Birth by Todd Love

Childbirth is always a disorienting, dangerous, and painful experience. As beautiful and fulfilling as it also might be, it remains those things. It should come as no surprise that Todd Love’s Birth focuses heavily on those first three things. It’s a horror story, after all. What else did you expect?
Nora’s labor begins early, while she’s alone at home and unprepared. Bleeding, experiencing pain like she’s never known, and horrified that something’s gone wrong, it’s a relief when the professionals arrive and spirit her away to the hospital. Unfortunately, trained professionals can only do so much.
Nora’s fear that something might be wrong is well-founded and has something to do with the donor material she utilized.
Once again, Todd Love takes the rug by its frayed edge to not only yank with all his might and pull it out from under us, but also leave us sprawling on the floor, wondering what the hell just happened.

This title, like many of Todd Love’s stories, can be found at http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless App to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:

The Beasts of Vissaria County by Douglas Ford, Narrated by Jenn Lee

The Beasts of Vissaria County is not what you expect. It doesn’t matter what your expectations might be as you approach this narrative; I can guarantee that you’ll probably find yourself shocked and surprised. The nature of Douglas Ford’s book is as ephemeral and challenging to nail down as the narrative itself, but you’ll find yourself propelled along as if you were in a dream, with Ford as the feverish and abstract architect.
Maggie McKenzie escapes the nightmare of her marriage and, along with her son, seeks a transient sort of safety and solace with her disagreeable father in the backwoods of Florida. She’s a damaged woman–bitter and unhappy–but stronger than she knows. Cursed with an unquenchable curiosity, she’ll soon find herself at the heart of a mystery that becomes more convoluted the deeper she digs.
Any sense of normalcy gets disrupted when she encounters her elusive and peculiar neighbor, WD. The lines that separate reality from fiction, dreams from waking, and myth from fact become increasingly blurred as the story continues from there.
While I wasn’t a big fan of Jack Williamson’s Darker Than You Think, I can’t help but feel that Ford has crafted a sort of spiritual successor to that 1940s novel. The Beasts of Vissaria County takes that same dreamlike, blurry quality and improves upon it in almost every way. In its strange and surreal storytelling, we capture hints and fleeting glimpses of beasts that may or may not be there–or may not be fully there.
The narration provided by Jenn Lee fully brought Maggie to life, embodying her indomitable spirit and the blend of skepticism and curiosity that drives her along the meandering paths she follows.

This title is also available on Godless. You can find it by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:

Last Day by Todd Love

Todd Love finds a new way to surprise his readers, both in the pure dialogue construction of this narrative and in the shockingly sad twist revealed at the conclusion. But this isn’t one of those twists shoehorned in for the sake of taking the reader by surprise, the hints are there throughout the story, if only we knew to pay attention.
A conversation takes place between two old friends as a former detective, Lloyd Andrews, evaluates his life and the mistakes he’s made. Reflecting on the events that transpired when he successfully ended the killing spree of The Barrhaven Cannibal, he needs to unburden himself to the only person he knows will understand.
If you’re looking for something different, I can assure you that Last Day should make your list. I can imagine this performed on a stage, a contrast between stark shadows and light, and I’d love to see that happen. Imagine it for yourself when you check out Last Day.

You can pick this up by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your preferred mobile device. The link is below:

The Buried King by Thomas KS Wake

Thomas KS Wake deftly combines cosmic horror, folk horror, and kaiju with environmental consciousness in a captivating tale with The Buried King. Raymond, an unscrupulous building developer visits the site of an out-of-the-way vacation resort that should have never existed, at least not where it’s been erected. Unfortunately, his arrival coincides with the consequences of his predatory and deceptive business practices coming to fruition, and it’s a price we all have to pay.
Beneath the construction, buried for centuries, a malevolent force of nature awakens. As those tasked with containing the monster give up hope and give in to righteous anger, the results will be catastrophic and undeniable. Nature will take its revenge.
Reaching the final page of this story inevitably causes the reader to immediately hope that Wake is working on a follow-up to this title. The disaster porn addict within us wants nothing more than to see just how far the devastation will go and how long humanity will manage to survive.

