Keep watching right here for more info on my novel releases, Area 187; Almost Hell and Area 187; Almost Home from The Library of the Living Dead Press and a few upcoming audio fiction projects. Things have finally started to inch forward again on my novels after situational and unavoidable delays with the publisher, and if you keep watching here you'll be the first to know. Also, I've recently been added to the staff of the Witch's Hat blog and podcast, so be sure to check out my movie reviews both on the blog and in live, vibrant audio over at The Hat. Until then, here's a little diddy to keep things rolling. I hope you had a Merry Christmas and hope you have a most excellent New Year. - Author
“Where’s Dr. Harvey?” Luna asked as the short, balding man in a sport coat and tie walked into the room then closed and locked the door behind him.
“I’m Dr. Reynolds.” the little man said. The rest of the therapy group looked at one another in concern as the intruder simply walked through their circled chairs to take up what had been Dr. Robert Harvey’s customary seat among his patients.
“Where’s Dr. Harvey?” Luna repeated. This time her voice came out in a panicked rush, causing her ample bosom to rise and fall in rapid bursts and her bright green eyes to flare Manga-like. “I need to see Dr. Harvey!”
“Is Dr. Harvey sick?” Aaron asked while concern etched itself across his smooth, handsome, pale face.
“This isn’t a gym class, you idiot.” Gary growled at Aaron. “If your therapist is sick they don’t bring in a substitute.”
“Gghhnnr…” Timmy interjected as he tried to focus on the new man in the room.
“Let’s have some calm here, shall we?” Dr. Reynolds said without looking up from the yellow legal pad in his hands.
“Idiot?” Aaron shot back at Gary. “That’s big talk coming from a son of a bitch.” Gary let loose with a string of expletives and roared out of his chair in Aaron’s direction. Aaron started to get up to receive Gary’s charge but stopped short when Dr. Reynolds’s foot suddenly shot out, tripping the much larger and meaner Gary onto the thick carpet. Gary slid a foot or so before rolling over and practically leaping to his feet.
“I’m gonna kill you first!” Gary said to Reynolds. The doctor pulled his foot back beneath his chair and flipped over a page on his notepad.
“Sit down, Gary.” Reynolds said. The simple command seemed to take Gary aback for a moment before he stalked slowly to the doctor’s chair to lean menacingly over him.
“I barely tolerated Dr. Harvey. I don’t even know why the fuck you’re here. What’s to stop me from just tearing your fucking head off?” Gary said. This time Reynolds did look up from his notepad. The doctor sighed heavily then pulled a small, thin silver cylinder from his breast pocket and held it where Gary could see it. Gary took a step back and emitted a low, almost growling noise from deep within his throat.
“I said sit down, Gary.” Reynolds repeated. Gary shared his look of scorn with both Aaron and Reynolds before he stomped back to his seat and fell into it.
“That’s a good boy.” Aaron said. Before Gary could react to Aaron’s smugness, Reynolds reached inside his shirt and let the crucifix he wore around his neck ride atop his tie instead of beneath his shirt.
“No! No religious symbols of any kind are supposed to be displayed in group!” Luna said before Aaron could react. “This is supposed to be a nurturing, safe environment, free of religious symbols and judgments!”
“Uggrhmph kclrrg…” Timmy added. Dr. Reynolds slid the legal pad between his thigh and the chair arm then put away his jewelry before leaning back into his chair to regard the room.
“Dr. Harvey has taken a sabbatical… a sabbatical that this very group has made necessary.” Reynolds said. The members of the therapy group looked around at each other while Reynolds did the same to each of them. “He has explained to me in great detail the various conditions and issues that brought each of you to him and has asked me to take over your sessions.” The room was quiet for several moments before Aaron finally spoke up.
“Dr. Reynolds, we appreciate you stepping in for Dr. Harvey. But you have to see that we’re simply not… comfortable… sharing with a new therapist.” Aaron said.
“I was on the verge of a breakthrough!” Luna interrupted Aaron. “Where’s Dr. Harvey? I need to see Dr. Harvey!”
“Grsgrscaaak.” Timmy said. For reasons unknown, Timmy’s outburst was the catalyst for each member of the group to start talking at once. Reynolds let them go on for a few moments before loudly clearing his throat. The gentle signal for quiet went unheeded though and the group continued talking and arguing among themselves while they threw half-questions at Reynolds.
“If we could all calm ourselves and behave like rational adults…” Reynolds said. This had the opposite effect and even seemed to spurn the group on to new heights when Aaron and Gary got up from their chairs and once again started for each other. They stopped short just a few feet from each other though, and instead of coming to blows started hurling insults at each other like two playground bullies trying to see who would win the monkey bars as their territory.
