Daniel I. Russell is the author of Entertaining Demons, Samhane, Retard, Come Into Darkness, Critique, The Collector Book 1: Mana Leak, Mother's Boys and the huge collection Tricks, Mischief and Mayhem. Daniel is a HWA active member and represented by the Tobias Literary Agency, NYC. Daniel has also been the vice-president of the Australian Horror Writers' Association, special guest editor of Midnight Echo, associate and technical editor for Necrotic Tissue, and Shadow Awards judge.
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Thursday, May 28, 2009Free 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.
THE VENDING MACHINE
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."
"Either bad quality meat…or escapees."
"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.
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.
"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.