When I recently decided to tweet teasers for each story from Dig Two Graves, Vol. II, it didn’t occur to me to include my own story, “InPerson.” But I see no reason to let my modest inclinations have the day here. “InPerson” is my tale of revenge gone horribly wrong. When a man receives an InPerson call (think FaceTime) from his ex-wife, it becomes clear that she’s in serious trouble. Further investigation, however, reveals that there may be more—or less—to the woman’s apparent distress than meets the eye. One wrong-headed assumption too many leads to a terrifying and unfortunate conclusion.
One additional note: if you’re interested in seeing me read “InPerson,” you can watch a video of me doing that very thing on my YouTube channel, to which you are, of course, invited to subscribe.
Here, then, are the original teasers for the other stories in the Dig Two Graves, Vol. II anthology from Death’s Head Press, in the hopes that they will induce you to pick up a copy of the book and shock yourself silly.
Wesley Southard’s “Catalog”: asks the question, Why seek revenge against one enemy when you can go after three for no added charge? Unfortunately, the satisfaction of vengeance can be a chimera for the shortsighted.
Cameron Trost’s “It Starts with Insects”: Here’s a story where the worst bits are left for you to imagine. We all know what can become of the kid who rips the wings off of flies, but is it always worse than the alternative? You decide.
Gerri R. Gray’s “Ailurophobia”: A cat may have nine lives, but sometimes an army of them are more interested in death. Hope that you don’t become a target of the felines in this strange tale of assisted revenge.
Gary Power’s “Father of Lies”: Unfortunately for Frank Travis, we don’t always get to choose which dreams come true. And if this is the price for his past crimes, it makes you wonder about the penance for someone like Jeffrey Epstein.
Delphine Quinn’s “Impact”: Take this journey into paranoia and retribution if you dare, but remember that just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you. Oh, and do think twice before you dig that second grave.
M. Ennenbach’s “Movie Night”: Ah, there’s nothing quite like an evening in, enjoying a late-night movie on the tube ... unless the feature in question tells an uncomfortable story about justice being served this side of the grave.
Jack Bantry’s “Streaming Murder”: Reality TV takes on a new dimension as a band of punks sets out to defy karma, all for a little—you guessed it—revenge. Karma’s tenacious, though, so it’s not clear that their future is exactly bright.
Charlotte Platt’s “Party Tricks”: “Beware of revenge” isn’t the only life lesson on display here, for it is also important not to start fires you’re incapable of putting out—especially where the Devil’s concerned. Still, beware of revenge.
Cameron Kirk’s “The Writer”: Bad things happen to good people, and bad things happen to bad people. But sometimes those lines are blurred, even in the cut-and-dried morality of the Wild West. That’s when madness is a heartbeat away.
Mawr Gorshin’s “Violation”: Revenge can be an act of retribution or the self-inflicted outcome of cold-blooded brutality. Ken, Keith, and Kevin learn this lesson the hard way, but not in time for it to be of any real value to them.
Susan E. Abramski’s “Spider Lace”: Subjugation is a funny thing. On the one hand, it places the subjugator in a position of strength and power, but on the other, it opens him up to possible retaliation, maybe even to the impossible.
Mark Lumby’s “Into the Clouds”: All revenge is delicious, but the best kind reveals itself slowly. Just when the subject thinks his suffering is over, more is delivered. And not all pain comes from a blow. Some rides in on the clouds.
Lucas Milliron’s “Meat”: In Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” it’s the sound of a watch enveloped in cotton that unhinges the protagonist. Here it is a distinctive odor. The message is the same: a man of violence is his own worst enemy.
David L. Tamarin’s “What Did You Do to the Children?”: Somewhere on the character spectrum, between antihero and Antichrist, lies the dupe of this ugly little slash of gloom. Now you probably want to read it. So tell me, who’s the sicko?
Lori Tiron-Pandit’s “The Maiden of the Triangle”: Wherein we learn that 1) you may be able to put off fate, but not indefinitely; 2) one woman’s liberation is another’s servitude; and 3) it pays to know whose trees you’re cutting down.
G. Allen Wilbanks’s “Abandoned”: You may think you’ve put yourself in someone else’s shoes, but have you truly retraced the steps they’ve taken? David Ericson has. That’s how he knows that empathy is a gift, and sympathy the price.
Thomas Vaughn’s “The Tulpa”: It’s good to be the Pied Piper, but what happens when one of the children—or one of the rats—steals your pipe and, with it, your thunder? Tommy Velasco pays a dear price for an answer to that very question.
Sergio “ente per ente” Palumbo’s “The Ninja and the Night”: We all know that revenge is a dish best served cold, but this tale, set in feudal Japan, reminds us that covering our tracks is equally crucial. Enter the element of surprise.
Duane Bradley’s “Seymour Must Be Destroyed”: A pecker on the run, a woman who can’t be put down with bullets, and a truckload of Viagra. These are only some of the ingredients in a strange and vengeful recipe. Expect a secret weapon.
David Owain Hughes’s “For the Love of Shakespeare”: Blood may be thicker than water, but it flows just fine. Take Edgar and Edmund, for example. Models of brotherly closeness, on the one hand, but they have a problem only violence can solve.
Betty Rocksteady ’s “The Pain, the Heat, the Blood”: Once in a while, we all need a little help. But sometimes we find that there is no better ally than ourselves. This is certainly the case for the narrator of this haunted confession.