This title was released as part of the Emerge series, focused on providing a platform for emerging authors. This was brought to us by a partnership between D&T Publishing and Godless. You can obtain a copy of this story by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app on your mobile device. The link is below:

Abhorrent Faith by John Baltisberger

Just as the nightmarish and unfathomable events of Abhorrent Siren are reaching their feverish conclusion in San Antonio, the events of Abhorrent Faith begin. An inclusive, interfaith potluck hosted by a local Rabbi is interrupted by a hideously transformed–and transforming–monstrosity and the rabidly bigoted evangelical preacher seemingly controlling it. As the world outside the synagogue devolves into chaos and madness, a different sort of madness is on display in the defiled sanctuary.
Baltisberger packs this follow-up to his previous novella with just as much perversity and horror but a different brand of social commentary. The scathing indictment of the opioid epidemic is still present, but that takes the backseat as he focuses his ire on bigotry, nationalism, and the anti-semitism embedded in altogether too much of society–and human history as a whole. Calling out the inherent hypocrisy, scriptural ignorance, and mental gymnastics embedded within right-wing Christianity, one can’t help but feel a thrill each time Ari stands up to Adrian King. At the same time, one can’t help but feel the almost tearful frustration and anger at Ari–or anyone–having to contend with the level of ignorance and hate given unworthy life in the story’s antagonist. It doesn’t take long for the reader to recognize that the monsters aren’t all outside, and I’m not talking about the infected, mutating members of Ari’s interfaith circle.
Altogether too much of this narrative is non-fiction, in the sense that these abhorrent acolytes of intolerance and acrimony are everywhere one looks, and the anti-semitic sentiments are alive and thriving wherever people like that are platformed and given attention. Baltisberger is angry over this, and that anger seethes beneath the surface of his spectacular storytelling in this follow-up to Abhorrent Siren.
The discerning eye might recognize a certain similarity between the cover art and a certain evangelical nut known for unhinged rants and barely suppressed bigotry. This is not an accident.

This title is available through multiple avenues, but you can pick it up for yourself by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device. The link is below:

Fucked-Up Bedtime Stories #6: High Tea by Peter Caffrey

Arnold’s mother isn’t doing well, and when his father–for some unknown reason–can’t track down Aunt Dorreen to babysit while he takes mommy away to get her some help, there’s no choice but to enlist Molly’s help to take care of Arnold.
Unfortunately, Molly isn’t alone for long, and her friend’s brought along some hard drugs. We’ve all been warned about the dangers of drugs, and Arnold has too. But peer pressure from Jimmy the Chimp might be too much for Arnold to bear, especially when the prospects of becoming King Arnold are rapidly diminishing as he struggles to be a good boy.
In this hallucinatory installment of the Fucked-Up Bedtime Stories, Caffrey blurs the line between what’s real and what’s happening solely in Arnold’s imagination, providing us with a tale of dizzying escapades of extreme violence and sexual content.
The audio edition provided with the purchase brings the whole experience to life in all its vivid and disorienting detail, lovingly narrated by the author.

You can read this for yourself by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your preferred mobile device. The link is below:

Fucked-Up Bedtime Stories #5: Legs Eleven by Peter Caffrey

Arnold desperately wants to attend the school dance, but he doesn’t have a date. While Jimmy the Chimp thinks it’s ridiculous that Arnold even wants to waste his time on something so stupid, he decides it’s better to help Arnold than to listen to him whimpering and being depressed.
Attempts to meet a woman in a shopping center or to obtain a prostitute with the winnings from Pork Chop’s dogfighting don’t go smoothly, but Arnold finds a date on his own in Emily, a crippled girl he meets while performing charity at school.
It wouldn’t be a Peter Caffrey story if everything came up roses from there, and the story devolves into murder, accusations of molestation, and Jimmy the Chimp leading Arnold on a mission that’s sure to destroy more lives in the process.
As always, Caffrey provides his fans with audio narration of this story in addition to the usual digital files for reading, and his enjoyment is clear if you take the time to give the audio edition a listen.