“People… we all need to remember why we’re here, and that these outbursts aren’t helping…” Reynolds said.
“I must have Dr. Harvey!” Luna screeched as she too came up out of her seat and flew towards Dr. Reynolds. Her hands were stretched out before her, her lacquered nails like tiny poisoned spears as they shot towards the psychiatrist. Reynolds ducked low into his chair and Luna sailed over him, the look of rage and hate turning suddenly to cartoonish confusion as she slammed against the bookshelf behind Reynolds. Volumes and tomes were still raining down on her as Reynolds stood and spun on the room.
“Listen up you bloated sacks of testicular puss!” Reynolds said. His voice boomed through the room, reverberating off the walls, the floor and even the group members. Gary winced and cupped the ear pointing towards the doctor as Luna separated herself from the books that had piled atop her and got to her feet. Her chest heaved and her eyes turned red as she took a step towards Reynolds and let out a shriek of rage. Reynolds pulled a small bottle from his jacket pocket and flicked his wrist towards the woman before she could take another step then turned his back on her as her fit of seething anger turned into moans of pain.
“No holy relics! We all agreed!” Luna said from behind the doctor as the holy water burned tiny blisters into her skin where they’d landed.
“Dr. Harvey agreed to that.” Reynolds said. His voice had taken on a hard, cold edge and eyes that had at first appeared soft and haggard to the group now narrowed to decidedly angry slits.
“You…” Luna started again. Reynolds flicked the bottle again, this time removing his thumb completely from the opening to give her a good dose of the blessed water. Luna slammed her back against the bookcase to avoid the stuff, smashing her head against the heavy wood but at least avoiding the worst of the spray.
“The power of Christ compels you, you Satan-loving excuse for a cock-hungry whore.” Reynolds said.
“You can’t…” Aaron said as he advanced on the doctor.
“Oh! You want some of this too, do ya?” Reynolds said as he spun and held the bottle out towards Aaron. The man actually hissed before backing off a step, revealing the points of his small yet obvious fangs. “Now, you are all going to sit the fuck down so we can get your shit together!”
“That water don’t mean shit to me!” Gary said. Without a word, Reynolds pulled a Colt automatic from beneath his jacket and fired. Gary’s foot didn’t even slow the bullet as it burned through to bury itself in the wooden floor. Gary howled… literally howled… before stumbling backwards into his chair. He drew his foot up into his lap and started pulling off his boot as Reynolds swept the room with his weapons.
“Now, you miserable sacks of human excrement, I said sit the fuck down!” Reynolds said. Timmy simply sat in his chair, taking in the scene as the rest of the group regained their seats and stared at their new doctor with wounded expressions.
“You didn’t have to shoot me, asshole!” Gary growled.
“Yes, Gary. Yes I did have to shoot you. Do you know why, Gary? Do you know why I had to shoot you?” Reynolds asked. Gary opened his mouth but Reynolds kept going. “There’s a couple a reasons why I had to shoot you. First you need to blame your mama cause she didn’t teach you any better manners. That’s all right though, Gary, cause if you try that again I’m gonna go fuck your mama and your sister’s gonna lick my asshole while I do it. You got me, fleabag? One more outburst from you and that’s just how it’s gonna happen. Do I make myself clear to you? Are you God-damn hearing me you God-damn mongrel?” Gary’s face contorted with rage, but when his mouth opened Reynolds covered the distance between them with surprising speed and rammed the barrel between Gary’s rapidly-expanding jaws. “You better belay that shit! You better just calm yourself right the fuck down before I make like Old Yeller and blow out the back of your fucking skull! Do you read me, furball? Huh? Am I getting through that mange-spotted hide of yours?”
“Dr. Reynolds, please…” Aaron said.
“And you, you poor misunderstood God-damn crybaby…” Reynolds stopped talking suddenly and just shook his head. He pulled the gun from Gary’s mouth and walked to the center of the group’s circle. “You people like Dr. Harvey so much, huh? You think he’s just the savior of your fucked-up existences, don’t you? Well let me tell you a little something; Dr. Harvey is spending some time up-state, in a nice, quiet place where he can try to screw his head back on tight again after dealing with you miserable pukes!”
“But… but Dr. Harvey is the only one that’s ever been able to help me. I’m going to lose Chad if Dr. Harvey doesn’t finish my therapy. I don’t have the time to start over with a new therapist. It happened again! I have to stop doing this before I lose Chad, and I can’t lose Chad! I just can’t!” Luna said.
“Me me me…” Reynolds said to Luna while he shook his head in disgust. “That’s all it comes down to, and that’s why Doc Harvey’s under heavy sedation and drooling all over the orderlies. You people dumped all your bullshit problems on the man so much and so long that he just couldn’t handle it anymore.”
“He’s our therapist. That’s his job.” Aaron said.
“He’s a human therapist.” Reynolds said. “He wasn’t prepared to deal with the heads you people brought to the table. But did any of you have the basic human compassion to realize the day and night calls, the forced sessions, the constant need for validation… you just didn’t care what it did to the man. As long as you pieces of shit were getting what you needed from him it didn’t matter to you, now did it?”
“Where’s Colonel Parks?” Aaron said. “I want to see Parks. This wasn’t part of the deal…”
“Colonel Parks has been reassigned.” Reynolds said.
“We all volunteered to be studied. Counseling was part of the deal. We don’t have to be here.” Luna said.
“Didn’t I tell you to sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up?” Reynolds said to Luna.
“I refuse to be treated like this! I am…” Luna started.
“You are nothing!” Reynolds said as he grabbed the seat he’d been using and threw it across the floor before advancing on her. “You are a disease! You are a cancer on the body of Man! You are a worthless piece of maggot-ridden garbage! You are the only piece of rotting pussy I have ever met that could even fuck up a wet dream!” Less than a foot of empty space stood between Reynolds and Luna now. Luna’s lips screwed into a snarl as she raised her hand towards Reynold’s chest. Reynolds didn’t wait for her to make contact and instead grabbed her wrist and twisted it counter clockwise. The suddenness and force of the movement spun Luna in a half-circle until Reynolds had her arm jammed into the small of her back. A violent shove then sent her lithe form hurtling across the room until she crashed into her own chair.
“I’m going to eat your soul…” Luna said as she spun around to face him.
“And if you try that shit again I’m gonna dip my wick in holy water and skull-fuck you until your tits melt off.” Reynolds said. “I’ve got Christ in my heart and a stripper in my bed, you netherworld slut. You’ve got nothing to work with here.” Luna didn’t charge the doctor again, just simply slumped down into her chair and rubbed at a few of the angry spots that hadn’t yet healed from Reynold’s first use of the holy water.
“This is supposed to help us?” Gary said. “You attacking us, violating every rule of our group and going back on the deal we made with the military… this is supposed to help us?”
“Yes it is, you little fucking leech.” Reynolds said.
“Hrrnghaaa.” Timmy said from his chair.
“That’s probably the most intelligent thing that any of you have had to say so far.” Reynolds said.
“Dr. Reynolds… what exactly are your qualifications? What medical schools did you attend? How long have you been a psychiatrist?” Aaron asked. His eyes were glinting now. Not the hellish red glow that Luna had displayed, but just enough to cast the rest of his face in an eerie yet somehow flattering glow.
“Turn off the headlights. I’m not some teenage necrophiliac. As for my qualifications, I’m a highly regarded expert in the field of straightening up little pukes that think they’re the center of the God-damn universe.” Reynolds said.
“That’s it, the deal’s off!” Gary said. “You get Parks’s replacement in here right now or so help me I’ll slaughter you then blow the lid off this whole fucking program!”
“That sounds like something a man that wants to get shot in the other foot would say.” Reynolds said.
“You do know what we could do to you, don’t you?” Aaron asked. Timmy grumbled as the rest nodded towards Reynolds.
“Oh, I know all about you people. And that’s exactly why I’m here. This is the last group session, cause I’m gonna solve all your piddly little fucking defects right here and now.” Reynolds said.
“And what makes you think you can do that?” Luna asked.
“Because none of you actually have any problems, you fucking morons!” Reynolds said. “Now, let’s look at you, Luna. Pretty little Luna… got a little problem with sex, don’t ya? A little nymphomania that keeps you from…” Reynolds snatched up his legal pad and flipped through a few pages. “…progressing in a monogamous relationship.” The last few words he said in a cold, robotic manner.
“If I don’t talk to Dr. Harvey I’m going to lose Chad…” Luna screeched again.
“There is no Chad you idiot!” Reynolds barked back. “If you were some bar whore somewhere I’d tell ya to close your legs and buy a vibrator, but you’re not, are ya? You’re a God damned succubus! Fucking men is what you do! It’s the only thing you do!”
“It’s not the only thing…” Luna said softly in her defense.
“Yes it is!” Reynolds said. “You don’t have nymphomania, you’re just hungry you stupid slut! And you know how I know that Chad isn’t real? It’s cause you live right here with all these other pukes! You’re here… you’re all here… cause you got caught and agreed to be studied instead of getting exorcised or staked or whatever the hell else it is we humans normally do to you beasties.”
