Shivering With Antici... pation: A TG Mixed Tape

Shivering With Antici... pation

A TG MIXED TAPE

Edited by PersnicketyBitch

It’s Halloween. While on assignment a warlock finds himself observed by strange man with tape recorder. At a music festival for monsters, two security guards set out to apprehend an intruder. As darkness falls across the land, and the midnight hour draws near, hit play on this collection of spooky, sentimental and surprising seasonal short stories. [Includes an interview with Zapper (creator of the Consultant Universe).]

*

Don't get strung out by the way that I look,

Don't judge a book by its cover

I'm not much of a man by the light of day,

But by night I'm one hell of a lover

Dr. Frank N. Furter

*

Igor and the Hounds are beginning their set on the main stage with a cover of Tubular Bells, just the bit everyone knows, the bit that sounds all easy-listening, and kinda almost forgettable, but at the same time’s a total earworm, and has this undercurrent of menace which for a moment’ll get all in your face with these ear piercing-screeching Krangs. But like I said, you probably know it.

It wafts, tinkling-tingling, charging the air, and maybe it’s the acoustics, some clever arrangement of speakers, or our collective imagination, or magic, but it seems not to originate from the performers, but to flow in, down from the mountains; down the craggy slopes, here a pine, there a pine, everywhere a pine-pine, ginormous looming motherfuckers, not a dinky-cutesy Chrissy-postcard plant in sight, weaving, weaving, out of the forest, low to the ground, skimming the grass, between the elephantine legs of a patrolling golem, up and over a chain fence of combination silver and iron mesh, up and over mounds busted open from the inside, toppled cairns, perking the ears of a group of shamblers roasting plucked out eyes by a bonfire and who stand on buckling legs, and trailing guts, lurch, arms outstretched, after it, weaving, weaving, through the graves, and the tent city amongst the graves, in the footsteps, hoof prints, claw and slither marks of the exquisite and exquisite corpse forms of a multitude of named and nameless undead, the mythic, the divine and the diabolical, weaving, weaving, and watched, on and off, by a group of Goyles putting the finishing touches on their We Love You Leon (of Crypt Kicker Five fame) banner, weres and vamps, spooks and spirits, Children of the Damned in Silver Shamrock masks, an old fart with a psychedelic aura flogging compilation albums from some vanity label, glimpsing, weaving, weaving, against the current, in our fluoro festival security jackets: one effortlessly butch cyclops (that’s Trouser Snake), one try-hard butch surface normal (that’s me), and three golems (two terracotta guards and one great galumpher).

Sorry ‘bout that, I can get a bit omniscient at times. It’s in my genes. More than a touch of Delphi on my mother’s side. And my father’s. But you’ll have to ask my niece about that in, say, a four decades or so. She’ll be our family tree maven then. Me, I can barely make it past the first chapter of The Lord of the Rings without my brain glagging up.

A pumpkin patterned beach ball skims, propelled by slaps and punches, quick grabs and jerky flick-of-the-wrist throws, atop the crowd.

Trouser Snake’s walkie-talkie statics and she gunslingers it from her hip. There’s a one way conversation. Snake punctuates the other guy’s talk with yuh’s and huh’s, nuh’s and uh-huh’s and ah-hmm’s.

“Hey Morg,” she’ll say after she returns the walkie-talkie to her belt.

And I’ll say, “Yeah?”

And she’ll reply, “Security circle can’t pin our guy down. Now’d be a good time to roll your eyes so the whites show or do whatever it is you do.”

And I’ll roll my eyes, but not in the way she’s talking about. Zombie glaze gaze is a total load.

Beyond that it’s hard to predetermine. Occasionally I’ll get a whole week laid out for me, but mostly what I get isn’t much more than what you’d be able to deduce with a bit of common sense.

So, if I’m to be any help I’ll have to back n’ sideways. Which isn’t a guarantee of anything. Alternatives within alternatives, parallels within multi’s; all that quantum fruityloopery glags my brain worse than family trees.

But the alters are kinda like pink elephants. When you start thinking of them, you can’t not.

This is the kind of mindfuck I’m talking about: I know that nothing has gotten past the wards since Mash 85, and, I mean, I’ve always known that a chaos titan had materialised above stage one year ‘cause folk talk about that kind of thing, but I think when I heard the story the year’d chinese-whispered back a few, but now I know it right, just like how I know that a few alts over that the intruderless streak was broken last Mash; and how it’d rained heavily then, off and on, and how in-between downpours you could look up and see the most fantastic, broiling-crackling re-animator’s sky which near everybody with a working olfactory agreed was worth the festival funk for the ages; and how Trouser was working campsite allocation, pushing ‘bout everything with four wheels out of and off the muckier, growing muckier still, parts of the thoroughfares. An old guy bumps into her. He’s got a real neat aura. It’s a forking moment.

To get him to piss off Trouser takes what he’s hocking. Later, after her shift’s over, she relaxes with a coven of witches, round a ding, getting high off the incense, and someone shoves it into their CD player. It’s a forking moment.

To get him to piss off Trouser tells him straight out. Which he does, ‘cause there are always others. As she debates the merits of Thriller and Backstreet’s Back with a pair neck-bolts rocking black with white jig-jag Bride Of frizzes, nearby something, part man, part woman, part dog-wolf, part bitch howls. It’s a forking moment.

And the forks fork–

–again.

–and again.

–with every transformation.

Some moments recur. I latch onto them.

The neck-bolts split at their scars and pieces grow into whole bodies.

The change brings out the more monstrous side of a slip of a witch’s bull-dancer heritage: horns, hair, a serious pair of stones.

Trouser Snake…

“Hey Morg,” she says.

“Yeah.”

“Security circle can’t pin our guy down...”

I could say something. But I don’t. A song – you don’t know it yet, but you will – wafts through the elsewheres and whens in my mind, pricking at all that is mythic and divine and diabolical within me, making me more. My body tinkle-tingles with possibilities. I let them reshape my flesh.

*

Shivering With Antici… pation

A TG MIXED TAPE

*

Liner Notes

Deal With the Fae

By A. Kent

Midnight Meeting

By Dorothy Colleen

Same Sex Trick and Treat

By Toxis

Second Chance: A Tale From Meridian

By D.A.W.

