One Hand Screaming by Mark Leslie

One Hand Screaming

byMark Leslie

Paperback | September 30, 2004

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A bookstore that hides more than dusty old tomes among its shelves . . . a phantom limb that can reach into the next world . . . a comic that colors lives with terror . . . graves unable to hold their content . . . a collector of haunted artifacts who gets more than he bargains for . . . a deserted northern highway that brings back a man's worst childhood fears . . . a multitude of unleashed horrors on All Hallows Eve . . . an encounter with the bogeyman . . . and more . . .This collection of chilling fiction and disturbing poetry from the dark mind of Mark Leslie includes previously published award nominees along side original works.

About The Author

Mark Leslie is an Aurora nominated author and editor who lives in Hamilton with his wife and son. He is currently editing the North of Infinity science fiction anthology series for Mosaic Press.

Details & Specs

Title:One Hand ScreamingFormat:PaperbackDimensions:160 pages, 5.51 × 8.5 × 0.37 inPublished:September 30, 2004Publisher:Stark PublishingLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0973568801

ISBN - 13:9780973568806

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From the Author

One Hand Screaming explores my journey into the unknown and dealing with my very real fear of the dark. At a basic level, it documents the early evolution of a writer cursed to churn out morbid musings, spin dark tales that question the ideas of evil and of sanity. It is a collection of fiction and poetry, but also contains a series of story notes that are designed to give the reader the "story behind the story" for each of the pieces within. The goal was to create a collection that was chilling and intriguing while offering insights into the mind of someone who has been compelled to write macabre tales.

Read from the Book

From "Phantom Mitch"EVENTHOUGH he no longer had his left arm, Barry could still feel an itch between thethumb and index finger of his non-existent left hand. I believe they call it the phantom itch.Butthat was only the beginning.SometimesBarry would lie in bed, still half asleep, and feel a hand take his phantom leftone and hold it reassuringly.  He'dsit up and sense some sort of presence in the room with him, but the feelingwould quickly fade.  That, more thanthe itch, was making him crazy.  Ifonly he could touch her back.Her? Did I say her?  Then I'dbetter explain.Thepresence Barry felt was that of his recently departed wife, Michelle — knownas Mitch to Barry and close friends, like me. He was sure it was her.  Andif I was willing to believe that he experienced a phantom itch as well as somesort of phantom hand touching his, why shouldn't I believe that he somehow knewit was the phantom hand of his dead wife?From "Erratic Cycles"CHARLESDEAN Webster, attorney at law, sat very still in his ‘89 Toyota Tercel,frustrated over his predicament.  Something— he had no idea what — had happened to his car. First there had been smoking and hissing and then the car had stoppedrunning.  That was the extent of hisknowledge about what was wrong with his car. He was a lawyer, not a mechanic.Dammit Jim, I’m a lawyer, not a mechanic.Helooked at his watch, taking his eyes off of the forest for only a very shorttime.  It was a quarter past nine. As he lifted his head to look down the barren stretch of Highway 144, hecaught the glare of the setting sun in his rearview mirror.“Damn!”Heslammed a fist against the dash and then sat back once more and stared out thebug splattered windshield at the deserted highway.Whyme? he asked, and was quick to find an answer.Why not you?Thiswas going to be your big case, your first major success, your big break. This was going to be the case that not only brought you a handsome sumbut spread your name across the country.  Afterwinning this one, you were finally going to be someone.Sowhy not you?  If you continue tobelieve such stupid glorified dreams, then why not you? Face the facts, schmuck: This is just another case.And,being just another case, it had been nothing but a pain in the ass from day one. Getting stranded on a lonely highway somewhere between Sudbury and Timmins was just par for the course.Helooked at his watch again, but only a minute had passed since he’d lastchecked it.  His eyes quicklyreturned to the wall of forest which ran never-ending along both sides of thehighway.  He couldn’t shake thefeeling that something was watching him from the forest.No,not something, he corrected himself.The Bush People.From "But Once A Year"WHENTHE rotting corpse of Ted Winters stumbled into Gas‘N Stuff, the little entrance bell tinkled and Harry thought he was eithergoing to faint or laugh.Buthe did neither.Stunned,he watched it lurch toward the front counter with one flesh-gnarled fist raisedto the cigarette display.“Isthat really you, Ted?”  The wordescaped Harry’s lips before he realized he was speaking. What a stupid thing to say to a corpse, he thought. But then again, what is the smart thing to say to the corpse of a dearfriend?Tenminutes ago, as he sat there in the deserted convenience store and gas barlocated across the highway from the Eastview Cemetery, Harry’s worst fear had finally come true. While sipping from his mug of bitter, cooling coffee, Harry couldn’tbelieve what he’d seen through the window.Therewas this figure, walking through the fog among the tombstones across thehighway.  He’d thought, what foolwould take a short cut through the cemetery after midnight on Halloween?Then,as the figure stumbled to the cemetery fence and shakily climbed it, Harryrecognized the fool.  It was TedWinters, a friend who had died eight months earlier, and who’d been buried inthat very cemetery.Bythe time memories of his dead friend, of the funeral services, and of theintense period of grief he’d experienced had filtered back through Harry’smind, the corpse had made its way across the highway and entered Gas‘N Stuff. From "Treats"THOUGHTHE ringing of the doorbell continued to echo through the house, Percy sat alonein the dark, his arms folded across his chest, and refused to answer the door."You'renot getting any treats from me," he mumbled, shifting to get morecomfortable in the overstuffed chair.  Whenthe ringing ceased he heard some grumbles from outside, then the sounds of thekids clambering down the porch steps on their way to beg at other houses forcandy and goodies.  As they walkedaway from the house he could see their dark silhouettes moving along thewalkway.Lastyear, he'd yelled out: "Bugger off!" But that only alerted them to the fact that he was home, and they peltedhis windows with eggs and tomatoes.Butnot this year – this year he decided to sit in the dark, wait them out andwatch.  No treats. No tricks.Whyshould he give those snot-nosed little brats any treats? What did they ever do for him besides trample his petunias or put theoccasional baseball through one of his windows? And if that weren't enough, they were spreading rumours about crazy oldPercy who lived alone in that huge house, giving it to the corpse of his deadwife every night.Atthat thought, Percy decided it might be a good idea to go check in on Bertha. He got up from the armchair and moved through the dark out of the studyand into the hall.  The stairscreaked beneath his feet as he climbed, mocking the unheard creaking of his verybones as he moved.Thesmell hit him most powerfully, as it always did, at the top of the stairs. Sure, it reached into every corner of his home, permeated every moleculeof the air inside his house, but it always seemed worse at the very top of thestairs.

