Fucked-Up Bedtime Stories #2: Little Donkey by Peter Caffrey

Arnold and Jimmy the Chimp are up to no good yet again as Christmas approaches. The school is preparing their annual Christmas performance, and Arnold initially believes he’s being left out, without a role to play. When Arnold is tasked with handling the donkey for the nativity play, it’s only a matter of time before everything goes wrong.
Problems with erectile dysfunction from his father provide Arnold and Jimmy with all the inspiration they need, and Terry the donkey has the excitement of his life ahead of him. As a prank becomes an unforgettable nightmare for the students and family in attendance, Christmas will never be the same again.
As with all of the Fucked-Up Bedtime Stories, Peter Caffrey provides us with audio narration of this delectably depraved tale that is unsuitable for all but the most emotionally and psychologically scarred children and the adults they grow up to become. The quality of his narration is no less impressive than many of the professional audiobook narrators on the market, so readers/listeners have no cause for disappointment.

This title was released through http://www.godless.com as part of the AntiChristmas event for December of 2021. You can obtain a copy for yourself by going to the website or downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:

Season’s Creepings by Theresa Derwin

If you’re looking for some new Christmas stories to read aloud in front of the crackling fire while everyone sips at hot chocolate, these might not be the stories you’re looking for. Do people still do things like that with their families? I’m just going to assume that they do. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe these are precisely the stories you want to read to children and extended family as everyone gathers for the holidays. I’m not one to judge those things.
Theresa Derwin has assembled a lovely collection of Christmas-themed horror with Seasons Creepings. Perhaps it is a bit unusual that I was reading this in February, but I didn’t judge you about sitting around a fire and reading these stories to your children, so I’d appreciate it if you extend me the same courtesy.
The collection begins with the amusing Fifty Hades of Grey. A group of middle-aged women gathers together to exchange Christmas gifts, but one of those presents isn’t quite the innocent gag gift that it seems. A lady doesn’t reach a certain age without knowing how to handle a surprise or two, though.
‘Twas the Night provides us with a new interpretation of the familiar poem, replete with scathing social commentary.
With The Red Queen, we’re introduced to a new acquaintance and admirer of Charles Dickens, as she nudges him along in the writing of A Christmas Carol. Some stories live on forever, and maybe it’s fitting that the authors do as well…assuming they keep writing.
Night of the Living Dead Turkey shares an epistolic account of the zombie apocalypse brought about by infected turkeys. Unfortunately, this zoonotic virus might be more dangerous than the standard avian flu.
For proof that revenge isn’t necessarily a dish best served cold, Last Christmas is a tale of infidelity, friendship, and the perfect holiday meal.
And finally, A Contemporary Christmas Carol provides us with a glimpse of Mr. Scrooge’s regrets as he witnesses his former life of wealth and comfort eroded thanks to the interference of ghosts and the writing of Dickens himself. Sometimes our characters aren’t quite as enthusiastic about what we put them through as we portray them as being, and this is a fine example of that.
Theresa Derwin has compiled a terrific little Christmas collection that’s sure to be perfect for the dysfunctional family gathering. I only wish I’d read this a couple of months ago instead of waiting until I’m either two months late or ten months early.

This title was released through http://www.godless.com as part of the AntiChristmas event for December of 2021. You can pick it up for yourself by going to the website or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device. The link follows:

The Proud & The Dumb by Bob Freville

The Proud & The Dumb manages to be simultaneously hilarious and depressing, irreverent and poignant. There’s a message in Freville’s story. Sadly, the people who should benefit from that message are probably just as incapable of reading at the appropriate grade level as Liam, Connie, and Gunther. It’s up to the rest of us to enjoy this bitter, sarcastic, and cynical glimpse into an evening amidst a small crew of white nationalists in the midwest.
Nothing is quite as it seems, and least of all Curry, the compatriot this trio of imbecilic alt-right gentlemen suspect of being a closet-libtard. Desperate to keep his former associates from killing him in cold blood, Curry talks circles around the other three, calling into question the coherence and consistency of the beliefs they supposedly stand for in their neverending battle against immigrants, homosexuals, and liberals. But is it simple desperation or a more sinister objective pushing Curry to test the limits of the tolerance of his three former friends, as well as their intellects?
While there isn’t much wit to be found in the characters populating this novelette, from the trio of alt-right fellas to the police who find themselves dealing with this unfortunate assortment of dregs, there’s plenty of wit in Freville’s storytelling. He expertly showcases examples of the seemingly limitless barrage of inconsistent, incoherent, and–frequently–incompatible beliefs espoused by groups just like those featured in The Proud & The Dumb. Within these few pages, we’re exposed to so many contradictory statements from the characters that we can only wish it was satire; but that same duration spent listening to people who travel in these social circles would quickly erase any hope of that being true.
The truest absurdity of this tale is that the truth is stranger than fiction.

