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Authors: Neil Jackson

The Outsiders

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THE OUTSIDERS

Selected and Edited by Neil Jackson

The Outsiders is a collection of 13 dark fantasy stories from
some of the best names and bright new names in dark fiction. An
eclectic mix of styles and genres lurk within these pages...so
uncork a glass of wine, dim the lights, sit back in a comfy
chair...and enjoy this offering from Ghostwriter
Publications.

This
Compilation Copyright © Ghostwriter Publications 2010

This
eBook edition published 2010 at Smashwords by Ghostwriter
Publications

www.ghostwriterpublications.com

All
rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without the
publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other
than that in which it is published and without a similar condition
including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and
incidents are either a product of the author’s imagination or are
used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or
persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. The moral right
of the authors has been asserted in accordance with the Copyrights,
Designs and Patents Act 1988

ISBN
978-1-907190-18-6

TABLE OF CONTENTS

DR.
CHADWICK’S PARTY – Barry J. House

LURKER –
Peter Mark May

OLD
SLIPPERY – Stuart Neild

OLD
COGNAC & NEW LEATHER – David Niall Wilson

MAN’S
BEST FRIEND – Stephen James Price

HAUNTED –
Scott Nicholson

LUCKY –
Brooke Vaughn

THE
GROWLING – David Jeffery

THE
CURIOUS OBSESSION OF MATTHEW DEACON – Richard Tyndall

MYTH –
Ian Faulkner

THE SUN
TRAP – Rhys Hughes

CELESTE –
Neil Jackson

BROTHERHOOD OF THE THORNS – William Meikle

DR.
CHADWICK’S PARTY

Barry J. House

Dr. Simon
Chadwick strode over to the bar and helped himself to another
vodka, neat, the way he saw himself. A Led Zeppelin CD was playing
on the Hi-fi and his eardrums were thrumming in unison. He glanced
at his watch irritably; it was 1:05 am.

What am I still doing at this debacle?
he thought.
It was only the outside
chance of screwing Susan that brought me here in the first
place.
He grabbed a couple of chunks from
the ice bucket, popping one in his drink and the other in his
mouth.
There’s hardly any food here,
either. I’m bloody starving. I’m going to drink this and then I’m
off. I can pick up a kebab on the way home, and maybe, if I look in
the right places, it might not be too late to pick up something
else to take home for the night.

Crunching the ice cube between his teeth, Chadwick made his
way back across Dr. Susan Clarke’s lounge, eyeing the mottled, dark
red carpet, scornfully, trying to work out whether or not it was
heavily stained or was just supposed to look like that. Most of the
other party goers, he noticed, had moved into the kitchen or dining
room, hours ago.
Looking at the state of
this carpet
I’m not bloody
surprised,
he thought.

Chadwick
rejoined the other three doctors, all from the same practice, who
had earlier made themselves comfortable, lounging on a couple of
their host’s sofas. He had only been with them for a few short,
weeks but was already beginning to regret the move. He sat opposite
Susan Clarke. She was young, pretty, and single, giving her two of
the qualities that guaranteed Chadwick’s attention; he didn’t give
a toss whether she was married or not. He had already tried it on a
few times with her, to no avail, but Simon Chadwick didn’t consider
himself to be the type who gave up easily.

Those other two imbeciles are a right pair of tiresome, ugly
bastards,
he thought.
They’re both hitched-up and stitched-up, anyway, so I’m the
one with the best chance of humping her, one day.

While
Chadwick had been getting his refill, the rest of the group had
started a conversation about unusual medical experiences they had
come across over the years. Dr. Leigh Flood, a lean, sallow-skinned
man, was recounting a story about a friend of his, not a doctor
herself, who had visited her GP for a smear test.


Before she went,” Flood was saying, “she had a shower and then
sprayed some deodorant down below…”

Chadwick was watching Susan as she listened to the
story.
I’ll have her eventually, one way or
another
, he thought.
Even if it means resorting to my little concoction; a few
drops of Liquid Heaven in her drink and she’s mine. Then she’ll do
anything I want.
Anything
. God knows it’s worked enough
times in the past.

“…
and when he finished up,” continued Flood, “the doctor thanked
her for taking the trouble to make herself look nice for him. It
wasn’t until she got home that she discovered she’d applied glitter
hairspray all over her pubes by mistake!”

Everybody
laughed at this. All except for Chadwick, of course; he had other
things on his mind.


Well, I’ve got a story for you that’s a little bit nastier
than that, and it happened to
me
,” Dr. Trevor Selman said, a short,
fat, balding man, who, at fifty-three, was the oldest person at the
party. “It was about twenty-five years ago, now, and I had been
called out to a mammoth of a woman who’d suffered a minor stroke.
Nothing strange in that, I know, but it turned out she’d been
keeping her husband imprisoned, naked, in the bathroom, with
nothing to live on but the scraps of putrid food she occasionally
pushed under the door. He was a right sorry state, like a living
skeleton, a death-camp survivor. The neighbours hadn’t seen him for
five years; they’d assumed he’d moved out ages before!”

What a fucking bunch of morons they all are, eh?
thought Chadwick.
Is this
how they get their kicks? By telling silly little stories? I’ve got
absolutely nothing in common with these people.


