Finnegan Sunday and The Electric Nightmare- PAGE TWO

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As he lurched across the road, a bleating horn suddenly sounded, a cacophony of blasts drowning out the shouting voice responsible for it. Cresting the hill below Thompson, a panel truck brimming with evening edition newspapers bounced into view like a pregnant elephant charging ahead. The driver’s bulbous head hung out the window, expletives and pleadings pouring from his thick lips as he saw the large, strange figure in front of him.   Slamming his brakes, the driver’s tired eyes suddenly found life and fear as they watched the body before him turn around to face the truck. Skin peeling away now in obsidian strips, hunks of sizzling flesh and muscle dropping to the street below as Thompson returned to his tortured sojourn across the boulevard. And shards of blue electricity sparking from him like some obscene vaudeville act.

His words turning into one long scream, the driver wrapped meaty fingers around the steering wheel, jerking it hard to the left. The vehicle crashed into the same pole Thompson had collided with. As the pole cracked and fell onto the truck, bundles of newspapers tumbled out of the back, slapping the street with repetitive thuds. And still Two Fists Thompson dragged his smoldering carcass away from the wreck.   Wobbling through an open space between the row of parked cars, Thompson threw his left hand out, the smoking palm slapping the glass of the revolving door into the skyscraper. The tormented man moaned, an awful guttural rumble rising from his nearly decimated abdomen, as he flung himself forward, almost falling into the door.

The doorman manning the Hagen Building’s information desk saw him before any of the other fifteen people milling about in the lobby at nearly seven o’clock did. The doorman, at first afraid he’d be seen not paying attention or manning his post, leaped to his feet, aimed for the door, his hand out to take the husky gentleman’s coat. Five steps into his dash, though, he stopped, frozen in mid stride. He stopped and watched.

A tendril of blue spiraled out of the top of Thompson’s skull, reaching nearly to the top of the doorframe. Arcing along the gold plated metal of the frame, the one sliver of energy spider webbed into tiny tentacles of blue electricity, rippling from one side of the door to the other. Thompson stood up straight, caught in a ghastly spasm, his body the horrific center of a contained lightning storm. The doorman and others looked on, three people screamed, and one man, a former Major in the United States Army it was later learned, fainted. All of them watching like entranced children staring at a firefly trapped in a jar, flickering for the last time.

Theophilus Thompson raised his burnt arms up in front of him and shoved himself forward, his weight forcing the doors to move and hurl him out into the lobby. His body, shimmers of blue still assaulting it, fell to the floor. As people continued to scream and collapse out of sheer terror, others moved toward the monstrosity on the floor. The doorman backed away slowly, making his way to the information desk, to the phone. He had to let the studio know what had happened before the show ended and the lobby filled with people. And as those full of fear and life in the lobby moved about, Theophilus ‘Two Fists’ Thompson exhausted his last ounce of life as he raised his head, patches of white bone peeking out between roasted skin. The one other thing he’d remembered, the one phrase he had to say sat on his tongue.

And a final strike of blue electricity whipped up his throat and out his mouth. Thompson’s head fell hard against the floor, his lips trembling, the warning he’d fought to deliver dying with him.

*****

 

 

 

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Hancock’s Page a Day Debuts- PAGE ONE

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CHAPTER ONE

Like blue lightning.

Barbed rivulets of electricity danced insanely up and down the man’s body, like blue lightning threatening to wrap around him. Ribbons of crackling energy, cerulean blue tinged with silver, hemmed with blinding white, arcing from his once emerald green eyes, now red and corpulent with blood to anywhere bare skin showed through his now tattered clothing.   And as each bolt struck exposed flesh, the air sizzled with the stench of cooked meat and burnt ozone. And he screamed as if his very soul were frying in its own personal Hell.

And yet he still stood. And he walked forward.

Stars dotted the night sky like staccato bullet holes ripped into a cosmic canvas, casting only the semblance, the memory of illumination into the concrete canyon below. Two buildings loomed on either side of the tortured figure, two lone blind witnesses to an unspeakable horror. He staggered, his mountainous form dropping to one massive knee as one strand of murderous voltage leapt from his mouth, from his very teeth and stabbed into a rip in his tailor made slacks, now little more than ragged loin cloths clinging to charcoaled skin. He pitched forward, an arm thick like a railroad tie thrown out in front of him the only salvation from falling face first into scarred asphalt. Muscles bulged like frenetic iron cables tangled about his arm, holding him up. Electricity played across his broad back like demonic little sprites, stinging and singeing him from his now bare feet to the nape of his neck.   And somehow, even as the macabre scene played toward its inevitable finale, he was not finished. The fight was not yet over.

As his body warred against the obscene, unexplained barrage of energy, his mind fought its own battle. Synapses fired like tiny volcanoes, a storm brewing in his brain, cooking the very matter within his skull. He could no longer recall where he’d started the evening, or even where he lay currently, both of his arms pushing him back to his knees. His own name vanished from his thoughts not long after his strange affliction first beset him, beginning as little pinpricks of brightness in his eyes, as if someone stood behind him flicking a flashlight off and on. Sounds from the street only a few feet in front of him rolled into his ears and rumbled in groans and grunts, his hearing very nearly devastated already. Little was left of the man once known around the world as Theophilus ‘Two Fists’ Thompson, either in body or spirit. But he was not down yet. In every ring he’d stepped into and every scrap, tussle, or full out conflict he’d found himself in, Two Fists Thompson never fell for a full count. That thought and one other kept the big man’s pounding heart pumping, forced every ounce of strength being rapidly burned from his body into his legs, and miraculously thrust him upward and forward at the same time, lumbering out of the darkness and onto a city sidewalk, as if the alley had vomited his nearly naked charred form from its own bowels.

A street light rattled as Thompson collapsed against it, the metal in the pole creaking as if in pain. No one else walked or stood on the sidewalk and the street, vibrant with traffic during the day, lay fallow that night. Cars sat parked across from Thompson, all in a row, waiting for their drivers to return. Pushing off of the post and flinging himself around it, the wounded gargantuan staggered from the sidewalk and into the avenue, his head raised, his blood filled bulging eyes locked on the building towering above him.

BULLETS FROM ANOTHER’S GUN- GLENN PORZIG’S ‘DARKNESS UNBOUND: LADY IN BLACK’ REVIEWED

BULLETS FROM ANOTHER GUN
Reviews of That Which is Pulp and Genre Fiction by Tommy Hancock

DARKNESS UNBOUND: LADY IN BLACK
by Glenn Porzig
100 pages
Graphic Entertainment
2014
http://tinyurl.com/mle9lhz

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When a family is massacred the same way a different family was murdered years before, an entire city trembles in fear while people touched and deeply involved in the past crime find themselves once again asking horrifying questions and facing hellish answers. The policeman who discovered the first scene of terror. A reporter desperate to relive the glory days she knew from breaking the first story. And a nun, once known as the only survivor of that night of horror so long ago. These three and many others find the past rising into the present like a resurrected demon in Glenn Porzig’s DARKNESS UNBOUND: LADY IN BLACK.

DARKNESS UNBOUND falls squarely into the Horror genre with the ease of a hand slipping off a bloody glove. There are definitely strong elements of mystery inherent in the story as well, as Porzig essentially unfolds two stories at the same time, intertwined together. The rookie cop who discovered the initial murder scene now works as a detective as the second family is killed nearly thirteen years later. The young girl, the only survivor of the first set of killings and the one that, in their minds and under their breath, the public thought guilty of the crimes, has given herself to God, seeking her own answers and perhaps protection from whatever happened that night. These two characters provide the core of Porzig’s story. The relationship they have, bound by one unspeakable event, provides much of the energy of this tale. And it’s not simply them as a pair, working through the whos and whats of the strange happenings around them. Porzig effectively casts Sister Marian and Detective Alex Drake as mirrors of one another. The author deftly allows the readers to watch as the story, the things these two face change them, and not in the typically dramatic heroic fashion, but in real human terms.

Does Porzig tread new ground in this tale? No, not necessarily, but therein lies a bit of the charm. This story moves very quickly and into some campy territory. That, in the case of DARKNESS UNBOUND: LADY IN BLACK is a double-edged sword. On one hand, fans of occult horror will most definitely recognize some stock characters and story points and will be in very comfortable territory. Porzig also does a stellar job with the ‘villain’ of the piece, making the somewhat obvious reveal work primarily because of the baddie he’s created.

Having said so much about three of the characters of the story, it must also be noted that this story was too ‘full’. There were simply too many changes in perspectives, seemingly too much of an attempt to work as many stock characters into the story as possible. The book reads very much like there is the possibility of sequels, so it seems that perhaps it was overkill to make sure that readers saw the retired cop, the older and gutsy nun, and so many other characters that simply weren’t necessary or as engaging as the two leads and the villain.