Table of Contents

Silent Screams:A note from the author        6

The Sound of One Man Screaming:Stories

Browsers         9

Distractions         17

From Out of theNight         25

Curt Cries in the Night:Short short stories and poems

NervousTwitching         33

The Bogeyman Can        35

Almost         39

The Sound of One ManScreaming         42

Frost AfterMidnight         43

With Apologies to E.P.        43

There Is A Low & FearfulCry         44

Blood Dreams         45

Wailin’ Jenny        45

Holiday Demons        46

The Sound of Clapping:Award nominees/special mentionstories

Phantom Mitch         48

Erratic Cycles        53

Echoes in the Night:More stories

Requiem         64

That Old Silk Hat TheyFound         77

Ides of March         83

Wind Whistling Through Gutted Pumpkins:Halloween stories

But Once A Year        88

Treats         95

Tricky Treater        103

Two Hands Clapping:Stories written with others

Til Death Do Us Part? (with JohnStrickland)         112

It Creeps Up On You (with Carol Weekes)        122

Noises Off: Behindthe screams        135

 

From Our Editors

An exciting new collection of chilling tales, certain to send a chill down the spine of even the most seasoned horror fan.

Editorial Reviews

"In this unique collection of dark tales, Mark Leslie brings an energy and freshness to the challenging realm of short story telling which lovers of the form will savor forever. Bravo, Mark." - Sean Costello, author of SANDMAN"Mark Leslie is a writer with a bright, bright future. He can move from urban fantasy to magic realism, from hard science fiction to dark psychological horror with apparent ease. His stories are well written, skillfully told, and satisfyingly good to the last word."- Edo van Belkom, author of BLOOD ROAD"Prepare to be haunted by a master of suspense. Leslie paints his characters with compassion, then sends a chill down the spine. Highly recommended." - Julie E. Czerneda, author of HIDDEN IN SIGHT"Mark Leslie is an exciting new voice in Canadian fiction, and sure to be one of the SF stars of tomorrow. He's a wonderful writer, and a joy to read." - Robert J. Sawyer, author of HOMINIDS"Mark Leslie's horror is reminiscent of the old-time story tellers, those guys who cared about plot, and were pretty good at building a creepy tale. If there's a dark corner, Leslie will draw you to it, even against your will." - Nancy Kilpatrick, author of THE POWER OF THE BLOOD series, ETERNAL CITY & THE GOTH BIBLE