You can pick up all of Peter Caffrey’s Fucked-Up Bedtime Stories by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:

Daddy by Ash Ericmore

Ash Ericmore’s Daddy confirms that the Smalls brothers came by it all honestly, everything from their knack for stumbling ass-backward into situations they’d have sooner avoided to their peculiar sense of nobility and morality. Between Mumma and Daddy, we’re forced to admit that the Smalls siblings turned out as well as could be reasonably expected.
When film buff and criminal, Daddy Smalls, is offered a job driving a truck filled with drugs up North, he’s more than happy to oblige. It’s only after he learns that he’s transporting something entirely different that he’s driven to teach the buyer a lesson.
Quick-witted, unflappable, and prepared for violence, Daddy will need to call on all of his resources–including that borderline supernatural luck that the whole Smalls clan benefits from–as he discovers himself face-to-face with a sadistic, monstrous, and perverse opponent in a house designed to prohibit escape.
And yet again, somehow the Eastern Europeans are involved. They’re like cockroaches.
If Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie had taken a stab at writing a script inspired by either the Saw or Collector series, this is approximately what Ash Ericmore has channeled in crafting this exciting installment in the ongoing Smalls adventures.

You can purchase all of the Smalls Family stories by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your preferred mobile device. The link is below:

I, Zombie: A Different Point of View by Garry Engkent

Waking up can be a bit disorienting. Waking up to a large room full of people attending your funeral would be vastly more confusing and horrific. For Gregory Laine (Gory), this is how it all begins. It’s only natural for a zombie to eat, but Engkent goes one step further and offers both a motivation and a purpose behind that constant drive to consume.
With a mouthful of his girlfriend’s breast, Gory is captured by agents working for iASK, the Institute for Abnormal Scientific Knowledge, before he’s carted off to a secret facility where the institute hopes to study the properties that have resurrected him. In this miraculously undead specimen, the keys to various scientific and metaphysical mysteries could be revealed–if only the dead man would cooperate.
Can anyone be prepared for the changes Gory is undergoing?
What surprising revelations does he have in store for those hoping to monitor him, his former friends, and himself?
Garry Engkent provides readers with an often-overlooked perspective within zombie fiction–the perspective of the dead–and he does so in a way that sets itself apart from the work of David Wellington, George A. Romero & Daniel Kraus, and others who ventured into this territory.

You can obtain this story as well as the other Emerge titles by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:

Fucked-Up Bedtime Stories #4: Pork Chop by Peter Caffrey

Arnold’s wanted a dog for some time, especially since he and Jimmy the Chimp murdered the cat–along with the rest of the neighborhood cats. When he and Jimmy meet the resentful service dog who never gets to have any fun, they decide that they’re going to take Pork Chop out for a night on the town. It’s a win-win situation. Arnold gets to enjoy having a dog for a while, and Pork Chop gets to experience being treated like a pet rather than a slave.
Everything goes about as smoothly as one should expect from a Peter Caffrey bedtime story. The adventure descends into a place of madness filled with death, gypsies, dog fighting, gambling, murder, and toothless oral sex. If you’re curious about how all of that falls into place, you’ll have to check it out for yourself.
Once again, audio narration is provided by Caffrey, so you can enjoy the sensation of having him read you this lovely addition to his bedtime stories series as you drift away to a nightmare-plagued slumber.
I made the mistake of listening to this at the gym while running on the treadmill, and I was grateful that I had the place to myself because I started laughing out loud at various points.

This–and the other bedtime stories–can be picked up from http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your preferred mobile device. The link is below: