Monday, October 24, 2016

Roscoe the Clown

It's the month of October, which means one thing...Halloween. This year things got a little...funny. Or maybe not so funny. A lot of people have been clowning around, as we all know from what we've seen on the news. Creepy clowns walking the streets, attacking people, scaring children, making threats on social media, and even doing an interview on one of my local news stations. It's crazy! (That's the tagline for Killer Clowns From Outer Space, by the way.)

To celebrate the madness, I thought I would make my own contribution in the form of a free story. It's a short one. You can read it in less time that it takes to check your twitter feed for the latest Killa Clown sighting. No really, it's that short, but it packs a punch...or maybe a squirt of hydrochloric acid from a fake flower?

Go ahead and play the music above if you are in the position to do so. It will accompany the story quite nicely.


Roscoe the clown was looking pale--well, beneath the white greasepaint, bright red painted lips and dark circles around his eyes, he was as pale as death.

His demeanor was lacking. The buoyancy of his gait had been reduced to something along the lines of a lethargic narcoleptic, always appearing to be one step away from collapsing on the ground, or perhaps falling and crushing a gleeful child.

The eyes were gruesome to behold, but the children didn’t seem to care, just the parents that would grab their child’s hand and hurriedly rush them away as if Roscoe would grab and violate them.

“Hey kids!” The voice came from Roscoe’s crooked mouth muffled and low.  “Do you want to see a trick?”

If it weren’t for the smile painted on his face, the kids would have been more aware of the slack jaw with the dried spittle and blood decorating the corners of his mouth.

The kids were uninterested as if they couldn’t hear the faint voice of Roscoe the clown.  They walked away in search of a livelier clown, or perhaps some cotton candy.

Roscoe retreated to his trailer, his steps stiff like a silver screen zombie.

Inside, he collapsed on the bed.  From the back of his colorfully striped clown suit there was movement, and then little hands began unbuttoning the large buttons.

Larry pulled the clown suit back and exited the hollowed out cavity of Roscoe’s body.  The interior had been lined with plush leather--well, as plush as a midget could afford on a carnival wage.  The legs were equipped with stilts that his feet strapped into, the arms with a series of grips fastened to Rosco’s tendons that allowed Larry to manipulate the dead clown’s hands. He was looking forward to showing the children the trick he learned to do with his crude manipulations, but they weren’t paying attention to him.

Roscoe’s body was beginning to rot and it was harder every day for Larry to mask the odor, but he wanted to do just one trick for the kiddies, just one balloon animal.

Larry grabbed a microphone and gutted his stereo system.  If the kids couldn’t hear his muffled voice within Roscoe’s body, damn-it, he would just have to wire the clown for sound.


So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my little Halloween treat. If you did and you would like more, please check out my Amazon page, featuring my latest release, Salpsan.

"Robert Essig has crafted one creepy-as-hell tale of modern gothic horror that sets an ominous tone from the first few words and never lets up. Told from the POV of an unconventional narrator with secrets of her own, Salpsan is a dark, dark story that will prove you wrong several times when you think you know where it's going. I enjoyed it immensely, and can't wait to read more from this writer!" -- James Newman, author of Odd Man Out, Animosity, and Ugly As Sin

"With Salspan, Essig takes you on a twisted journey through the Spanish hillside; one full of intrigue, memorable characters and hellish encounters. This is a story that will stick with you, long after turning the last page. --K. Trap Jones, author of The Charm Hunter, The Sinner and The Harvester

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Dark Moon Digest Celebrates Six Years!

It's almost Halloween, and that means a new issue of Dark Moon Digest,from the fine folks at Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing. Number 25, to be exact, and that also marks their six year anniversary. Congratulations to Max Booth III and Lori Michelle for continuing to publish this nifty horror magazine, and to Stan Swanson for starting it all back in 2010.

This issue also marks my first time being published in Dark Moon Digest, along with my cohort in evil, Jack Bantry. Our story "A Lesson in Renegade Filmmaking" follows the budding friendship between an odd video store clerk and a young kid who has a hankering for horror films. The clerk has a lot of knowledge to teach the young kid about the finer points of horror film history, but how much is too much?

I love this story. It's a cool little coming of age tale that incorporates some of my favorite horror movies, and it I feel that it winds the reader up for quite a wallop. This one is for all of you out there with a deep love for classic horror films.

Get your copy straight from the publisher, or from Amazon.

Monday, October 17, 2016

"High Fashion" Horror

SplatterpunkZine is an old school little DIY zine, a throwback to the punk rock and horror fiction zines of the 80s and 90s. Founded by Jack Bantry several years ago, SplatterpunkZine has rolled out seven issues with fiction by a number of well known modern horror fiction authors such as J F Gonzalez, Ryan C. Thomas, Shane McKenzie, Jeff Strand, Tim Curran and many more. I have been fortunate to have written a story with Jack that was published in issue #4, and been reviewing books for both the zine and website for a few years now.

What's the next step? A collection of short fiction by some of the Splatterpunk roster as well as some new blood. Oh, by the way, Bantry has a message for you:  SPLATTERPUNK'S NOT DEAD!

I was asked to contribute a story and, of course, I couldn't resist. My offering, "High Fashion," is about a washed up young fashion designer, Jordan, whose boss is desperate to see his designs on the runway again, but tired of dealing with someone who seems to have lost his mojo. When push comes to shove, how far is Jordan willing to go to recapture the magic that put his fashions on magazine covers and red carpets?

This was kind of a strange story for me to write. I'm not into fashion whatsoever. Not even the slightest bit, but I recall some show my wife used to watch that had to do with the fashion industry. I remember thinking it was strange how the designer looked so washed up and drab, even though she was some kind of fashion guru. That always stuck with me, that someone would be so dedicated toward their passion for fashion that they would completely let themselves go (or so it appeared that way--she was probably just comfortable).

The final scene burned in my mind, and though I know very little about the fashion industry, I did a little bit of research to create a cohesive story to lead the reader on a gruesome road to that lingering image. I hope you enjoy it.

Get your copy HERE! You won't be disappointed!

Book Review: Punk Rock Ghost Story

My review of David Agranoff's PUNK ROCK GHOST STORY is up at SplatterPunkZine.

 Take an entire discography of old school punk and hardcore, a haunted van, add a dash of angry youth, a liberty Mohawk, some drugs and alcohol, and you’ve got yourself a driving force of a novel that pushes the boundaries of the serial killer and ghost story tropes and binds them together with the gritty underground of 80’s punk. What I’m talking about is David Agranoff’s PUNK ROCK GHOST STORY.

Read the rest of the review HERE.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

New Local Horror Anthology

There's a brand spanking new anthology from Grand Mal Press featuring some of San Diego's horror writers including myself, as well as David Agranoff, Ryan C. Thomas, Chad Stroup, Anthony Trevino, and Brian Killian.

My story "Starving Artist" examines with the horror of dealing with an uninvited house guest who will NOT go away.

This book is available in paperback right now, with the kindle version to follow soon.