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Daniel I Russell - Writer of Horror Fiction

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Free horror fiction: The Vending Machine

A bit of free fiction for your delectation and delight. Published in Night to Dawn #10 a few years back.

By Daniel I Russell

On the twenty-second floor of the Pier House building, Carlos stood by the window and looked down at the nightlife filling every shadowed street.

"Why do think they still celebrate?"

Poyntev glanced up from a sheet of paper, one of hundreds covering the desk.

"It was a long time before the revolution. Maybe you are too young to fully appreciate what we achieved. I wish I was down there with them, instead of dealing with all this." He threw up a hand full of printed sheets. “Anyway, come back from the window. We need to get on with this."

Carlos returned to his seat. The surface was covered in sheets and empty paper cups.

"Right. I have last year's projections. It seems ten percent of our stock was either returned or lost."

"The reason?"

"Either bad quality meat…or escapees."

"Damn them..."

"We could suggest in the report to make the latest livestock control regulations compulsory. This would raise this year's overheads, but save in the long run."

"We can put it forward in the next meeting."

"This is killing me," moaned Carlos.

"Mine friend, you know that if we do not complete this report, we will get it in the neck. But we take a break, yes?"

Carlos nodded and got up from his chair. "I hear they have restocked the vending machine."


Both left the confining office and walked down the corridor leading to the lobby. The vending machine stood next to the lifts.

"Let's see…" Carlos studied the list of contents. "So much to choose from…"

"Just hurry up, mine stomach is growling."


Carlos dropped the two coins in the slot and pressed the buttons.

Inside the vending machine, a door slid open at the rear. From the darkness beyond, a figure emerged, prodded forwards into the small cubicle.

A young man stood naked, his arms wrapped around his body in a vain attempt to keep warm. He stood shivering behind the glass of the vending machine.

He banged his fists on the inside, violently shaking his head and shouting.

Praise the night for soundproof glass, Carlos thought.

The vending machine vibrated slightly, which caused the stock inside to stop his begging and nervously look around.

The inner sides of the machine started to come together with a mechanical hum. Hundreds of straight razor blades pinged out, the moving sides becoming a Mexican wave of glistening metal.

"So, you think we'll get this report finished by sun up?" Carlos asked.

"I am confident, yes."

Inside, the man stood sideways to stop his shoulders catching on the razors. Still, the sides slowly rumbled together.

"Might even be a nice bonus if we do a good job…"

The man inside squealed.

"And I think I am ready for promotion…"

The sides stopped their progress as the blades touched the figure. He winced at the sharp edges of metal pressing lightly into his chest, legs and back.

Poyntev nodded over Carlos' shoulder.

"Is stuck."

"Damn thing."

Carlos gave it a stout kick and the machine once again rumbled into life. The razors swept from side to side in a glittery blur. Blood, thick and dark, splashed onto the glass.

A small paper cup dropped out of a slot at the bottom of the machine. It immediately filled with blood.


Carlos bent down and picked it up, just as the machine came to a stop.

He took a sip, the coppery taste instantly causing his fangs to lengthen and hang over his bottom lip. He pulled the cup back in disgust.

"Aw shit!"

"What?" asked Poyntev.

"I hate getting lumps!"

He dipped his thumb and forefinger into the cup and picked out half an ear that floated on top. He threw this into a bin next to the vending machine.

Poyntev had by now retrieved his coins from the confines of his trouser pocket.

"What you going to have?" asked Carlos. He drank from the cup and gave himself a dirty red moustache.

The floor of the vending machine opened, and the mangled body of the young man fell through.

Consulting the amount of change in his pocket, Poyntev took out two shiny coins.

"I think I deserve treat after working so long," he said and dropped the money in the slot. He made his selection. Drool began to flow over his caked bottom lip and down his pasty white chin as a small, weeping girl was ushered into the vending machine.


Posted this because I was sick to death of reading vampire submissions! Try and do something new with the genre please. I'm not saying this is perfect (far from it) but might hopefully give some potential vampire authors a new angle to consider. Hope you enjoyed it.

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Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 3:53 pm :: 6 comments

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Time for a little celebration

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The Necrotic Tissue submissions for April are finished! It's nice to have an empty inbox. The slush pile is now just a nice flat plain. You can see the horizon, the sky, the trees. Oh look, a bird.

Can't believe how relieved the boss (Captain Aaaar! Scott McCoy - That's OUR Scott McCoy for the Werepig gang) must feel. Must be like the changing of the seasons for him. April submissions are done and now we have the reading period of July to look forward to. Please, please, please feel free to submit your best horror fiction to Necrotic Tissue, but READ THE GUIDELINES! Enough said.

Other then that, it's been a quiet day here at Manji Towers. Authors often complain that other things get in the way of their writing - award ceremonies, book signings, movie deals to sort out. Personally, I feel all that guff is for losers, so have turned it all down to help the family with the washing. I feel it's time better spent. I mean, no one's going to give you a multi-million pound movie deal when you have beans down your t shirt. So we have lots of clean washing, had a good steak for tea, the kids are in the bath, I finished my NT subs...and still managed 1000 words. Not a lot on the writing front, but I feel it's been a productive day.

Personally though, its been mixed. I found out today that our 3 year old daughter has been picked out as artistically gifted and is being encouraged to find and attend art classes. I'm so proud of her and we'll certainly be looking into it in the near future. On the bad side...well, obviously I can't go into details, but judge not lest thee be judged. Oh, and as most of the aussies I've met over here will tell you, being English does not make you a snob! People can be different. Some people should learn to accept that.

I know this is meant to be a horror writing blog, but I just want to say a big thank you to my partner Sherie, who has been so supportive while I've been reading the submissions and slogging through the first part of Tainted Nature these last few weeks. Thank you!x

Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 6:47 pm :: 1 comments

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday Bloody Sunday

If this post is riddled with typos, it's because a) it's late and my contact lenses are fogging up, and b) this wireless keyboard needs new batteries. There's my excuses out before I get any 'and you're supposed to be a published novelist' comments.

Well, it's Sunday. Have I any news? Not really. Strap yourself in for a really exciting blog! Had a family weekend with no writing at all. Been through a host of family films: Small Soldiers (child horror! Yay! The communications soldier looked like something designed by Charles Band), Men in Black, Spiderman, Mouse Hunt (surprisingly very enjoyable) and Australia (which isn't authentic at all. There wasn't ONE Timtam featured).

We also had the pleasure of watching a short indie film called Bridgetown. Now Bridgetown is the next town from us, and we have relatives there, so was quite excited to watch this. It runs at only 15 mins, and was like the first 15 minutes of 28 Days Later (without the monkey lab scene at the very beginning). I was very impressed with it, despite the lack of action. Shot very well.

But alas, no writing. Want to get the first part of Tainted Nature finished this week and do a quick short. Had an idea of something that might work after all the shorts I've read for Necrotic Tissue this week. SOmething featuring everyone's favourite monster hunter (no, not her, the other one), Brian Rathbone of Samhane fame. Working title of Seed of Evil. Can't wait to get stuck in!

Again, please leave a comment or pm me on facebook if you want a link to your page listed on the left. Got a few I need to update, but it's far too late to start with HTML buggery.

Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 8:25 pm :: 0 comments

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pathetic Fallacy

A few more tweaks and the blog page is finally getting there. See the book covers along the right hand side there? They're all the same size now. I know, you're agasp at my technical skills...

What the hell happened to the great Aussie weather? The house has been buffeted by heavy winds, blasted by torential rain and there was a thunderclap in the night that made the bed shake. I don't really mind it, but the tree scraping the side of the house, the noise of bins blowing down the street and the dog barking at all this across the road is very distracting. Doesn't the weather know I have another novel to write?! (Multiple punctuations there, very unprofessional, but I'll let it slide this time). Hoping to get back to my current WIP and finish part 1 this week.

Oh! Things I forgot yesterday. If anyone would like me to provide a link to their website or blog, mail me at the address at the top of the page, or alternatively, message me through Facebook. I'll be happy to oblige. Secondly, I forgot to post the Creature Feature trailer.

Hope the weather's better where you are!

Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 11:04 am :: 4 comments

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The bad smell returns...

It's good to be back. But then again, I haven't really been away anywhere. The domination of myspace and facebook allowed my attention of this place to dwindle and fade to nothing...

But thanks to the Ghost Writer Publications blogroll that linked to this page, I rediscovered it, cleared out the cobwebs and tumble weeds and decided to maintain its upkeep. If you're reading this, thank you sincerly for stopping by. Please leave a message so I know you stopped by.

And what a time to start all over again! It's been quite the week. Firstly, the sage-like R.Scott McCoy has made me the new submissions editor over at Necrotic Tissue. It's an exciting time, as the magazine crosses over from the hugely successful ezine to the world of print. I'm thrilled to be on board. I've followed this magazine closely since being featured in the debut issue way back when. Scott puts his heart into the mag (explains the meaty smell), and it shows.

I believe we're currently closed to submissions while we catch up on Mount Slushpile, but please feel free to visit the site by clicking on the link below.

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Should you feel flush, there's details of our subscriptions on the site also. Necrotic Tissue delivered straight to your door? Can't go wrong. A subscription or purchase of the EXCELLENT Malpractice: An Anthology of Bedside Terror also counts towards this year's Horror Bailout. Support your small presses!

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Other news is that of another anthology release, this time from Ghost Writer Publications. Creature Feature is available from 1st June and packs in 21 horrific stories from mythical beasts to killer moths. It's also a must have for Guy N Smith fans, who is the featured author. Watch this space for further news.

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There have been further developments in a few other projects (news to be revealed further down the line!) as well as away from the writing world. My partner Sherie and I were overjoyed to see our first child on the ultrasound again. At 13 weeks, it is quite an active little thing!

Oh, and before I go, be sure to check out the Funky Werepig on Blog Talk Radio, Sunday, 9pm EST.

Until next week...

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Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 4:33 pm :: 3 comments

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