The Best of Friends

By Imaj

The Guardian

By Zapper

Why I Wore a Dress to Your Wedding

By Hikaro

The Mixed Tape Interview: Zapper

Recommended Resources

(Edited By PersnicketyBitch)

*

Deal With the Fae

By A. Kent

The girl wandered through the mountain meadow searching for red flowers. Her basket was already half full of roses, ceibos', pevonia's, argentina's and more. Her worn brown skirt caught on some thorns which pulled the loose garment down far enough to show the top of her new green underwear. It was the day before the new year and she was going to be ready for it.

The day was hot and dry. Looking at what she’d collected so far she was almost ready to say it was enough, but she wanted to make sure there was no chance of the good luck failing. She remembered there was a big wild rose bush up ahead. That should give her enough petals to fill the basket.

She walked into a copse of trees and jumped as she saw a man leaning against a trunk. His skin was white, far whiter than anyone in her village. His clothes were green and stitched with diamonds. Not even the rich people in the magazines wore clothes like that. He smiled at her. His teeth glinted like jewels in the sun.

“Hello, Alejandra. You've been busy today, haven't you?” his voice was like a flock of songbirds.

Her mind seemed to be trapped in molasses. She couldn't take her eyes off of the jewels. “Yes,” she said.

“Let's see if I remember how it goes. Red for love and green for money. I see the red flowers you're preparing for your bath.” His blazing blue eyes glinted with mirth, “And I saw your green underwear earlier. You are an ambitious girl aren't you?”

Alejandra raised her head, looked him in the eyes and brushed her dark, crinkly, black hair from her face. “I'm not going to live in this village all my life.”

“Of course, someone with a spirit like yours is stifled in this backwater town. I have watched you for a while and I think you're ready for a deal,” he said.

She stepped back, suddenly aware of just how strange the situation was. “Are you the devil?”

A thousand silver bells filled the air as he laughed. “Hardly. I have no dealings with heaven or hell. And I will not take your soul. I simply want your services for a while.”

She turned to run. She'd heard of men like him, they came to the villages looking for young girls. Offering them money, love, presents, and after a bit of fun left them despoiled, or worse brought them to the cities and sold them on the street. She stopped as he appeared in front of her.

“Wait,” he said. “I swear to you I have no desire in your virginity and will not allow anyone to take it from you unless you are willing.”

Something in his voice reached into her soul and she knew he was telling the truth. “What do you want me to do?”

“I am a traveller, and I believe you have potential. I will train you to perform in front of the greatest audiences and when you are done in my services you will be loved and have more riches than you can dream of. To prove it, here is a trifle of what I can offer you.” His hand flicked across his clothes, and a diamond went from his shirt to his fingertips. It floated through the air to her hands. She stared at it in amazement. It looked like it was worth more than anything her family could earn in a lifetime.

“I swear, if you come with me you will never be hungry, you can find love, you will never go to bed shivering from cold, and you will find a fortune. Simply take my hand and you can leave this poverty behind you,” he told her. His long fingers, tipped with golden nails waited for her own black, calloused hand.

She took it.

There was a flash of light, and they were somewhere else.

Alejandra looked around, terrified as a woman larger than a mountain loomed over her. She growled, “What have you brought for me, Gold Man?”

“A fighter. I promised her, her virginity would not be touched. So lets make sure it won't,” he said with a smile.

The mountain woman pulled a life size clay figure from a shelf, it snapped open in her hand. The girl tried to run, but the enormous hand encircled her body. Her clothes were ripped from her back by it's calloused skin. With a scream she was shoved roughly into the clay coffin like figure. It closed on her, leaving her in blackness except for a small hole just above her head.

Warm and oily wax poured in through the hole. It filled the clay sarcophagus, pressing against her flesh. She screamed and began choking as it filled her mouth.

Her insides bloated. Bones stretched and thickened. She pressed against the clay walls. Her lungs burned. Her skin felt raw, stretched taut over a body that was too large. There was a crack from the clay. She pushed again, and the coffin crumbled around her.

Falling to her knees, she vomited up a seemingly never ending stream of black wax. Finally it ended, wiping her mouth she stopped and stared at her hand. She'd been proud of her small hands, even with the callouses they had always been complimented on by the boys of her village. But the hand before her was huge, larger than the largest hand she had ever seen.

Sitting up she looked down at her flat muscular chest. She trembled feeling something between her legs. Praying to God that it wasn't real she looked down. At the sight that greeted her, she shrieked.

A long fingered hand touched her muscular shoulder. “I promised you, no one would take your virginity. I always keep my promises. Now come we must train, your audience awaits.”

*

Kent writes a wide variety of stories ranging from comedy to horror, with an emphasis on the dark side. This story is a prequel of sorts for his young adult series, Slave Of The Fae, the first part Fire Bird can be found on TG Storytime. There is a more mainstream version on Kindle by the same name.

Every Halloween night, I put out candles for those who have passed on, and I remember how they impacted my life.

Especially the girl who would become my guardian angel, my cousin, Sara.

As I light the candle, I remember the last time I saw her - I was only five, she was almost seventeen, and in my eyes the most beautiful girl I knew. We were staying in my aunt and uncle’s house, which gave me many opportunities to watch her, hoping to learn the secret of her beauty, hoping to imitate it myself someday.

Which I might have been forgiven for more if I had not been a boy.

I struggled with incontinence, so I started to set my alarm to wake me up at around midnight so I could go to the bathroom and avoid peeing the bed, which is why I was up when she came home from a date.

After I did my business and was headed back to the room I had been given. I noticed she hadn’t closed her door yet, but was sitting on her bed pulling her hair out from the hairdo she must have had for the date.

Suddenly, I had a feeling that if I ever wanted to talk to anybody about what I was feeling, now might be the only chance I’d get.

I knocked on her door, and after exchanging some pleasantries I said, “I think something’s wrong with me, Sara. I look at you, and I’m so jealous of how pretty you are, and all I want is to be as pretty as you.”

“But you’re a boy?”

“Am I? I don’t feel like one. Or think like one, since I don’t know any boys who want to grow up to be pretty girls.”

“That sounds like something serious.”

“It is. I just don’t know what to do.”

She hugged me, and said, “I’m so sorry. I don’t know how to help you.”

I hugged her back, and said, “You just did. You listened, and didn’t freak out.”

“No freak-outs here. Just remember that boy or girl, you’re loved.”

She gave me a hug, and I went back to bed.

Back in the present, I stroked the side of the candle I had lit for her. Not long after that conversation, she graduated high school and went to the States to go to university. I would never see her again, and she died less than ten years afterward of cancer, so she never knew that one day I’d find the courage to let my girl self out, or that I would never forget the first person to ever accept me no matter what.

And she would never know I would always re-hear her words whenever I struggled,

“Boy or girl, you’re loved.”

*

Dorothy is the author of over 150 stories, poems and autobiographical works including "Rock Star Makeover" which can be found at Fictionmania and Big Closet, "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: A Memoir" which can be found at Big Closet and the novel "Quest for the Silver Cleric" which can be brought on Amazon.

“We should do this.” Jacqui pointed to the Halloween contest promo in the window. “Only couples can enter. We’re a couple. We just have get to the casino by noon on Wednesday, attend a meeting, get the entry form and do it.”

Rob could see that she was getting into this. Maybe it was the competition thing from college sports. “See, the judges pick someone from each couple. They get made over by professional special effects people. The other one just gets a costume to wear.” Here we go, Rob thought, no stopping her now.

“And really, Rob, what’s the big deal? You know I support your dressing. I’ve even done “girl’s night out” dates with you. You look so great dressed; they’ll pick you and we’ll win.”

She had a point. The casino’s hook was simple. Bet on which contestant is the boy and the girl. Guests would bet online. The couple that bettors got wrong most would win. Even if word got out, Rob would have an easy explanation. It was just that – what if something went really wrong? Still Jacqui wanted to do this; it was hard to say no.

“All right, folks, settle down.” Jacqui looked around. There lots of people in the casino ballroom. “You’ve all got the contest rules. I’m happy to announce that the winner gets $25,000. The top four couples become paid cast members of a new reality show that’s based their contest looks. There’s lots of money to win. Who wants to enter?”

Everybody started to cheer. Jacqui was jumping in her seat. They filled out the form but Rob was hesitant. What if things went wrong? Before he could stop her, Jacqui was running up the aisle to turn their form in.

“I think they’re ready to announce the names.” Jacqui was up on tiptoe. Amazing, she’s as big as I am. Maybe bigger through the shoulders. Their feet were the same size. And Jacqui was in better shape. Here she was, manhandling him through the crowd to get up front. All for a Halloween party. They were calling out names. With each one, Jacqui would look to see who was left, then a little nod to herself, next time for sure. As couples were picked, they were taken to another room. Maybe they won’t pick us; Rob thought and started to relax.

“Jacqui and Rob.” Jacqui leaped on Rob, hugging him. They were escorted out of the ballroom, away from the remaining crowd. “Congratulations, you two. Let me tell you what happens now. Jacqui, you’re going to go with Marsha.” An attractive young woman in jeans waved. “Rob, here is your contest “comp” card. You can spend up to $500 per day on anything in the casino you want. And be back here on Friday at 2PM to get ready.” Jacqui stared back, stunned. They were supposed to pick Rob! He was the one getting dressed up. The last Rob saw of her, Jacqui was getting red faced, trying to tell Marsha that they were making a mistake. And then she was gone.

Rob checked his watch. It was Friday afternoon and he needed to head back and get ready. A small group of people were chatting, next to a sign that read “Rob.” That was easy; he went over to introduce himself. “Rob, we’re going to work with you today to create a new image. You, but not you. First some skin and hair care, some styling, then into wardrobe, finally accessories and you’ll be ready.” He was impressed by how nice they seemed. And competent; clearly, they did this a lot. Casinos put on shows, lots of them and, no surprise, a private dressing room/hair salon awaited him. The facial was relaxing, followed by some clean up. Trimming eyebrows, cutting away sideburns. When they started bleaching his hair, Rob started to protest but they ignored him. His hair was being cut, above his left ear and curving down to follow his jaw line on the right. A headband held his hair back while they did his face. Foundation, mascara, blush. Hair back down, fluffed and combed. Fitted white shirt with a Peter Pan collar, thin white slacks with a skinny fit, white hose and patent flats. Next a bubble gum pink cashmere sweater. Thin gold necklace with a charm. Last, a diamond ring on his left hand. He might as well be cross-dressed. No boobs but the girl in the mirror was a too-cute updated version of Sixties teen dream.

“Next, ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce Jack and Bobbie.” The curtain that separated them began to rise. Engineer boots, then weightlifter thighs in tight jeans. A leather jacket, and fingerless gloves. Skin tight white T-shirt over six-pack abs and rock hard pecs. Muscular shoulders and arms. White blonde hair cut high and tight, mirrored aviators and a deep bronze tan. Rob was speechless. How did they get Jacqui so pumped up? She looked like a Tom of Finland model. That’s when he saw the bulge running down her right leg. Smiling, almost cocky, Jacqui now Jack closed the distance between them and took Rob in her arms. “Hi cupcake, did you miss me? We’re going to be the “same sex marriage” couple on the new show. Isn’t that cool? I already signed the contract.”

*

Toxis writes stories about transformation, how events change people, make them something they weren't and leave them as something else. If you like this story, you might also like “Bianca Paragon” and “Spellbound” on Fictionmania, “Race Queen” at mcstories.com, and “Everything's Good” at Bdsmlibrary.

Second Chance

(A Tale from Meridian)

By D.A.W.

*

This story is set in the same town as my other works Facades and Good Deeds, as with the other two tales this one is intended as a standalone. Like Facades, it hits particularly close to home as it covers the topic of abuse. This time however, it's written from the perspective of the abuser. I like to think that I covered the topic delicately, but if you are particularly sensitive to the subject you may wish to abstain from reading.

*

Allen was trembling, can't say I could blame him the kid had every right to be scared. I mean I would be too if my father had found me all dolled up like that. Of course, as his father I was kind of at loss for words. I dropped my beer and just let the bottle shatter on the floor as I stared at the kid. He would have made a pretty convincing girl if he'd been able to cover up his stubble a little better and done a little more work with his breasts. They looked a little lopsided and the full length dress helped hide his figure, but it didn't quite hide all of his stocky frame.

"Dad, I can explain." He held his hands up and flinched probably expecting me to hit him, but I wasn't drunk enough for that. Not yet.

I looked down at the broken bottle and the former contents which had been soaked up by the carpet and shuddered. "Go, Allen."

"W-what?" the boy asked staring back at me his lips quivering.

"Go to your party"

His eyebrows shot up and he gasped and went running out of the room as fast as his footwear allowed. I heard his high-heels clacking against the floor just before the door creaked open and thundered shut behind him. I stared down at my fists, flexing my hand and collapsed onto the couch.

I thought about grabbing another beer, but it just didn't seem like there was any damn point. For years now I'd been looking for some clarity by guzzling the stuff, but all I ever found was another empty bottle.

The doorbell rang and I closed my eyes and just sat there hoping whoever was on the other side would just go away, but I knew that wasn't going to happen. It was Halloween after all. "Damn, trick or treaters,"I cursed under my breath and staggered to the door.

I swung the door open and felt cold air blast me in the face. "Huh? That's weird," I muttered craning my neck out the door hoping to catch sight of the culprit. No one showed themselves so I slammed the door.

"It's hard isn't it?"

I jumped and spun around to find myself facing probably the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen. I probably should have freaked out, I mean here there was this strange woman in my house, but for some reason all I could do was smile like some big dope. She was wearing a toga, had a halo over her head and a set of feathered wings to finish the whole look off. I wasn't sure how she kept the halo in place. I couldn't see any wires or anything.

"Damn good costume," I said my jaw dropping to the floor as she started to chuckle.

"It's not a costume, but I think you already know that. I usually don't show myself like this, but I figured what the heck, it's Halloween. If anyone were to see me I wouldn’t look out of place."

"Look lady, aren't you a little old to be trick or treating?"

Her hand reached out to caress my face and I stiffened at her touch. It felt so warm.

"Why did you let Allen go, Jim? I know why, but the question is can you admit it to yourself?"

Something damp touched my cheek and I reached up to wipe the tears away. I tried to tell the woman to go away, but the words just wouldn't come. Instead I said exactly what I didn't want to. "Because I'm just like him."

"I can help you, but first you must make a promise. I can give you what you’ve always desired, but you have to be willing to change.Tell me, what I want to hear. Tell me what you're going to do to make this happen."

I stood there blubbering staring at the woman in disbelief. I didn't doubt who she was and I didn't doubt that her power was real. I didn't need her to tell me what she intended, I already knew. My hands started to shake and I looked down at them as I spoke the words I thought I’d never hear myself say.

"That's the first step, and it's exactly what I wanted to hear. I can see you sincerely want to quit, but it’s difficult when you’re drowning in despair. Just remember, the gift I’m about to bestow on you won’t make you a better person. That sort of change has to come from the inside.”

The most brilliant, blinding white light filled my vision and I collapsed to the ground as I felt the world shift and turn.

***

I trembled and stood up, Allen, now Cassie clasped her hand around mine and gave me a smile of encouragement. I had been given a gift greater than anything I could have imagined. The angel had worked a miracle as she had for my daughter. The encounter had sparked a deep revelation in me and I realized that things had to change. It was a tribute to Cassie that she was being so supportive after the way I’d mistreated her for so many years.

I stood up and felt all the eyes on the room turn to me. There was no judgment or harshness in their eyes as I had feared, merely encouragement. I swallowed, bit my lip and brushed the hair out of my face before finally speaking. "My name's Rebecca and I'm an alcoholic."

*

D.A.W. is a fan of science-fiction and fantasy who brings his love of the genres to TG fiction. He is the author of “Facades” (the first Meridian story) and the "Ragnarok Rising Trilogy" (“Incompatible: Birth of a Spellbinder”, “Transfigured: Ascension of a Spellbinder” and “Destiny: Legacy of a Spellbinder”). He has contributed to several shared universes including Enemyoffun's DarkRealms Universe (“Hunger Pangs”) and Morpheus' Twisted Universe (“Virtually Twisted”).

Justin climbed out of his tiny little car and looked up at the house. The trees in the garden were red and gold now, the leaves starting to pile up on the neatly manicured lawn at their roots. The house itself was spotlessly white, big and expansive, three cars on the driveway. In truth, Justin always felt a little out of place when he came here.

He steeled himself before continuing, adjusting the oversize glasses on the end of his nose just so and pulling the ratty tee shirt that clung to his thin frame down till it covered his shallow stomach fully. The little shoulder bag he wore was digging in under ribcage so he took a moment to adjust it, suddenly very aware of the inflexible shape within.

Justin took a deep breath and walked up the path.

He could hear a dog barking within once he pressed the doorbell. Then a rapid pattering of paws as it raced to the door, followed by a more stately clacking of shoes as one of the occupants approached on the inside. Justin forced his brightest smile onto his face as the door swung slowly open to reveal his friend's mother on the other side.

"Hiya Mrs. Wilson," he said.

The woman stared at him for a brief moment, her expression neutral. Then she dusted her hands down on her apron and smiled a smile that was even brighter and more cheerful than Justin's one. "Oh Justin honey," replied the woman, brushing a lock of blonde hair that had somehow come loose from her ponytail behind her ear. "How many times do I have to tell you, call me Betty."

"Ok Mrs Wilson,"

Betty Wilson laughed throatily. "Oh aren't you the sweetest thing sometimes Justin," she told him, one hand on his shoulder and pulling him inside the house. "Hayley is up in her room. Hayley," she shouted. "Justin's here. Go on up," she added quietly for Justin's benefit, not caring about sending the young man up into her daughters room unescorted.

Well why would she, thought Justin with just a tinge of bitterness as he climbed the stairs.

"Hiya Hayls," drawled Justin as he entered his friend's room.

Hayley was lying on her bed, slender feet kicking up in the air as she played with her little pink notebook computer. She barely glanced up to look at Justin. "Give me a minute Justin. I need to post this on my wall." She kept tapping away at the tiny keyboard as Justin invited himself in and sat down on the stool by the dressing table.

The table was cluttered with knick-knacks and mementos: Photos of Hayley and her teammates in their red and gold uniforms all pulling faces and waving at the camera, little trophies she'd won dancing, a picture of Hayley and her boyfriend Chad - him looking enormous beside her thanks to the shoulder pads under his football shirt. Justin watched Hayley in the mirror as she closed her notebook and climbed off the bed. He couldn't stop his hand reaching involuntarily for his shoulder bag as Hayley wrapped her arms round his shoulders and leaned over them.

"Stupid homework," she explained before sticking her tongue out. "How does such a cute teacher give out such stupid homework."

"Mr Durras," guessed Justin. Hayley nodded. The substitute English Lit teacher was cute, if you liked that shaggy haired goofball sort of look. Justin preferred guys that were a little more built, that's all. "Don't let Chad hear you say that, he won't be able to cope with having to worry about a guy that he can't punch in the face."

Hayley burst into a fit of giggles, rolling away from Justin and sitting back on the bed cross-legged.. "You are terrible Justin Wright. So what's up," asked Hayley, cocking her head to the side. Her glossy brunette hair fell in waves around her shoulders.

"I decided what I wanted to go to the Halloween dance as Hayls," explained Justin

"Finally," grinned Hayley. "What?"

Now that he was finally here, finally telling her, Justin felt more than a little bashful. "A cheerleader," he answered in a quiet voice. He found his hand slipping inside his shoulder bag without meaning it to.

Hayley laughed again. "That would be hilarious. I mean the look on everyone's faces. Priceless." Her green eyes lit up with mischief. "You could borrow my uniform. That would give it a little verisimilitude."

"Well..." began Justin.

"Hey, it's no problem," she interrupted as she got up from the bed. "I'll give you my old one. It should fit." Hayley sauntered over to the large walk-in closet on the far side of her room.

Justin stumbled to his feet without realising it. His hand was inside his bag now, wrapped around the cold hard handle of the object inside. It was now or never.

"It's just in the back here," said Hayley, more to herself than to Justin.

Moving with purpose now, Justin strode over to behind Hayley. He coiled one arm round her slim torso to hold her in place as he whipped the knife out from his bag. He pressed the blade under her chin, not quite hard enough to break the skin.

"What are you doing," whimpered Hayley.

Justin didn't respond. Just one swift stroke was all it needed. He could lift the knife upwards, cutting into her, and the magic of the blade would part Hayley's face from her head. That same magic would see the face turned into a mask, one that he could press against his own face and everyone would see him as Hayley - her mother, all of her friends, her hunky boyfriend...

After all - if he was going to the Halloween dance as a cheerleader, he was going to go as the hottest one in the whole school.

*

Imaj mostly writes interactive fiction arcs for Seuzz's The Book of Masks universe on writing.com, of which this short story is a part of. You can read more about The Book of Masks here and here.

I moved down the dark alley feeling the rush of magic on the midnight air and gripped the crystal mounted on the handle of my cane. The thrum of energy from the crystal and the solid feel of the wood was reassuring. I’d been following the girl because I knew that to the killer, she’d be irresistible.

What I hadn’t counted on was how fast the girl could run. Suddenly, a scream rang out and just as suddenly it was choked off. I ducked my head sprinting, using the magic that flowed through my crystal to give me a boost and skidded around the corner.

“Twisted, freak of nature! I will devour that which you hate, and then feed your soul to my Master!”

‘How the hell did she get so far ahead of me?!’ I thought, racing out of the alley, my lungs burning with effort, and across the empty field.

The girl was pinned to the chain-link fence that bounded the far side of the field by an invisible force. Her knee-high boots kicked several inches above the ground, uselessly. The dark figure lifted a fist holding something that glowed a malevolent red.

“Why the hell didn’t I bring my gun,” I asked, myself, as I stumbled through a low ditch at the edge of the field.

The figure pressed his glowing fist to the girl’s forehead.

“Aaarrrr . . . eeeiiiiiiii . . .”

Her scream held a strange quality. When I’d talked to ‘Amanda’ earlier, at the Halloween party, she’d had a husky, sexy, voice. Lower than normal, that clue had been enough for me to spend the rest of the night watching her. Now that innocent voice changed timbre as I ran. ‘Just a little closer and I can cast a spell,’ I thought. ‘Hang on, Amanda!’

Now it was the killer’s turn to scream. His roar echoed weirdly, becoming deeper, and more powerful.

“IMPETUS!” I shouted, swinging my cane like a bat even though I was a dozen feet away. An invisible force slammed into the killer’s side lifting him from his feet and tossing him away. I moved forward and noticed that the red glow around the girl faded as she slid to the ground.

“Guardian!” The growl was deep and very masculine. The killer stood up and I watched in awe as he grew. The guy was big, but as I watched he went from six two to six six in four heart beats. The killer put his crystal away and pulled out a wicked looking hooked knife.

“I’m gonna gut ya, drain ya, and feed both of your souls to my master!”

In two quick steps the killer was on me. I blurred to one side and as the goon went by I hooked his foot sending him tumbling to the ground.

“I’m not some mundane. Asshole.” I growled, and sent a bolt of electricity, that arched like lightning, from my crystal into the guy before he got to his feet.

“Arrghh”

This time the heavy cry of pain gave me a sense of satisfaction. Surprisingly, he managed to stand up. As he got to his feet I used my cane to strike his wrist, “CRACK,” and the knife tumbled into the darkness. With his good hand the man tried to reach for his crystal but I was ready. I touched the crystal set into the handle of my cane to the uni-brow above the killer’s craggy eyes. With a flash of bright blue light the goon tumbled to the ground, asleep.

“If you’d actually had some training you might have been dangerous.” I said, looking down at the huge man. Then I pulled out a cell phone.

