. She would rise. She would fight. And she would win.

But now Gloriana’s lungs felt ready to burst.

It was time. She gripped her armored neckplate, grimaced, pulled. The neckplate broke with a muted snap. Layers of armor came free in a soft yet violent frenzy. Black steel and white flesh—the chestplate fell away. The nipples of her breasts were pink and swollen. Her long legs flashed pale as she pulled off the big heavy boots. At last she was free; Gloriana shoved upwards in a shaft of bubbles, bare feet flapping hard, bare arms and legs pumping as she swam with powerful strokes toward the waiting silhouette of her ship.

And the woman at the bottom of the ocean watched with sad eyes and a whisper of disapproval.

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Original art by Paul DiNovo and Virgil Finlay

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Well, Okay: MURDER HORNETS VS CORONAVIRUS

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