This story was released on http://www.godless.com during the AntiChristmas event for December of 2021. You can obtain it for yourself by going to the website or downloading the Godless app to your mobile device. The link is below:

Merry and Bright by Matt Henshaw

This story begins with what appears to be a charming little family gathered together near the tree to open presents on Christmas morning. Of course, knowing that this is a story from Matt Henshaw should give you pause, and provide some indication that things will not remain so tame and prosaic.
It isn’t until grandma and uncle arrive with three presents left near the front door that things begin to change for the worse. Driven by compulsion, the trio of Daniel, Sally, and Billy start unwrapping the presents with disastrous consequences.
A lump of coal is just fine with me if that’s an alternative to what happens to this family when they find themselves on Santa’s naughty list. Thankfully, Henshaw isn’t in R&D at Santa’s workshop, because Christmas would be a rather different experience for a lot of people.

This story was released as part of the AntiChristmas event at http://www.godless.com for December of 2021. You can obtain it for yourself by going to the website or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:

Lost Soul by Rayne Havok

To suggest that Rayne Havok’s Lost Soul is shocking would come as no surprise to fans of her spectacular output. What might be surprising is the lack of violence, blood, and gore found within these pages. The things that should astonish absolutely no one are the exquisite quality of the writing and the commanding emotional depth exhibited within this story.
I’m going to resist the urge to tell readers much about this story because I want them to go in fresh, but I’ll set the stage just a bit.
May is at the end of a lifelong battle with depression, going through the motions on what she intends to be her final day of life. A surprise encounter on a bridge leads May to revelations about the nature of the soul and forces her to make an almost impossible choice in light of everything she’s discovered.
Rayne Havok captures the insidious and numbing nature of depression–and long-term depression in particular–with the in-depth characterizations of both May and Zachary. She breathes tragically beautiful life into her characters on the page and reopens wounds for those who’ve experienced similar traumas and responses. I’d be surprised if this were not the most deeply personal thing the author’s written as it induces such sympathetic aches in the reader. But don’t shy away from it. Sometimes pain can be therapeutic, and besides, this is a love story.
It’s a love story as only Rayne Havok could have written it because it’s awash with her voice and teeming with life experiences and somber yet hopeful spirituality.

Lost Soul was the final release of the AntiChristmas event at http://www.godless.com for December of 2021 in addition to being a birthday release for the author. You can obtain a copy by going to the website or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:

A Contest For the Ages

Because my blog receives traffic that doesn’t necessarily overlap with my other social media accounts, I would be remiss if I didn’t share this here.
Because I’m an absurd human being, I’ve decided that I want to reward readers/reviewers of my December 2021 short story, When You’re Here, You’re Fatalities, available exclusively through http://www.godless.com
You’ll want to pay attention to this!

Sadly, this is only valid for individuals located in the United States. If I could extend this to other countries, I would gladly do so, but the logistics involved are just too much of an issue.

Initially, the plan was that if I could sell 250,000 copies of the story, I would randomly select five winners from those who have reviewed the title at Godless. Those five individuals would need to provide me with their contact information–including the physical address–as well as a time frame that would work best for them. I would then plan a road trip with my girlfriend (and possibly my teenage daughter) to travel to that reviewer’s location. We could spend the day hanging out, doing touristy things, or whatever. To conclude the evening, I would take the winner and their immediate family (or significant other and whatnot) to dinner at the nearest Olive Garden location.
I have modified the plan slightly since the original goal is altogether ludicrous. Of course, the adjusted step goals are also ridiculous, but you shouldn’t expect anything different from me.
Upon selling 100,000 copies of the story through Godless, I will select two winners who have posted reviews of the story, to Godless and/or Goodreads.
After another 100,000 sales, I will select another two winners from the remaining reviewers who had not won.
And, if I happen to sell another 50,000 copies of When You’re Here, You’re Fatalities after that, I will select one more lucky winner from those who have not already won.
Assuming every buyer leaves a review, that’s a 1 in 50,000 chance of winning a family dinner at Olive Garden with a horror author who wrote a short story that takes place in a fictionalized version of an Olive Garden restaurant. For only fifty cents to get your name in the drawing, it’s probably a better deal than many raffles and drawings in which one might participate. But there’s always the fact that many people still won’t leave reviews, and that improves the odds in your favor.

The title can be obtained by going to the following link at Godless:

You would also post your review there.

Additionally, I will accept reviews posted to Goodreads at the following location:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59777373-when-you-re-here-you-re-fatalities

You have nothing to lose beyond fifty cents and a little bit of time.

Spread the word far and wide!

The sooner we reach those sales numbers, the sooner you’ll have a chance to sit down for dinner with me.

Manic Christmas by Lindsay Crook

For “Snowflake,” there’s perhaps no greater torture than performing as a Christmas elf at the mall. Understandably, she’d feel that way, from the pedophile Santa to the grimy, screaming children. It doesn’t get much worse than that. Except for maybe being subjected to a hot box apartment with no air conditioning, a bare trickle of water pressure, and an elderly neighbor who listens to her television far too loud for anyone not hard of hearing. She’s got problems, but it’s about to get more interesting. She’s about to make them your problems instead.
With irreverence and humor, Lindsay Crook assaults the hyper-commercialized Christmas holiday. She also sets her sights on inconsiderate neighbors, annoying coworkers, perverts, and Karens through the proxy of her protagonist, exhibiting knee-jerk reactions of violence that every reader is sure to relate to.
How much chaos can one Christmas elf cause in the week before Christmas? You might be surprised.
As with the previous Manic story, Crook manages to hit on topics from misogyny to miserable workplace conditions, while also attacking the seeming ubiquitousness of perverse male behavior, from the security guard to the mall Santa. Sure, it’s a fun romp as well, but there’s a whole lot of uncomfortable truth in this story as well.

This story was released as part of the AntiChristmas event at http://www.godless.com for December of 2021. You can pick it up for yourself by going to the website or by downloading the app to your mobile device. The link is below:

Santa’s Package by Nikki Noir & S. C. Mendes

I didn’t know Santaphilia was a thing until reading this story from Nikki Noir and S. C. Mendes. I can’t say I was surprised, just that it never crossed my mind to imagine there might actually be an official term applied to individuals with a Santa fetish. As a bearded man named Nikolas–who also happens to celebrate a December birthday–it almost seems disappointing that I’ve missed out on an opportunity to capitalize on this fetish existing.
There’s so much more to this story than just Amber’s frustrated attempts to find a man who is willing to fulfill her fantasy of making love to the Jolly Old Elf himself, though that does set the stage quite nicely.
Rooted in a possible hallucinatory experience when she was 12-years-old, Amber’s fixation on Santa begins at the same point when her family life falls apart. Saint Nick sits her down and tells her she’s special, warning her that life is about to become more challenging and assuring her that she’s strong enough to make it through everything. Ten years later, is it finally time for Santa to return?
At its core, Santa’s Package is a tale that delves into the potential ambiguity of that point where mental illness and legitimate visitation might coexist. How easily can our perceptions and attitudes be manipulated? Are there cases where someone seemingly insane is actually the victim of experiments and sinister machinations?
Santa’s Package may not answer these questions for you, but it’ll certainly raise new questions to consider and explore, and isn’t that what the best literature is meant to do? There’s a whole lot of potential inquiry crammed into this relatively small package, but if you’ve had the pleasure of discovering this one under your tree, you should certainly enjoy it.

Santa’s Package was released through http://www.godless.com as part of the AntiChristmas event for December of 2021. You can obtain a copy for yourself by going to the website or by downloading the Godless app for your mobile device. The link is below:

https://godless.com/products/santas-package-by-nikki-noir-s-c-mendes

The Doze Volume 2: Concrete Christmas by Drew Stepek

Our second installment of The Doze cements the character as the Godless League answer to The Hulk or The Thing. Much like those two Marvel Comics characters, The Doze is a tragic figure, transformed into a monster through no fault of his own, plagued and motivated by loss and betrayal.
Seeking vengeance against the man who manipulated him and took advantage of his illiteracy, ultimately destroying his family, The Doze sees an opportunity with the Christmas parade celebrating the new Globoshame development that’s arisen where his home used to be. As Stepek splashes the pages with blood and concrete, with over-the-top carnage, we find ourselves thrilled that The Doze might finally achieve the revenge he deserves.
Unfortunately, he’s not the only one with some surprises in store, and Stepek leaves us with a cliffhanger ending that will surely leave readers waiting with tingles of anticipation to see where he takes us next.
As with the five previous Godless League installments, I can’t help but find myself wishing that Stepek, Baltisberger, and Leitner will find a comic book artist capable of converting these tales into one giant graphic novel. It would be amazing to see these tales on display in the format most fitting, possibly even finding a new audience in the process.

The second installment of The Doze series was released as part of the AntiChristmas event at http://www.godless.com for December of 2021. You can pick it up for yourself by going to the website or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:

Distinctly I Remember by The Professor

Distinctly I Remember further cements The Professor as the master of what can only be described as splattergothic literature. Even if he had any peers in this genre, they would be hard-pressed to approach the passionate embrace of topics considered taboo and the literary flair with which he delves into the depths of perversions that are both titillating and revolting.
In this story, the influence of Poe is unabashedly on display, blending elements of The Raven and The Fall of the House of Usher into a tale of deeper darkness and depravity than Edgar Allan Poe would have dared document. Twins, a brother and sister, secluded and kept in isolation, become victims of the hallucinatory madness and obsession growing increasingly profound within the young man. The incestuous relationships and compulsions, often writ as subtext by traditional Gothic writers, come to the forefront with The Professor’s ministrations…and the story is all the better for that brazen lack of subtlety. As events unfold before us, we stare with rapt attention as a thing of beauty is systematically destroyed by the very admirer of that exquisite object of the narrator’s obsession.

This story was released as part of the AntiChristmas event at http://www.godless.com for December of 2021. You can pick it up for yourself by going to the website or by downloading the Godless app to your device of choice. The link is below:

https://godless.com/products/distinctly-i-remember-by-the-professor