“Garth, it’s me. I got him, but we’ve got a problem.” At Garth’s growled response I sighed. Garth had transferred from Louisville to the St. Louis Coven to sponsor me into the Guardians and while I was grateful, Garth could be an uptight pain in the ass.

“The guy, Anthony, was calling himself Amanda” . . . . “Yeah, I know, but he was perfect bait. Anyway, I interrupted the rite before it was finished, but Anthony is gonna need some help” . . . . . “I know, Sarah’s going to be pissed. Look Anthony’s alive and I’ve got,” I paused and pulled a wallet from the killer’s back pocket. “Mike, in stasis.” . . . . “Okay, I’ll wait for the cleanup crew.”

I pushed the end button and suddenly the hair on the back of my neck stood up. Glancing over my shoulder I spotted a guy in a khaki trench coat and hat watching from the mouth of the alley. I took a step toward him and then heard a soft feminine moan. The girl, crumpled into a heap by the fence, was now stirring.

“Whaaa . . . what happened?” she asked, putting a delicate hand to her confused eyes.

“Umm . . . you were the victim of a magical attack, I’m sorry, I should have been quicker.”

She looked up at me with the bluest eyes and then reached down to feel her now soft chest, “I’m a girl?”

I nodded, “Yeah, the guy, Mike, he was using magic to steal masculinity and then sacrifice the new virgin to his Master. I got here too late to stop the rite but I managed to stop him from killing you. I’m not sure if we can change you back.”

A smile lit her face, “Why would I want to change back?”

*

Zapper started writing in December 2011 and has contributed a number of short and long stories to various websites, including Fictionmania and Big Closet Top Shelf. A few of his TG stories include: The Security Consultant Trilogy ("The Security Consultant," "The Consultant and the Mask," and "The Consultant and the Hounds of Heaven") the Bounty Hunters Trilogy ("Bounty Hunters," Bounty Hunters II: "Family Reunion," Bounty Hunters III: "Silas Revenge") "Conan and the Blade of Costa" and his first story, "A Favor for Anna."

Dear Stephanie

Hey, sis. First of all, I enjoyed your wedding very much, and I was quite thankful that you and Brad allowed me to be your maid of honor instead of your best man. I almost think I was more nervous than you!

But I do think I owe you an explanation. The reason I showed up in my pink dress with lace trim is because, well, I don't remember how it is I'm supposed to wear male clothing anymore. It's a weird thing, too, knowing that you should be wearing men's shirts and men's jeans, and yet not knowing what it feels like to wear them, not knowing how to wear them.

Doing up the buttons of a blouse with long fingernails, that's easy. Wearing a man's dress shirt? Aren't those buttons wrong? Do you know what carrying a wallet around in your back pocket feels like? I don't. I've carried a purse as long as I can remember, along with all my make-up. So many people ask me if wearing a skirt feels weird, but I can't figure out why they keep asking me this. They don't ask any other girls.

It all started last Halloween. Y'know, that one day a year that it's "okay" for men to wear women's clothes? I know I was dating Francine at the time, but I can't for the life of me remember actually being with her. I just remember her as a great girlfriend, but not as a girlfriend, if you get what I mean. Anyway, there we were. I was dressed as a very busty nurse (wearing a padded bra, as opposed to the breasts I've since grown thanks to hormones), she was dressed as an accident victim.

We went to a party at some college dorm. I think Francine's sister went to this college, I'm not sure anymore. The point is, this party is what changed me, permanently. I know that I, for one, had too many drinks. Yeah, I know what you're thinking. "Sixteen year old having too many drinks? That's a big surprise!" Anyway, there we were, I was drinking too much, and eventually, I know I passed out.

I woke up in what looked like a frickin' space ship. I know you're gonna say I'm crazy, or that it was all just Halloween decorations (who decorates their place like a space ship for Halloween?), but I know I was in a space ship. I felt something metal against my head, felt a sharp electric jolt go through my skull, and then I was out cold again. I didn't even get a look at who or what was in the space ship.

I woke up the second time on a couch at the party. Francine was laughing about how I couldn't keep my liquor down, but I knew something was off. First of all, when have you ever seen a man sitting with his legs crossed one over the other at the knee the way mine were? I walked into the bathroom and sat down to pee. I tried standing up to pee, but it just felt... wrong. It felt like I was just being foolish even thinking I could stand to pee.

I returned to the party, ready to tell Francine that something was wrong with me, and then, much to my surprise, she kissed me! I immediately recoiled, ready to gag. She asked me what was wrong, and I told her. She looked at me as though I'd just shot the Pope, or something. She asked me why I was acting like a fag, but my mind at the time couldn't understand what it was she was talking about. I wanted to know why she was acting like a lesbian!

So, that was the last time we "dated". Halloween. The night my life changed in ways I simply can't describe anymore. I went home alone, and I was disgusted at the sight of all the male clothes in my closet and my dresser. I had and have absolutely no memories of ever wearing boxers or briefs. I've worn panties since I was out of diapers, and I've worn bras since a few weeks after my eleventh birthday, like a lot of other girls my age. Where were all of my clothes, I wondered.

Needless to say, Mom and Dad were pretty freaked that their sixteen year old son wanted to crossdress, even though said sixteen year old son didn't think of it as crossdressing.

I hope you understand, Stephie. I don't remember a day of my life as this boy people keep telling me I was. I simply remember being the girl that I am. Mom and Dad have since calmed down, thankfully, and have decided to just go with me on this. People at school, on the other hand, are a little different. They either hate me or don't care. Well, then there are the boys that stare at my boobs, but that's just par for the course, I assume. I wanted to try out for the cheer squad last week, but I've since been banned from any sort of school team, because of my "transgender status". I get to use the girls' restrooms and locker rooms, but other girls don't like me to change in front of them.

So, yeah. That's why I wore a dress at your wedding. I'm only writing you this letter because Mom asked me to. I didn't think I needed to, since we've been sisters forever, but I did it to please Mom. I hope you don't hate me or anything. Thanks for reading this.