That’s a nasty story, indeed,” Susan Clarke said. But there
was something about the tone of her voice that, to Chadwick,
suggested insincerity. She turned to him, now. “Have you got any
tales you’d like to share with us, Simon?”


No, I don’t have any
funny
stories, Susan. Look, are we going to have
anything to eat, tonight? I’m famished. I’ve had one measly handful
of peanuts all evening!”


Bear with me awhile. I intend to prepare some food later. But
first I would like to tell you my own story. It’s a bit more
unpleasant than Trevor’s, I can assure you.”


Well, I’m sorry, Susan, but I have to go, now,” Chadwick said,
getting to his feet. He had had enough. “You can tell
me
another
time!”


Oh, please stay, Simon. It’s important I tell this story to
all of you, together. I haven’t told anybody else about this,
ever!”

For a
moment the woman looked so anxious, so desperately unhappy, that
Chadwick almost felt sorry for her.

Almost,
but not quite.


Yes, of course, Susan,” Dr. Flood said, sensing her distress.
“I was just about to leave, myself, but I guess I can hang on for
your story, if it’s important to you.”


Me too,” Dr. Selman agreed. “Come on, Simon, stay a few
minutes longer!”

Chadwick
stood there, bemused, looking from one doctor to the
next.


Oh, all right, then,” he said, resignedly flopping back down
on the sofa. “This story had better be good!”


I’m sure it will be,” Flood murmured.

Susan
Clarke took a sip from her drink. She pulled her blouse out a
little at the waist, rearranged the lay of her skirt across her
legs, and began.


This is a true story, I swear it. It happened almost three
years ago, when I was working at a practice in London. Surgery had
finished for the day and I was clearing my desk when a man barged
in, demanding to speak with me. I saw real trepidation in his eyes,
so I agreed to see him in my room. He told me he was suffering from
a terrible affliction, one he could no longer cope with. He said he
had something wrong with his stomach.”

Clarke
paused to take another sip of her drink. She smiled nervously at
Chadwick. The man had been watching her lips move as she spoke,
imagining those very lips kissing him all over. His hand was
resting absently on his leg, toying with the little phial of Liquid
Heaven in his pocket. He never went anywhere without it.

God, but she’s a sexy bitch. If I hang around tonight until
the others have gone I might get her into bed, yet.


I asked him to unbutton his shirt and show me where the pain
was,” Susan continued. “But he looked at me bizarrely. His whole
demeanour had changed. He said I had got it all wrong. There was no
pain; only an intense hunger. He pulled his shirt open,
triumphantly, like a flasher in the woods, and then I saw
it!”


Saw what, Susan?” Chadwick asked, apathetically. Out of the
corner of his eye he could see Flood gazing at him, smirking.
Selman, however, seemed to be listening attentively to Clarke’s
story.


The mouth!” Clarke said. “In the middle of his stomach was a
mouth, seven or eight inches across. I was frozen to the spot, just
staring at it, morbidly fascinated. And then the lips began to
open. They drew back to reveal row upon row of bright, needle-sharp
teeth, receding into his torso, seemingly more deeply than the
body, itself. I remember sucking in breath ready for the mother of
all screams, but he clamped a hand over my mouth, mumbling
something about making me one of his own. He pushed the grotesque
maw towards me, but I managed to break away, kicking him in the
balls and fleeing the surgery. I have never returned. I left London
the same night and I shall never go back! I moved here soon
afterwards and you guys know the rest.”


What an amazing tale!” Selman said.

Flood
didn’t say anything, though. He was still smirking, as if listening
to a familiar joke and waiting patiently for the
punchline.

Simon
Chadwick, however, had had enough. “Surely you don’t expect me to
believe any of this, do you? You’ve got to be joking!”

Susan
Clarke leaned towards Chadwick until her face was inches from his.
She looked deep into his eyes. “Do I look like I’m joking?” she
asked. There was not even a hint of a smile on her lips.


Right, that’s it, I’m going,” he said, hurriedly standing.
“And I hope you don’t truly believe what you’re saying, Susan,
because if you do, then I would be obliged to question your
professional integrity, and
you
, my dear, would need to see a
psychiatrist PDQ!”

Chadwick left the room, storming up the stairs to get his
coat. The stairs and landing were covered with the same, blotchy,
wine-red carpet as the lounge. He went into the bathroom first to
relieve himself before the long drive home, and was just starting
to pee when the door swung slowly open. Chadwick looked over his
shoulder and saw Clarke. She
was
smiling, now. Without a word she stepped into the
bathroom and stood behind him.


Look, I’m tired, Susan, and I’m going home. There’s no way you
could change my mind, now.”


Are you sure I couldn’t, Simon?” Clarke began to unbutton her
blouse. “Not even if I did this?”

Okay, so I’m totally predictable but at the end of the day I’m
only a man,
thought Chadwick,
smugly.
And I’m a slave to my physical
needs, just like any other.

Chadwick
turned, eager to share his erection with Susan Clarke.

But
Clarke had no interested in the man’s burgeoning member, or at
least, not entirely. She undid her blouse at the wrists and
shrugged her shoulders, allowing it to fall to the cold
tiles.


Do you believe my story, now?” she asked.

BOOK: The Outsiders
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