“But I want to change!” Luna said.
“You can’t change! None of ya can! You are what you are. Luna, you’re a netherworld whore that fucks men’s souls out of them. You’re here because you prove that God and the devil and Baby Jeebus are real things. And you, Gary, you’re here because you prove that some superstitions are real things. Now I hate werewolves, but I hate cats more so I’ll give you a pass here. You don’t have anger management issues… you’re a god-damn wolf, boy. Pretty simple, huh? Problem solved.” Reynolds said.
“I didn’t want to be part of this pansy group anyway…” Gary growled as he massaged his wounded foot.
“And you, Mr. Oh-poor-pity-me-I’m-a-vampire-but-let’s-fuck-anyway…” Reynolds said to Aaron. The vampire looked up at him with a wounded expression. “Jesus H. Christ boy but you make me sick! Eternal life, fucking all the barely-legal pussy you want and you’re sittin’ in here lamenting and bitchin about being a vampire. And don’t you start all that sparkly bullshit in here. There’s other vampires, you know? The project could get another one in here real easy.”
“I don’t want to harm anyone…” Aaron said.
“Yeah you do, cause like Satan’s whore over there it’s what you do! Don’t you people get it? You don’t have mental conditions or anger management issues. You just can’t accept what you are and get the fuck on with it. Well I’m here to tell you this bullshit stops here. Attack a guard once in awhile, seduce a janitor just coming through and mopping up the cell block at night. Turn into a bat sometime.”
“Vampires can’t turn into bats. It’s a common misconcep…” Aaron started.
“Shut the fuck up!” Reynolds said, annunciating each word clearly, precisely and loudly enough to be felt by all in the room. “I’m trying to make a point here!” Timmy growled and sighed from his chair at that and seemed to nod sagely at Reynolds’s words. “Now, you people are gonna march back to your wing, and you’re all gonna be good little boys and girls while you do it. Tests will commence at 0500 hours tomorrow morning, so I suggest you all get some beauty sleep.”
“I don’t sleep at night…” Aaron started.
“Boy, one more word outta you and I’m gonna ram a wooden stake up your ass and then plant one in your chest. You read me, son? Are my words getting through to you?” Reynolds said. Aaron swallowed hard more from reflex than from need and nodded. “Good. Now all of you get up out of here and get outta my sight.”
“What about Timmy? Doesn’t he get slammed, too?” Luna asked. Reynolds turned to regard the grey-mottled, rotting corpse in the chair. Timmy locked eyes with him and moaned softly. Reynolds leveled the pistol and fired, sending one of the silver bullets it contained through the zombie’s forehead. The dim light in Timmy’s eyes died out as the back of his skull exploded.
“We got more zombies in the basement. Besides, it was the least I could do for the poor bastard after all this time forced to sit in a room and listen to all you pussies whine and bitch.” Reynolds said as he waved the gun towards the door. “There’s a contingent of guards waiting for you. Sleep tight, you fucking pansies. I’ll be seeing you in the morning.”
“You? You’re Col. Parks’s replacement?” Aaron asked.
“Yeah…” Reynolds said with a smile, “…ain’t life a bitch?”
“Do you think this was the right approach?” Col. Cheavers asked as he and Capt. Warner watched the various supernatural creatures file out of the room on the CCTV screen.
“Sir, we’ve been through four therapists now. It's clear that approach isn't working.” Warner said.
“Yes, but they wanted this therapy. It was a bargaining chip for their cooperation so we could study them. I think Luna was making some real progress under Dr. Harvey.” Cheavers said. Warner rolled his eyes while the Colonel was occupied with the monitor.
“Gunny Reynolds is the best of the best, sir. He’ll make sure they stay in line.” Warner said. Cheavers tapped a pen against his small notepad for a moment before he jotted down a few notes then slipped it into the inside pocket of his dress green uniform.
“A bit heavy-handed, isn’t he?” the Army officer said as he picked up a manila folder and flipped through it. “Reynolds isn’t a psychiatrist. He’s not even a therapist.”
“No sir, he is not.” Warner said as Cheavers continued flipping through the dossier.
“He’s… this man isn’t even an officer!” Cheavers said.
“No sir, he isn’t.” Warner agreed.
“Then just what the hell makes you jarheads think he’s the man for this?” Cheavers asked.
“Sir, Gunnery Sergeant Reynolds did two tours of Force Recon and has since turned thousands of miserable excuses for men into Marines for more than twenty years. I think he’ll be more than capable of keeping this lot in line.”
...just write, damn it. - Author