Your baby sister,

Brian Mae Miller

*

Hikaro has been reading transgender stories for some years now, but only broke into the writing business in late 2011, when he posted his first story to TG Storytime. Since then, he's garnered critical acclaim (in his own mind) with stories like "A First-Person Account" and "Brave New World". An odd sort of man, he likes to claim he has drinks with Elvis on the Titanic during the weekends.

I looked over at the man sitting quietly, expectantly, waiting. The device that looked like a tape recorder sat between us. I ignored it and looked up in time to spot the waitress as she brought me my pie, apple, with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream.

“Mmmm . . . Thanks, Daphne,” I said, reading her name tag and picking up a fork.

Daphne nodded, reached into her apron and pulled out a small pad of paper and a pencil from behind her ear. “So, what can I get you?”

The man across from me looked up and gave Daphne a bland look. “My friend isn’t hungry, can you bring him a glass of water?” I said.

“Sure,” Daphne said flashing me a smile.

Are you ready? The question, was asked in a mild tone and the figure nodded toward the device.

“Mhmm,” I said, and then immediately cut off a piece of pie with my fork, making sure to get some of the melting ice cream on it before eating it. I looked over at him and felt bad, “What’s it like to not eat?”

The man just looked at me and then blandly said, What is it like to breathe?

“Necessary.” I said, trying to be a smart-ass.

Yes.

There was a long pause and I realized that was all the answer I was going to get. I ate more pie, taking my time, trying to regain control of the conversation. I’d been told about the mysterious Recorders, they were some kind of supernatural beings and the Coven wanted to learn more.

“Where would you like me to start?”

At the beginning.

“Okay, I remember my grandparents’ house. It had a huge staircase with a bannister. My brother and I loved sliding down it, although it drove my mother crazy.”

He let out a sigh, Not that far back.

“Oh, alright, I remember walking to the bus stop on the first day of kindergarten. I felt so big, my mother watched me from the porch of our farmhouse and waved when I looked back. We lived on a dirt road and the walk took me just out of sight. At the bus stop there was a little girl, Susie, she lived at the next closest farm. She had blonde pigtails and liked to twirl in her dress.”

The bland expression changed to a look of annoyance, Why don’t you start with how you met Meka and why you agreed to trade bodies with her?

I felt the blood drain from my face, “How do you know about that?”

This time it was his turn to look . . . well, smug.

We collect the stories.

I reached up and ran a hand through my hair, “It all started out with this weird post on the hyper-board of a website called Fictionmania.”

[Archivist's Note: see On The Run with John and Meka]

*

Subject: John Zaprov

Duration: 00.45.38

Date: 12/10/2014

00.28.15 - 00.41.53

For anyone who hasn't read them, pitch us your stories?

Hmmm, each story has its own synopsis, so I suppose this is more of a stylistic question. My stories tend to involve, magic, mystery, mayhem, and body-swapping set in an alternate realities, similar to our own. That is, of course, a generalization of my work.

I’ve written stories set in the middle-ages and stories where technology caused the transformation or body-swap. More than anything else I try to write a story with interesting characters, and a plot more complex than just a transformation or body swap. For me the transformation or swap has to be an intrinsic part of the larger story.

So if you’re looking for something complex with interesting characters dealing with a variety of problems then I think you’ll enjoy my stories.

Most useful piece of writing advice you've ever received?

This is a bit tough because I’ve been lucky enough to get advice from some really talented writers. I’d say there are two things that have stuck with me.

1. Characters drive plot. For a story to be really good, the character has to be relatable, realistic, and has to grow and change during the course of the story. So I try to take the time to write up a character outline. Know who he/she is before you start writing and then who he/she will be at the end of the story is very useful.

2. Show don’t tell. This is really hard to do. The story flows better, reads smoother, and is a much more enjoyable expertise if the author doesn’t just start listing things.

The transformation was complete and Mike looked in the mirror feeling stunned by his golden hair, 36D breasts, 22 inch waist, and 30 inch hips.

Ugh, . . . so boring. First of all there are better ways to describe a figure without resorting to listing a bra size. (I did this several times in early stories before I figured that out.) Second it’s much more interesting if you can figure out a way to interact with the scene and pass on the information without creating a list.

The transformation was complete and Mike ran his hands through his long golden hair and shivered in pleasure. With a sense of anticipation he explored a little lower cupping his full breasts and gasped at the sensations assaulting his male brain. Moving down from those sensitive orbs Mike was surprised by the tightly toned skin over his impossibly narrow waist. Then he laughed in delight as his hands explored the curving flair of his feminine hips.

In the second para the reader gets a lot more than a list of features. I know it’s not always possible to do that, sometimes you just have to describe but trying to minimize that creates a much more readable story.

The below link is to Mekalicious blog if you scroll down you’ll find 14 tips I review from time to time. They’ve helped me become a better writer. Thank you Meka!

http://mekasoulstorm.wordpress.com/category/writing-tips/

What books have influenced you the most as a writer?

Ah, how much time do you have? I’ve always been an avid reader. I LOVE to read. I’ve got over 80 books on my kindle right now and more books in my house than a used book store! That passion for reading led me to try my hand at writing. So a few books:

Early Zapper:

“The Scottish Chiefs” by Jane Porter

“The Fighting Prince of Donegal” by Robert T. Reilly

Everything by Piers Anthony

The Belgariad series by David and Leigh Eddings

Everything by Jack L. Chalker

Everything by J.R.R. Tolkin

Middle Zapper:

“I will fear no evil” by Robert A. Heinlein

Everything by Orson Scott Card

The Wild Cards Series Edited by George R.R. Martin

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Recent Zapper:

Everything by Robert Jordan

Everything by Jim Butcher

Everything by Tom Clancy

An assortment of Military History and Autobiographies

Last but not least a popular TG author with the pen-name Morpheus

There are plenty of others but I’ll stop here.

In your more recent stories you've started to focus on Female to Male Transformations. Can you tell us a bit about that?

I started out writing about men transformed into woman and that was a challenge. Then as I looked for new ways to push myself I decided to try to do something from the female POV. I quickly discovered that as a male, writing a female first person, is challenging. I’ve been lucky enough to have a couple female friends other authors offer advice, that’s helped a lot.