A glaring example of this is the inclusion of the reporter who is trying to recapture her former fame in the light of the new murders. This character is definitely a trope and while Porzig does a great job using other standards and clichés in interesting ways, this sub plot really adds nothing but distraction to the story and has no solid resolution.

Another issue with this story is the ‘convenience’ factor, or as others would put it, far too much ‘deus ex machina’. One of the most interesting characters for me in this story is a Priest that is not actually in the book. He was involved in the first murder and has since passed on. This character could, based on even the little that he was discussed in this story, have his own books and I would read them. However, the way that the character is used, essentially as an avenue to introduce a resolution to the story, is just far too pat. Without giving anything away, the way this priest influences the modern day story could have been fleshed out much more. Instead, it comes off as rushed and just too easy.

DARKNESS UNBOUND: LADY IN BLACK is a good short read that actually probably should have been longer. It is obvious where the author wanted to go with this and he definitely got there, but it would have been much better had he actually taken time to make some of the supporting characters more important to the story and expanded on certain points within the work. Having said that, however, I enjoyed the read and definitely will pick up the further adventures, if there are any, of Sister Marian and Detective Drake. DARKNESS UNBOUND: LADY IN BLACK was a good first chapter in what could be a series of further novellas or novels. And it must be mentioned, the cover, designed by the author, is eye-catching and definitely works for this book.

THREE BULLETS OUT OF SIX- Though it suffers from being too short and too crowded with characters without clearly defined purpose, DARKNESS UNBOUND: LADY IN BLACK is a fun, quick novella, filled with enough occult doings, scary fight scenes, and melodramatic reactions to give any fan of Horror pulp and camp an enjoyable read.

Ideas Like Bullets Returns! Meet the Man Behind the Tagline…

Hey, come on in, the door’s open.  Well, no, it’s not actually a door, depending on how you’re reading this.  Unless you’re standing at a doorway looking at a computer across the room.   Then… well, you get the idea.   Let’s just say this…

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If you’re one of the eleven or four people who read this attempt at blogging in its previous incarnation, then welcome back!  What you read before was an attempt at a stylized narrative, throwing in musings and ideas that the wielder of that particular gun, that would be me, didn’t have time to pursue on my own.   If you’re back because of your enjoyment of the blog then, then you’ll get some of that, but this time around, it won’t be exactly the same.

Will there be stylized narrative? Sure, when the mood strikes me.  Will there be ideas shared and discussed and even given away wholesale? Yes, as I want to.  Will Pets and Peeves- a feature where I discussed things I liked and didn’t like in the publishing field- be returning?  Might be?  And will I talk about writing projects, Pro Se Productions (the company I am a partner in) news, and other tidbits and morsels?  Probably.  Will there be book reviews of things I read and like…and don’t like?  Yes, that’s likely a 99.5 guarantee to happen.

What will be different this time around for the ILB blog, though, is I will post…what I want.   When I want as well.  I know the statistics say that bloggers who post daily usually are more successful, sell more widgets, and such.  I also have read the reports that show a consistent style of blogging adds to the readability and readership of your work.  Well, as with many things in this tangled web of interactions, mistakes, and occurrences I call my life, I have traveled these roads and find that my own path is one I’m more interested in treading.   So, with that in mind, I can tell you that there will be posts here, but I can’t say when or what they will be.  Because they will be whatever I feel necessary to share.  Is the intent still to have this be about publishing, writing, Pulp, and all that goes with that?  Most definitely.  But something else I’ve learned is that all of that, all of those things, are a part of who I am. They are very personal to me.  And that means that being personal here, when I want to be, is something else I plan to do.

tommy1So, as a first order of business in the new digs, let me talk about…me.   Many of you, if any of you read this, who read this will know some of what I plan to share.  Several of you will know a lot of it.  And yes, those who do know me can plan on general statements, specific things, and even a few teases maybe here and there in what amounts to an extended biography.

But why, you might ask? Why do I expect you to read about me? Well, I don’t.  I mean you’re welcome to and it will definitely give you insight to future posts on the blog, but no, I’m not narcissistic enough to think reading about me will enrich you in any significant way.  What I’m about to write, I write for me.  Because I feel the need to set out, before we embark on this adventure again, where I stand right now, who I am at this moment.  So, if you read on, I hope you, if you don’t get anything out of or enjoy what you read, that you at least understand that it’s important to me.

I am Tommy Hancock.  By day, I am an investigator for an attorney. Yeah, I know…Pulpy and I have the hat for it.  I am also a husband to a woman of long suffering patience- Thank God for that- and the father of three of the greatest children on the planet.  Come on, just ask me.

In between all of that, in the spare moments while the sun shines and into the wee hours of the morning, I am…well, that long list of things I listed above boils down to one word.  I am a creator.  I am a writer who loves to tell action packed genre type tales of all sorts.  I am a podcaster who enjoys talking to others who create stuff I like to read.  I am a Convention type guest and vendor who likes the interaction with fans (of which I am also one) and the opportunity to share what I do with others.  I am a publisher who endeavors to bring the best of Genre Fiction and New Pulp to the masses and have been very fortunate in doing so, both with continued success each month, but also because of the people, starting with my partner in the company as well as my wing woman, my right hand all the way through every other creator I’ve met who has worked under the Pro Se Banner.   I am indeed all of those things.

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I’m also a guy who has, I’ve been told, several good qualities that I am just beginning to appreciate.  I’m someone who, though, has spent a lot of time trying to find himself, working overtime and sometimes crossing lines to do so.  I have more than a few things I’ve done that I regret and were a certain bigger-on-the-inside blue box at my disposal, I truly might go back and change them.  That’s probably my biggest mistake of a personal nature, believing that I had to figure out who I was when, as someone has told me more than once, if I would just relax and ‘be’, who I am would come through just fine. Since I’ve started doing that- and that’s really truly only been in the last little while- I’ve learned a lot about myself.  Well, maybe not learned all of it, because much I knew already.  Let’s say I’ve accepted a lot about myself.  Which, for someone who revels in creating whole new universes from simple strands of thoughts and words in his head, is not easy, especially when some of what is being accepted actually means I have limits.  So, for a quick list of things about me…

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I am not only a creator, I’m a fan.  Of many, many Pop Culture type things.

As a publisher, I want to make money, but I also want people to learn, to grow, and to achieve more as writers with every word they write.

I absolutely love doing research, sometimes more to my detriment than benefit.

I will do anything for a friend.  But also, business is business.  I have little patience for those who blur the lines between the two and expect special treatment.  If I choose to give it, that’s one thing and my choice.   As a Publisher/creator, though, it is not enough for someone to be my friend.  Fortunately, most of those I work with understand this.

Mistakes, I make them.  A lot of them in the past.   I’m taking steps to not do that nearly as much.  I also have a bad habit of letting them hold me back, even after I’ve done everything I can to fix or at least acknowledge them.  No more of that.

I have a history of overcommitting myself and have been working on that for awhile.  Still treading water on a lot of commitments made long ago, cleaning them up as I can.

I’m a diabetic.  I bring this up as it’s caused me more than once to get behind on things.  That’s better too, though it rears its ugly head at times.

Although much of what I do as a creator many would consider work, I find it to be fun.

I tend to think outside the box in a lot of ways compared to other publishers and creators. But I’m also willing to learn, not just as a publisher, but in other ways as well.

I am open to suggestions in many areas, but also have a very strict idea on how some things should be done. Many people see this as a problem apparently, as I will be open in some things and a hard liner in others.  It is who I am.

I have priorities, something I haven’t really defined until lately.  And yes, my creating/Pulp ‘work’ is definitely close to the top of the list.   I intend to move forward, to succeed, and to be the best at everything I do, which in turn means that I plan for those I work with and for to be the best as well.

I am, for the first time, focused.  Focused singularly for success in several areas.

I know many people and have untold acquaintances and many friends.  I also have what can only be called an inner circle, a select group I trust with much, if not all of me.  And I will do anything for them.

Best Friend? Yep, am one and have one.   Counted as one of the family, that one is.

Forward. Onward. Upward.  All directions I am moving.  And I hope to take many with me on the way.

Well, there you go, much more than you wanted to know and maybe even more than you needed.  But it was important for me to put that down somewhere, to start not only this new blog, but also in a lot of ways, a new direction that I’ve been carving out for a few months in my life as a creator. And as a person.

Come back, won’t you?  Can’t tell you when I’ll post again, but I promise you, every post will be different than the one before it.

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