“I must have redemption,” Sophia assured herself. “With this match, I am reborn.” As she dropped the burning match onto the floor, the gasoline went up into flames and quickly spread over her body.
The pain crept in and rapidly faded. The fire began to seep into her skin until it subsided, leaving only the room ablaze. She walked out of the abandoned house as the flames slowly started to appear from the rooftop.
Walking home, she was approached by a man in a car that stopped beside her and motioned her over.
“You need a ride home, honey?”
She looked at the stranger, and her anger immediately started boiling up.
“It’s ok; I know your parents. You live on Conner Street, don’t you.” He smiled and opened the passenger door.
“You know my parents?” She asked as she climbed in.
“Yeah, Bill and Debbie, right?”
Once she settled into the seat, her mind relaxed and started seeing the possibilities. “Then, you know what these are.” She pointed at the burn marks on her arm.
“Sure, your parents shouldn’t do that to you, but you probably deserve it sometimes.” With that, she grabbed his hand tightly and closed her eyes. When she opened them, he had burst into flames and was stumbling out of the car.
She exited her side and watched as a crowd of people came running up. They stood back from the pile of melting flesh and never noticed her walking away.
Once again heading home, she could not wait for her parents to come into her room.
Lilly ran out the backdoor and over to the nearest house, which was her grandmother’s. Pounding on the door, she screamed, “Call 911.”
While the police searched her house, Lilly sat sobbing in her grandma’s kitchen, reeling from the fact that a gunman had just killed her mom.
“What did you see?” Detective Wasmuth was asking her.
“I was asleep.” Her hands were wet from wiping the tears away, “and I heard two loud pops. I got up and saw a figure running out of my parents’ room toward the front of the house, so I ran out the back over here.”
Another officer came in and pulled the detective aside for a moment.
“Well, Lilly, can you explain why we just found a gun in the hamper in your closet?”
“What? No. It’s not mine,” She was becoming more agitated.
“Listen, I’m gonna have to ask you to come into the station so we can have an official statement and run some tests for gunshot residue,” He stood up and motioned her outside.
Two Weeks Later
“Who are you here to see?”
“My daughter, Lilly Thompson.”
“This way, Mr. Thompson.”
After being ushered through the metal detector, Paul Thompson cringed at the thought of the conversation he was about to have with his daughter. The new mandated ‘Family First’ law had gone into effect six months ago and was enforced strictly across the country. Most of the people still could not believe the acts they were being forced to commit.
‘Hey, dad. Are you prepared to do what you have to if I’m found guilty?” She was balled up in her cell room bed.
“Let’s not talk about it, ok.”
Three Months Later
“We, the jury, find the defendant, Lilly Thompson, guilty.”
Lilly hung her head and looked back at her father. The judge called Paul to the front and ordered, “Mr. Thompson, I am placing you, as the next of kin, under the Family First Act, with the task of executing your daughter,” the judge rubbed his eyes and continued, “effective immediately. Report to the scheduled location tomorrow at four PM.”
The next day Paul gathered himself the best he could and headed to the confinement center. Arriving early, he sat in his car and planned what he would do.
After being escorted to the killing room, he walked through the door to see his, Lilly’s, and the guard’s image reflected at him from the one-way mirror.
“Let it begin,” Came over a speaker from the far wall, and the guard stepped forward and handed Paul a pistol.
He raised the weapon. Quickly turned and shot the guard. He fumbled at the man’s keys and tossed Lilly the gun, “shoot anyone who comes in here.” Kneeling over the guard with his back to Lilly, she aimed the pistol and said, “Now you’re going to get yours. Mom already got hers, and you can meet her in hell because that’s where child abusers go!” She pulled the trigger and flesh, and bone exploded from the back of Paul’s skull as he was thrust forward onto the ground.
Lilly tossed the gun aside and sat down in the corner of the room to await her fate.
Stephen King was born on September 21, 1947, in Portland, Maine. He graduated from the University of Maine and later worked as a teacher while establishing himself as a writer. Having also published work under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, King’s first horror novel, Carrie, was a huge success. Over the years, King has become known for titles that are both commercially successful and sometimes critically acclaimed. His books have sold more than 350 million copies worldwide and been adapted into numerous successful films.
Early Life and Education
Author Stephen Edwin King was born on September 21, 1947, in Portland, Maine. King is recognized as one of the most famous and successful horror writers of all time. His parents, Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King, split up when he was very young, and he and his brother David divided their time between Indiana and Connecticut for several years. King later moved back to Maine with his mother and brother. There he graduated from Lisbon Falls High School in 1966.
