Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Patient #110315: Angel Zapata

Our next story comes from a writer who is well known to many.  His dark and creepy tales have a nasty habit of staying with you long after the story is over.

I'm a big fan of Angel's work. His poetry and stories are ubiquitous online and in print. Every single piece of his satisfies with solid, meticulous writing that sucks the reader in, and doesn't let go until the screaming is done.

Recently, Angel announced a new writing collection of his own. 5 x 5 Fiction asked writers to tell stories in five sentences, with five words to each sentence. The first collection is due out soon. Keep an eye on the 5 x 5 page for more details.

Without further prologue, here is "Mad Dash."

Angel Zapata

They had been talking about voicing one’s needs.

“Speaking of voices,” Shirley rolled up her sleeves and showed Dash the row of scars on each forearm. “I feed them blood. It’s the only way to shut them up.”

She had just come back into the living room from the kitchen. Dinner had been great. Two glasses of wine later, she said she had something to show him.

What the fuck? Dash was on the couch. He nervously played with his tie. “Uh, it’s getting late. Maybe we should call it a night. I’ll… call you. Okay?”

Shirley leapt over the coffee table and straddled him. “Wait!” Her hands were on his face. “Listen.”

Dash strained his ears, but couldn’t hear a damn thing except for his own erratic heartbeat.

It was their third date. When Shirley had agreed to come back to his place he was sure they were going to do ‘the deed.’

Boy was he wrong.

They had met at work. She was training as a cashier. Dash was mopping up a spill at aisle five when he spotted her. She was gorgeous; short blond hair, blue eyes and legs that went on forever. They made eye contact and she smiled. There was something about her that was so familiar. The next night they went out for coffee.

Who would have thought the chick was a psycho? Dash pried her hands loose and examined her arms. “Did you do this to yourself?”

“Yes,” she bit her bottom lip, “one for each voice.”

“You do know how nuts this sounds, right?” Dash clenched his jaw. “Please get off of me.”

She bowed her head and a single tear fell on Dash’s shirt pocket. “I thought you’d understand.” She slid off his body and fell to her knees.

Dash rose and made his way to the front door. Hurting other people he could understand. But hurting yourself? “How do you figure that?”

“Because Dybbuk told me.”

Dash froze. How the hell does she know about you? “What did you say?” He faced her again.

She looked up from the floor. “Dybbuk told me.”

“I don’t know who you’re talking about.”

“Of course you do.” She hiked her skirt up and exposed a milky-white thigh. “See?” Blood was oozing from a freshly bandaged wound. “He’s grown quiet now.”

Impossible, Dash thought.

“Nothing is impossible,” he heard Dybbuk whisper in his head. “Can’t you see them?”

Dash focused his eyes on Shirley. She peeled the bandage off and licked it. In the dim light of the room, he could see dark shapes flicker behind her. One of them had horns and fangs. He’d have to do something about that.

“You ever see who these voices belong to?” Dash asked. There were so many sharp items in the room; he didn’t know which one to use on her first.

“Tonight was the first time.” She was laughing, pointing all around room. “Look at all the women you’ve killed. We’re all here with you.”

That’s why she seemed so familiar.

There was a mirror on the wall above the loveseat. Dash stared at his reflection. Behind him, the room was empty. He adjusted his tie and winked. Dybbuk winked back.

Shirley’s bones lay still beneath the house.

“So how do you want to spend the rest of the night, Shirley?” He stretched out his scarified arms.

Shirley slid cold arms around his waist. “Let’s do something totally crazy.”

Angel Zapata is the author of The Man of Shadows, a horror short story collection released by Panic Press and available on Amazon.


  1. A wild spiral through physical and emotional sensations. I winced as Shirley licked that bandage - a superb touch.

    Here we have reality and insanity; spectral slicing with an oh-so-welcome flurry of demonica. Blissful, Angel. I loved it.

  2. Yep the bandage licking...ewwww

    Creepy with a cool twist and great title Angel!

  3. Gruesome, psychotic, tender. Angel's done it again!

  4. There's a touch of everything great about horror in this one story, the physical and the psychological. And yeah, the bandage licking.

  5. Can't add much more than what has already been mentioned by the others. Excellent imagery and this line was really awesome, loved it!

    "He adjusted his tie and winked. Dybbuk winked back."

  6. It's amazing how fluidly this piece moves. Each graph changes the game every so sightly, until you're not even close to where it all began. It's all wrapped into a very tight package. That fast, squeezing tone presents the flickering insanity inside Dash's head perfectly.

    What a wild ride, I'm out of breath.

  7. Gruesome and the yuck factor with the bandage. I love, love, loved it!

  8. Angel, your madness is haunting! You let all those beautiful, subtle details bleed out slowly, until suddenly, we realize at the end, who is really mad. That was excellent. Loved the ending and your clever title too!
    Now, I'm off to quiet my own voices.

  9. Angel in 'The Breakdown Of The Bicameral Mind' Julian Jaynes posits the theory that schizophrenia stems from a primal brain mechanism which is primarily shamanastic and here you capture this perfectly with the idea of sacrifice right at the beginning. A great story with great dialogue.

  10. Thanks for all the great feedback! Chris, I'm really glad you hosted this madness.

  11. This was a great story, Angel, and I'm honoured that you took part.

    I thought the back and forth between the characters that played fast and loose between our sympathies was what made this so effective, but the line that quickened my pulse was this: "How the hell does she know about you?"

    Just awesome.

    Thanks again Angel!

  12. "Hurting other people he could understand. But hurting yourself?" This was the tick tock of the clock for me. The narcissistic mind will protect the self at all cost, but doesn't give a thought to hurting others. Loved every bit of this. scarified arms, scar-ified or scary-ified (bad pun). Great horror as always, bud.

  13. Excellent work, Angel. Chaotic, phsychotic and gruesome. Just the ingredients for a great horror piece!