Authors: Todd Russell
Scream if you hate reading these notices.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead or undead, business establishments, cemeteries, carnivals, events or locales is coincidental.
Copyright © 2010 Todd Russell
All rights reserved.
Also available in paperback
About Mental Shrillness
The Mental Shrillness ward will shock with six twist ending horror tales:
Memorial Day Descent
- experience a showdown between an old mansion and a soldier's painful, recurring memories. A first place story content winner.
Pains in the Glass
- Tim and Wanda love each other but neither sees the cracks in their flawed marriage looking glass. Today is the day one learns of betrayal so powerful that it will shatter, cut and bleed the other to pieces.
Dead Warmed Over
- Can a tortured man love his wife too much? Ben's intense love for wife Jackie is realized in a haunted bathtub. Another first place contest winner.
Falling The Bobbitt Way
- Tracy and John's sweet marriage vow warps into sinister sadomasochism. Find out if they can break the vow and ever be the same.
- GAZE upon an unmoving glass eye compelling its host to entertain self-mutilation tendencies. WATCH as Madison tries to save Killroy in the dark, dirty alley from the glint of a malevolent mugger's blade. STARE helpless as the cold steel and glass eye attempt to complete a shocking mission.
- There are things Damon Brooks wishes he could change about his life. He thinks he has it bad until a dying, misshapen creature shows him that the other side wants much more to change their deaths. Prepare for a nightmarish struggle at a carnival between good and evil.
At the end of Mental Shrillness author's notes are provided for readers interested in each story's history and what motivated the author to pen these strange, dark tales.
- Includes four additional stories written during the same era:
The Clock Called Fate
$$$ Knowledge and Power $$$
Father Knows Winners Best
- exclusive story available only in this e-book edition
Other books by Todd Russell
is coming September 29, 2011 - debut psychological thriller / horror novel
The first two chapters are included at the end of this e-book edition of Mental Shrillness.
Connect with Todd Russell Online
Smashwords Author Page
Goodreads Author Page
A world without you
would bring much mental shrillness
Lewis hadn't seen Dansbury or Walker since that fateful day in 'Nam 1968.
The mansion belonged to an eccentric name Sayer. Lewis had received a bizarre email from someone named WARSONG24U (claiming to be Sayer's distant relative), telling him to pack, leave his normalcy in Vancouver BC and drive south to a town named Medina, north of Bellingham, Washington. Today, Memorial Day, he was to drive up a remote steep mountainside. At precisely midnight he should enter the vacant, ramshackle dwelling. WAR promised Lewis would be able to vanquish his demons, if he descended the staircase in the basement. There Lewis could find the closure he desperately sought. WAR knew too much to be lying.
He stood, flashlight in hand, mouth dry staring down the stairwell. It spiraled into the void. Where in god's name was this place? He started the descent, careful of his footing. The draft chilled his flesh through his heavy sweater and jacket. The light shone on the next set of stairs. Twenty feet. Fifty. Seventy-five.
A weird smell of wild rice tickled his nose. He saw the eyes of a Viet Cong boy name Lao, telling Walker and him to get their "Shooshine". His teeth already yellowed at such a young age. Walker stepping up to the chair and then sitting. The boy saying he had to go get more shine, leaving that brown box. Walker laughing and singing some Beatles song.
Descending deeper...the air cold and biting his ears...a sound of bats flapping in the blackness...that brown box in Nam lucid in Lewis's eyes...sitting there waiting and Walker staring at him and suddenly screaming, "Run, Lewis, Run!"
And knowing what was in that box...that box filled with blood, sinew and brain of other foolish American soldiers. Those idiots here fighting an unknown cause for an uncaring country. Lewis grabbed the box and threw it out the window before it stole their souls. BANG!
...descending...colder...deeeeeperrrrr...there was something down here with Lewis and a smile flitted across his face. Black and frigid and somehow his . . .friend. Deeper. Two-hundred feet, and the light shone on more spiraling stairs. He was in Heaven. Finding closure. How pleasurable...deeper....deeper...more bats flapping and shrieking past his ears.
