Authors: Ronald Kelly
Tags: #Horror, #Short Stories, #+IPAD, #+UNCHECKED, #+AA
Smashwords Edition published at Smashwords by
Copyright 2010 by Ronald Kelly
Foreword © 2009 by James Newman.
The Sick Stuff © 2009 by Ronald Kelly.
Diary © 1990 by Ronald Kelly First appeared
in Cemetery Dance Magazine #3.
House Warming © 1991 by Ronald Kelly First
appeared in Eldritch Tales#25.
Mass Appeal © 2009 by Ronald Kelly
Original to this collection
Pins and Needles © 2008 by Ronald Kelly
appeared online at
Old Hacker © 1990 by Ronald Kelly First
appeared in New Blood Magazine #7.
The Abduction © 2009 by Ronald Kelly
Original to this collection
Mojo Mama © 2009 by Ronald Kelly
to this collection.
Afterword © 2009 by Ronald Kelly.
This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment
only.This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other
people.If you would like to share this book with another person,
please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it
with.If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was
not purchased for your use only, then you should return to your
vendor of choice and purchase your own copy.Thank you for
respecting the hard work of this author
Novels & Novellas
Try any title from CROSSROAD PRESS -- use the
Coupon Code FIRSTBOOK for a one time 20% savings!We have a wide
variety of eBook and Audiobook titles available.Find us
Gonna get right to it, tell y'all about my
first encounter with Ron Kelly's fiction. An encounter that
almost never happened
(cue melodramatic music here:
Back in the early- to mid-nineties, I used to
frequent the horror section of my local Books-A-Million. This was
when the big franchise bookstores still
section, if anyone can remember
bygone era. Those were
the good ole' days -- as if I have to tell you -- for a kid like
myself, who devoured any and all horror literature, while
simultaneously harboring dreams of one day seeing his own name on a
few of those mass-market paperbacks.
Around that time, I remember seeing one title
that sat smack-dab in the middle of the horror section every time I
visited Books-A-Million. Like an old, friendly, familiar face, it
there. That book was Ronald Kelly's
I must have picked it up a hundred times, skimmed the synopsis on
the back. It sounded pretty cool. The picture on its cover depicted
the ominous black mouth of a cave; inside that rocky maw a
human-shaped figure hung upside down, wrapped tightly in a cocoon
of spider webs.
Problem was, I refused to buy this particular
book. I put it back on the shelf
every single time.
Why? Well, for one thing, my book-buying
budget was a meager one back then. It's not exactly a gargantuan
fund today. Since I had no choice but to be picky, it was
that went unread for the longest time by me, and I'm
here to tell you now what a fool I was.
I'm ashamed to say my reasons for returning
that novel to its place on the shelf again and again and again was
due to nothing more than a classic case of (literally)
book by its cover.
I'm a walkin', talkin' cliché, folks.
You see, because of that cover of Zebra
Books' 1994 paperback edition of
, I assumed for years
that this Ronald Kelly fellow's novel... was nothing more than a
blatant, second-rate rip-off of Stephen King's
No kidding. Simple as that. Pretty stupid,
Obviously, however, this story has a happy
ending. I wouldn't be here, writing this lil' intro, if it
Eventually, I came to my senses. I had read
just about everything in Books-A- Million's horror section (except
the Anne Rice novels), and I needed something new. So, better late
than never, I finally plopped down my hard-earned $4.50 (I know, it
sounds like crazy talk, but paperbacks really
than a five-spot once upon a time!). And, whaddaya know?
turned out to be not only anything
of King's massive tome about a
child-killing-spider-from-outer-space (in fact, the two had very
little in common, save for a bloodthirsty creature in a cave); it
proved to be one of my favorite horror novels of the 'nineties.
More importantly, it turned me on to a phenomenal writer of
Southern-fried horror who has since become not only one of my
greatest influences as a fellow storyteller of the macabre, but
also -- I am proud to say -- a damn fine friend.
Who woulda thunk it?
My rambling tale does have a point. I
promise. And that point is...
history does repeat itself (
I'm full of clichés tonight).
What do I mean by that?
Once again, I have misjudged. I've made
unfair assumptions, and I should have known better!