King stayed close to home for college, attending the University of Maine at Orono. There he wrote for the school’s newspaper and served in its student government. While in school, King published his first short story, which appeared in Startling Mystery Stories. After graduating with a degree in English in 1970, he tried to find a position as a teacher but had no luck at first. King took a job in a laundry and continued to write stories in his spare time until late 1971, when he began working as an English educator at Hampden Academy. It was that year that he also married fellow writer Tabitha Spruce.
King of Thrills and Chills
In 1973, King sold his first novel, Carrie, the tale of a tormented teen who gets revenge on her peers. The book became a huge success after it was published the following year, allowing him to devote himself to writing full time. It was later adapted for the big screen with Sissy Spacek as the title character. More popular novels soon followed, including Salem’s Lot (1975), The Shining (1977), Firestarter (1980), Cujo (1981) and IT (1986).
While making novels about vicious, rabid dogs and sewer-dwelling monsters — as seen in Cujo and IT, respectively — King published several books as Richard Bachman. Four early novels — Rage (1977), The Long Walk (1979), Roadwork (1981) and The Running Man (1982) — were published under the moniker because of King’s concern that the public wouldn’t accept more than one book from an author within a year. He came up with the alias after seeing a novel by Richard Stark on his desk (actually a pseudonym used by Donald Westlake) coupled with what he heard playing on his record player at the time — “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet,” by Bachman Turner Overdrive.
Television and Film Adaptations
Although many of King’s works were made into film or TV adaptations — Cujo and Firestarter were released for the big screen in 1983 and ’84 respectively, while It debuted as a miniseries in 1990 — the film The Shining, released in 1980 and starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall, became a renowned horror thriller that has stood the test of time.
For a good portion of his career, King wrote novels and stories at a breakneck speed. He published several books per year for much of the 1980s and ’90s. His compelling, thrilling tales have continued to be used as the basis of numerous films for the big and small screens. Actress Kathy Bates and actor James Caan starred in the critically and commercially successful adaptation of Misery in 1990, with Bates winning an Oscar for her performance as the psychotic Annie Wilkes.
Four years later, The Shawshank Redemption, starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman and based on one of his stories, became another acclaimed outing with multiple Oscar nominations. King’s 1978 novel The Stand became a 1994 miniseries with Molly Ringwald and Gary Sinise in the lead, while the mid-’90s serialized outing The Green Mile was turned into a 1999 prison-based film starring Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan.
King continues to create and be involved in provocative projects. He has worked directly in television, writing for series like Kingdom Hospital and Under the Dome, with the latter based on his 2009 novel. In 2011 he published 11/22/63, a novel involving time travel as part of an effort to stop the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
King also wrote Joyland (2013), a pulp-fiction style thriller that takes readers on a journey to uncovering who’s behind an unsolved murder. And he surprised audiences by releasing Doctor Sleep (2013), a sequel to The Shining, with Sleep hitting No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list.
The novelist then published Mr. Mercedes (2014), with Finders Keepers (2015) and End of Watch (2016) rounding out the trilogy. In 2017, he teamed with son Owen to deliver Sleeping Beauties, about a mysterious pandemic that leaves women enveloped in cocoons.
Meanwhile, adaptations of King’s works have continued to populate the big and small screens. The first season of Mr. Mercedes began airing on the Audience Network in 2017, and that year a remake of the horror classic IT enjoyed a hefty box-office haul. In 2019 another remake of a signature King property, Pet Sematary, debuted in theaters.
King and his novelist wife divide their time between Florida and Maine. They have three children: Naomi Rachel, a reverend; Joseph Hillstrom, who writes under the pen name Joe Hill and is a lauded horror-fiction writer in his own right; and Owen Phillip, whose first collection of stories was published in 2005.
In honor of his prolific output and success in his craft, King was among the recipients of the National Medal of Arts in 2015.
Outside of writing, King is a music fan. He even sometimes plays guitar and sings in a band called Rock Bottom Remainders with fellow literary stars like Dave Barry, Barbara Kingsolver and Amy Tan. The group has performed a number of times over the years to raise money for charity.
I’d be a fool if I didn’t mention one more great King book, and that’s ‘On Writing.’
If your an aspiring writer or a seasoned author already you should really spend some time with this book. It will dispense untold knowledge from the master himself.
Dana Rollins awoke every morning at exactly 3:45 AM. By 4:00 Am, her coffee was brewing, and she was in the shower. At 4:12, her shower was completed, and she was drying off her five-foot six-inch one hundred and thirty-five-pound body. 4:19, with a towel wrapped around her midsection, she would stand in front of the mirror and run the brush fifty times through her sandy-blonde hair on each side, always starting with the right side. After combing her hair, she would take three minutes to brush her teeth and then head for her cheap hotel-sized bedroom, which had been painted a warm yellow that always made her smile, to put on the clothes she had laid out the night before on the dresser top.
By now, it was going on 4:45, so she would enter the kitchen; remove her single coffee mug that had a picture of Charlie Brown flipping through the air as Lucy once again pulled the football away just before ol Chuck could kick it. Opening her laptop as she sat down on her barstool, she would place her mug to the right on a napkin and wait as the machine spun to life.
For the next forty-five minutes, she browsed the local news sites to see if any of her latest know-hows were making headlines. Some days she would find a short blurb buried deep within the website but today WFTS channel 59 news had a front-page article describing what they referred to as ‘another mystery baffles local police.’ They even had a video clip of Tom Daniels standing in a familiar part of town recounting the mystery.
Dana looked up at her kitchen clock and shut down her computer. She then rinsed her mug out, returned it to the cabinet on the left of the sink, and then calmly laced her shoes and put on her coat. 5:54, and she was out the door, sure to lock the two deadbolts, and then walked to her car parked in the short gravel driveway. By 6:00 AM the vehicle was warmed and ready to be pointed in the direction of United Electrical Industries where she sat in a five by five-foot security booth for eight hours; 7:00 Am to 3:00 Pm every week from Monday to Friday.
Dana Rollins hated her job, but at least it gave her time to think, and Dana loved to think and plot and plan. Going over the same idea from every possible angle, she could imagine.
Every Friday between 2:52 and 2:58 her replacement Karl, an older man she guessed was in his mid-fifties would enter the booth and ask her the same question: “So, what’s a pretty young thing like you going to do this weekend?”
Coming to her feet, she would smile and say, “Well, Karl. I’ll probably get lost in another book or just watch some television until I get tired and then fall asleep.”
Shuffling to his left, Karl would give her some room to exit and without exception, finish their weekly conversation with a regular, “You know, if I were pretty young thing like you I’d be out having some fun.”
“I’ll do my best, Karl,” she would say as she swiped her badge in front of the time clock and walked toward her car.
Once home, she would change into her Friday evening attire and wait until 8:00 PM to arrive, those few hours, were always the longest hours of the week. By 8:05, Dana was sitting at the stoplight at the end of her street, waiting to turn right and head for Wicker Park to get her newest toy.
9:00 PM, pulling up along the sidewalk on Keller Street, she would stop and roll down the passenger side window. A few girls always hurried up to the car and in their best effort at seductiveness would ask, “Watcha’ lookn’ for honey?” Without hesitation, Dana would ask the first girl who reached her car what her name was and then tell her to get in.
“So, what’s the plan, sweetheart?”
“I figured we would go back to my place and have some fun for a few hours,” Dana would say as her mind was spinning with anticipation.
At 10:15 PM, they would turn into Dana’s driveway and enter the house. By 10:27, the girl was unconscious and then dragged to the bathroom, placed in the bathtub, and then methodically dismembered. First, the right arm, then the left, after that the right leg below the knee would come off. She repeated that step on the left leg, with the body now much more manageable she would remove what was left of the legs and then for the prize in the cracker-jack box she would remove the head and place it on the corner of the tub so she could look into the motionless eyes. Eyes that could tell a horrifying story if only the life hadn’t been ripped away from them.
After filleting some meat off the left thigh, she would put it on the awaiting plate and enter the kitchen where the stovetop had been heating up a medium-sized frying pan.
Finally, 11:15 PM, Dana sat at her kitchen table, cutting her first bite and then placing it in her mouth. Savoring every bite, she glanced up at the clock and realized she had only one more hour to finish eating. Then, she had to clean up before bedtime, all the while thinking how predictable, routine, and most of all, mundane her life was.
Someday I’ll get out there and enjoy this life she promised herself.
The lights came on and the camera spun to life. He sat up straight in his chair and readied himself.
“Just take a deep breath and state your name to the camera,” Dr. Spencer said, as she looked through her notes and continued, “start from the day you and your friends got to the woods. Continue reading →
“What have I always taught you?”
“Always know their routine, their weakness, their habits, and always leave yourself a way out. I know dad. You’ve been drilling that for years now.” She said. Continue reading →
As readers, we want our villains to be scary, horrific, and unstoppable. At least I do. So how as a writer do you go about creating that iconic villain that has your readers turning on the lights and checking behind the doors?
The article and video below will give you a basic layout to crafting your scary villain and help you add depth to them that will keep your readers shivering under the blankets.
“I’ll never be like you!” With that, he pulled the trigger. The hole in her head bled for only a moment before closing up.
“I told you I can’t die a natural death, Ian, ” she looked up at him as her eyes turned a cobalt blue.