Then there was Dansbury, laughing with him inside that foxhole. Telling him jokes all the time, "You know the story about the guy..." Dansbury knew all the jokes and was an avid Hendrix fan. He told Dansbury to let him scout the next area. To stay in the hole and cover him. Dansbury waited, because he had a high school sweetie waiting for him and he'd even shown his best friend, Lewis Thames, a nude pic. So Dansbury went ahead, rifle drawn, and there was this clever trap of spikes that he spotted. Saved his buddy from impaling his flesh like the other two skeletons in the ghoulish hole. Dansbury even had tears in his eyes! "Thank you, buddy."
...Descending...deeper...arctic (Lewis shivered and blew smoke rings with his breath) No bats this deep. His ears starting popping from the depth change. The light shone on green slime on the slick wet concrete.
...deeper...freeeeezzzing...Lewis could barely move now as he heard the voices cut through the wind.
"Shooshine! SHOO . . Shine." laughed Walker. Lewis suddenly felt very wrong as he shone the light on the walls which were no longer black empty voids, but white teeth closing in. He looked back up the stairway and it spiraled forever into the pinhole of light.
"You know the story about the guy..." Dansbury's monotone bounced off the encroaching walls. Lewis turned and started running up the stairs. He threw his backpack, the grating of the walls converging, suffocating his existence. He could see the light above growing as he drew closer—"...who lived and his friends who didn't?"
Sweat poured off Lewis's face as he climbed until he fell...the bomb
gone off, the trap
sprung, and Lewis would face just one more day. Forever.
Wanda removed the tiny shard of glass poking from her hand after hanging up the phone.
Her mother had called and said her father had been sleeping around for years. She'd lamented to Wanda for almost two hours, apparently knowing about the indiscretions for over twenty years but finally accepting the inevitable end. Wanda kept telling herself how relieved she was that Tim loved her so much and would never hurt her that way.
"See you in a week, babe," Tim said, melding his mouth with hers, tongues wriggling for position. "What's up with the hand? Ouch."
"Don't know. Just there all of a sudden. Must have picked it up from the counter." She washed her hand under cool water and bandaged the tiny slit. She helped Tim take his things to the door. Working as a computer salesman, he was always entertaining and on the road, his territory was the Northwest. Tim was worried she'd be bored while he was gone. She told him that her best friend, Beth, would keep her company.
The next day at 8 AM, the phone woke Wanda with a start.
"Is Tim there?" a soft female voice asked.
"Jerianne from Phoenix. Tim said he was coming by." A stab of pain racked Wanda's right hand. She looked down and saw two longer pieces of glass and dark red oozing from her hand. She winced, hanging the phone up. She went to the bathroom and used more cool water and Band-Aids. Was Jerianne a client? Wanda figured that must be it. Why didn't she ask Jerianne?
More shards of glass showed up throughout the day. From her back she removed an inch long section. She almost called Dr. Sears, but hung up the phone, not wanting to sound crazy.
But as she stared at the phone, she felt hot beads roll down her neck. She went to the mirror and saw a long slice of glass protruding from her neck. She tried to remove it with tweezers, but it opened her flesh further and more blood rained.
The phone rang again. She answered it and it was "Polly" from Billings, Montana. Wanda found out that "Polly" was no client and then felt more twinges of pain. She went to the mirror and in horror saw blood dripping down her face. She grabbed for the phone and started to dial.
"Good afternoon, Dr. Sears office?"
She opened her mouth and nothing would come out. Turning to the mirror she saw the longest piece of glass penetrated where her voice box would have been. Trembling, she dropped the phone and went to the door. She put her hand on the knob and stopped at the doorbell's clanging.
Peeking through the eyehole, she saw Beth outside. She started to open the door and then froze.
"Wanda, I need to talk to you," Beth said, her voice muffled. "I know you probably don't want to talk to me. Tim told me this morning that. . ."
Blood coursed down Wanda's thighs, back, stomach, breasts, neck. Little and big pieces of glass poking everywhere. She turned the knob and pulled it inward. HELP ME, she thought
". . . he and I are finished. I'm so sorry I did this to you—" Beth stopped and stared at the shambling, dripping horror. She backpedaled, screaming out of the walkway. She would never share with a soul the ghastliness she viewed that searing August day.