When Ron asked me to write a foreword to the
book you now hold in your hands, I balked a little, at first. Only
a little, mind you. And don't get me wrong -- I was very, very
honored. Yet... I couldn't help feeling a tad hesitant. Of course, I
didn't tell my good buddy Ron that I wasn't 100% keen on the idea
(although, I suppose he knows now!)
Thing is, I was
. Ron explained
to me that
The Sick Stuff
was a collection of "seven
disgusting tales... sorta (his) own personal
Sounds cool, right?
But I didn't
I didn't want
. Or hardcore
Whatever the kids are calling it these days.
Because that wasn't
Ron Kelly. It
wasn't what I knew. This didn't sound like the wonderfully moody,
dripping-with-Southern-atmosphere Ron Kelly fiction that I had
adored for the last fifteen years. I mean this is
we're talking about here, not Edward Lee (not that there's a damn
thing wrong with Lee -- I'm a huge fan).
You get the picture.
Once again, though, Ron proved me wrong.
Surprise! I read these stories -- tore through them in record time,
in fact, and found myself unable to turn the pages fast enough to
find out what atrocities would occur next -- and I wanted
And that's the mark of a truly great writer,
isn't it? When said writer can work outside of his "comfort zone",
if you will (I'd be willing to bet that the kind, soft-spoken,
church-going gent we're talking about now went
beyond his "comfort zone" with the stories contained herein), and
the results are still undeniably
. And they still
Which these stories are. And they most
Enjoy, folks. You're in for a treat. Of
course, that's a guarantee with
Meanwhile... Ron, old pal, I owe you an
... and you know what they
say about ASSUMING.
Now I find myself wondering what else Ron
might have up his sleeve. Lord knows my days of "judging a book by
its cover" are over and done with.
Hey, Ron... you've done Southern horror, "the
sick stuff", and even a bit o' sci-fi (
next? I'd sure love to see it. I'm
sure my nine-year-old would too. And if anybody could pull it off,
I'm sure you could...
Keep 'em coming. Meanwhile, I'll keep
reading. Anything and everything you write.
And when there's no new Ron Kelly to read,
while you're hard at work on your next one, I'll just crack open my
old, dog-eared copy of
for the two- or three-hundredth
time. And smile when I see your heartfelt, personalized inscription
inside that book I almost
Hendersonville, North Carolina
They want to know why I killed those people
in Tennessee. They want to know why a no-account bum like Jerry
Weller crossed paths with the All-American family and
systematically tortured, raped, and slaughtered them, one by
They seem very insistent for answers. But I
give them none. I only counter their questions with questions of my
Why did Satan drive me to commit such
Why did God allow such atrocities to take
They think they have me pegged. They brand me
a violent psychopath and spout their psychiatric crap, but they're
still missing the point. If they weren't so damned stupid, they
would be able to look into my eyes and see the squirming,
maggot-infested soul that lies decaying within.
You see, perversity is my forte.
It is normality that drives me insane.
My parents didn't tell me for a very long
time that I once had a twin brother. When they did, they only said
that he had died shortly after birth. I knew they were concealing
all the gory details. Eventually, they told me the whole story...
and, boy, was it a doozy!
It seems that there were once twin brothers
named Jerry and Jamie. Shortly after their arrival home from the
hospital, Mom and Dad went out for a night on the town, leaving the
little ones in the care of teenaged babysitter Caroline. An hour
later, Caroline's beatnik boyfriend, Rodney, showed up with a big
bag of goodies. There was much drinking and pot smoking and
airplane glue sniffing. Soon, Caroline and Rodney had gotten wildly
high and thought it would be incredibly funny to put little Jamie
in the kitchen oven. They chug-a-lugged vodka and reds as they
turned the flame to the max and cooked the squalling infant like a
Supposedly, I witnessed the whole thing, but
I don't remember. Hell, I was only three months old at the
Those freaking junkheads had the right idea,
but they made one mistake.
They baked the wrong gingerbread boy.
How about a nice bedtime story?
Once upon a time there was a clean-cut,
All-American family. They never fought with one another, they
attended church regularly, and lived by the Golden Rule. They lived
in a cozy, suburban home, drove a Volvo, and sent their children to
public school... just like