The second reason is that there aren’t that many (comparatively speaking) good stories on most TG story sites with female to male stories. Particularly ones that focus on the female POV. So to some extent I’m trying to fill a little of that void.

Lastly, I’ve found the idea of a woman becoming a man has sort of captured my muse. So as long as she’s being held hostage I might as well roll with it! Lol

How do you think you've changed as a writer since you started publishing stories.

This is a hard question to answer. If I really think about it I suppose there are two aspects. The first is that I’ve developed a process to help with the mechanics. Outlines, reviews, proofreading, aging a story, and editing. When I first started writing I’d get an idea rush to get the story written and then go through it once looking for mistakes. What I’ve learned since then is that the actual time spent writing out the story is about 40% of the time I require to create something worth reading. Beyond that there are creative writing concepts like the ones that Meka talks about on her blog that I’d not thought of before I started writing.

The second, and more meaningful change is that I’ve made several friends, authors, reviewers, and beta readers. Their friendship has done more to “change” me as an author than the act of writing.

Your stories are packed with fights and battles and all sorts of magical mayhem. Can you tell us a bit about how you write action scenes.

I’ve always been interested in action packed stories and movies so my writing kinda follows that interest. Part of the answer goes back to the stories and authors I talked about earlier in this interview. Most of those authors really know how to write a great action scene filled with all kinds of ideas about magic. Another part is that I’ve been studying martial arts my whole life. I started Tae Kwon Do at age ten. I wrestled in High School, earned Nidan in Aikido, and trained in Judo, Jiu Jitsu, and Arnis. Roll all of that into an active imagination about how magic could be used in a fight and well . . . that’s the main influence for most of my fight scenes. I’ve also read a bunch of military history and I try to add some of that in when I write about urban fighting and small unit tactics. I think that helps.

I’ve had several people comment that a lot of my writing has a Jim Butcher feel. I take that as high praise since he’s one of my favorite authors, but I’m not trying to copy his ideas. I think a lot of my “battle” magic concepts come from Jordan’s ideas on magic. That is drawing power into you and then using that power to do what you need. Normally I can see a fight or the use of magic in my mind’s eye and then I start writing.

Any final thoughts?

I’d like to thank PersnicketyBitch for starting his monthly anthology. It’s been a ton of fun to participate in and I’ve become friends with several of the authors I’ve met through this project.

I’d also like to encourage anyone out there who is thinking of writing and submitting a story. Give it a try. I’ve gotten to the point where I have as much fun writing a story as I do reading other peoples stories.

My last bit of advice, though, is to have thick skin. Some people will like what you write, others will hate it, and sometimes you may not get a lot of feedback. That’s okay, as long as you’re happy with a story, then it’s a success!

Hi, PersnicketyBitch here. This new segment is a simple one. Every month either myself and/or my fellow contributors will share with you five outstanding books and/or movies and/or videos and/or articles and/or games and/or anything and everything else about writing, sex or LGBT issues. So without any further faffing about, let’s begin:

Writing

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, former editor Lynne Truss, gravely concerned about our current grammatical state, boldly defends proper punctuation. She proclaims, in her delightfully urbane, witty, and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. Using examples from literature, history, neighborhood signage, and her own imagination, Truss shows how meaning is shaped by commas and apostrophes, and the hilarious consequences of punctuation gone awry.

[PersnicketyBitch: I’m hopeless at retaining anything grammar and punctuation related, so I can’t tell you exactly what I learned from this. I’m pretty sure some of it sunk in though. I remember a lot of the jokes and that Lynne Truss writes great sentences]

Fiction

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

"I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974. . . My birth certificate lists my name as Calliope Helen Stephanides. My most recent driver’s license...records my first name simply as Cal."

So begins the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family who travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City, and the race riots of 1967, before they move out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction. Lyrical and thrilling, Middlesex is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.

[PersnicketyBitch: Middlesex is a novel of two parts. The first is mostly about the immigrant experience. The second is Calliope/Cal’s story. A majority of the people who I know who’ve read this really like one part, and are ambivalent towards or dislike the other. I think both sections are wonderful, but a tad too disparate. The book is less than the sum of its parts, but only a little bit, and I still love it. I love this book. I really, really love this book. If you’ve read it, what do you think?]

Sex/Sexuality

The Crimson Wave (Podcast)

Comedians Natalie Norman and Jess Beaulieu co-host The Crimson Wave, a feminist podcast that explores the glorious topic of PERIODS.

[PersnicketyBitch: Here’s something to think about as you listen to the show: the hosts and their guests experience their bodies in different ways. Pay attention to how they relay their experiences as anecdotes. Use what you learn to give your “adjusting to his/her new body” scenes more verisimilitude.]

Current Events

Here’s a cardboard box talking about video games

[PersnicketyBitch: Though this is still the best summary:

gamergate.png

]

Just For Laughs

You know, the advice in this video is actually pretty legit

Submissions Wanted For November’s Mixed Tape

If you want to be part of November’s Mixed Tape e-mail your submission to [email protected].

The guidelines are:

· Write a short piece no longer than 500 words.

·

· Write a short “Also by this author” blurb.

·

· The finished anthology will be published on Big Closet, TG Storytime and Fictionmania. Make sure you have accounts set up on all three sites (all are free to join). I want to get as many authors credited on each site as possible.

·

Submissions are due by Sunday the 16th of November 2014. All contributors will be able to read and feedback each submission as it comes in. If at any point you prior to publication decide that you don’t want your work to be represented in the collection it then you may withdraw your contribution. Publication will (hopefully) occur on Sunday the 23th.

Acknowledgements

One more thing, I’d like to extend a big thankyou to all the authors who contributed and helped critique Shivering With Antci… pation. Especially Zapper, who in addition to the contribution you’ve read, wrote the Mixed Tape Mythos segment for his interview, the answers to my stickybeaking, and a second contribution which wasn’t included in this collection, but which he has expanded on and published as a stand-alone and which you can read here.

Until next time, or until I hear from you.

PersnicketyBitch



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