“How do I kill you?” He asked frustratingly. Seeing her tied to the chair made him wonder if she was truly helpless.
“I am not, ” and in an instant she broke loose her binds and was immediately in front of him. With her hand around his neck and him pinned firmly against the basement wall she whispered, “You will become one of us.”
“Mother, please just kill me.”
“Never my son, ” and she sunk her fangs into his flesh.
“Always know their routine, their weakness, their habits, and always leave yourself a way out. I know dad. You’ve been drilling that for years now.” She said.
“Amber, honey, this is the first kill on your own. I just want it to go smoothly. We’ve been following this woman for a month now and thus should be easy for you. You’re more than ready,” he looked at her with the pride of a predator to its young.
“Ok, here I go,” she smiled and opened the car door. As she stepped into the darkness of downtown, the wet pavement reflected the colored neon lights, and her pitch-black hair brushed her shoulders and crowded her pale green eyes. The blackness of her hoodie, jeans, and boots absorbed the surrounding light and muted her appearance.
Watching from the brick roofline, hidden from all who could see Brid knew what was about to happen. He had been keeping an eye on Amber. Ever since her dad had confided his secret to him, he wanted her for his own. Brid just needed to wait until she was older. His wait was over.
Sitting down just inside the shadows of the alleyway, Amber waited. She knew the woman would be passing by any moment. She and her father had done their homework well.
“Help me. Money? I’m hungry,” Amber moaned.
“You ok? Here I have a few dollars for you,” the woman stepped into the darkness, leaving the safety of the streetlights for only an instant, but that was all Amber needed. As she reached for the woman’s outstretched hand with money, she grabbed her wrist and pulled and stabbed the blade into the side of the good giver’s neck with her other hand. Falling like a clump of wet clothes, Amber began to drag her deeper into the darkness.
With that, Brid stepped out into the emptiness before him from the rooftop and dropped within the dark.
Amber heard the thud behind her and saw a man straightening himself up from the kneeling position surrounded by cracked pavement.
He simply smiled as she thrust the knife into his chest. Looking down, Brid grabbed the handle and removed the weapon. Holding it between his hands, he broke it in half. He was quickly upon Amber as she attempted to scream, but the only sound was teeth penetrating flesh.
When she opened her eyes, the vision, she had stung her mind. The light burned, the surroundings were unfamiliar, and the wall of glass in front of her reflected the doom at her.
Brid walked up behind her, “Welcome to your new life.”
“Where am I?”
“Nineveh, forty stories up from the city streets,” He moved closer, “welcome home. Once again, your new life is here. Welcome.”
“What? What have you done to me?” Amber tightened her eyes. The light was unbearable.
“Your father trained you to be a killer. I’ve turned you into the ultimate killer. Natures truest creation. A Vampire.”
As the weeks passed, Amber learned and exercised her new powers. The bodys in and around the alleys of Nineveh began to accumulate. She grew ever more efficient at killing, and she felt she had reached a peak of with which she was not satisfied.
Brid tolerated her exuberance, if not abuse, of her newfound thrill at killing but he knew he had to reel her in for her sake and his.
The next nightfall he stopped her before she could leave, “You have to slow down. Most people believe we are a myth, but there are some who hunt us, and some of them are very effective at stopping us.”
“I’m tired of the homeless and unwanted. I want more difficult prey,” she said. Her arms at her side and staring out the massive windows looking down at the city. “A challenge. A challenge like you,” she turned and looked at Brid with the eyes of a predator.
“Killing me would only cause your precious powers to disappear my dear. You would become human again, and I don’t think you want that, now do you?”
“Well, let them come after us. We’re unstoppable.,” she said, closing the door behind her headed out into the darkened streets.
Brid shook his head and pulled out his phone.
Watching from above, Amber noticed the three men come stumbling around the front of the abandoned building. Hitting the ground with the force of someone more significant than herself, she quickly turned in their direction only to have the arrow firmly plant itself in her shoulder. The numbness spread immediately, and she fell to her knees. The three men walked up to her, and one said, “We’ve gotcha girly.”
Opening her eyes, she realized she was bound to a pole of some sort.
“Wakey, wakey, girly.” The man with the machete was saying a few feet in front of her.
She flexed against the restraints.
“Sorry, honey. Those are soaked in dead man’s blood, which makes them stronger than you,” he stepped closer.
“Wait! Don’t kill me. You want the one that turned me. I can be human again. You want Brid; I can give him to you. Please,” she was writhing against the ropes.
The machete lodged itself into the wooden beam after slicing through her neck. Ambers’ head rolled off to the side as Brid stepped out from behind the men. He hung his shoulders. ‘The search begins again.’ The thought irritated him.