‘Just Like Television’

Julian J. Alexander
21 min readMar 7, 2024


Jay Sutton knows for sure that Alvin McClure is the one behind the gruesome killings in Mattisville, the ones that had slowly but surely bled through county lines and stained the north east of Geraldine, a town that had once proudly emblazoned its record-smashing low crime statistics on a string of billboards that trailed all the way to the edge of the state.

Now, idyllic, upstanding, boring-as-fuck Geraldine is the scene of not one, not two, but three murders, all local to the forest estate on the outskirts of town, and all involving a home invasion so messy that seasoned members of law enforcement had begun to drop like autumn leaves.

To be frank, Jay is exhilarated. Sure, God rest those poor retirees and that one multi-millionaire who bit the dust in a maelstrom of broken glass and gore-drenched goose feathers- or whatever the papers alleged- but this was something real. This wasn’t a herd of cattle blocking the freeway exit, wasn’t a six-man bar fight or any other typical nothingsville inconvenience. This was different. This meant mandatory curfews. This meant the local homeware store was selling new locks like street tacos. This meant looking over your shoulder on the way back from work, trying to beat the sun’s retreat and the ever-present shadow of the Snohomish County Slasher.

Jay smirks at the headline, locking his battered phone and peering again past the thick trunk of the tree and into the blackness beyond, waiting for the white-hot glow of headlights to flood the road in front of him, heralding the arrival of the culprit and the boxy, unassuming SUV he travelled in. It was Jay’s fifth night camping out in this dense lip of evergreens, observing Alvin “The Prowler” McClure skulking back to his two-million-dollar modernised forest house that clung like a tick to the edge of the bloodiest crime scene in county history, four hours after the commencement of the curfew.

Jay was no P.I.- some would say he wasn’t much of a fry cook either- but his little detective operation was hardly far-fetched, in his opinion. Alvin McClure’s unsettling nickname was one he had earned a decade or so ago when his balding, moustached mug had crowned the front page of several news publications after a young schoolteacher in Mattisville caught him peering through her kitchen window, erasing the great question mark that hung over a string of similar events in the area. Given that he’d never broken into a home or directly menaced anyone, he got off with a firm slap on the wrist, one that likely stung every time someone stared a hole through him in public after the fact. Jay had even heard somewhere that his neighbours- the ones whose brutalised remains now lay in the morgue of St. Anne’s General- had petitioned in vain to get him to leave the area. It made sense to Jay, who had put together a crude checklist of factors in his phone’s notes app.

Local creep.
Lives alone in big (unfortified???) house.
Ostracised by community.
Big family car but no family.
Out past curfew but no job.
Neighbors dead.

It’s not much longer before the obnoxious headlights of McClure’s SUV come into view, cleaving through the darkness of the winding road.
Ten-thirty p.m. Thirteen minutes later than the previous night. Jay logs the difference in his notes, positions himself further behind the tree as to not be seen. Tonight’s the night he tails McClure to his house. Tonight’s the night he proves he knows his shit, the night he proves to his co-workers and those condescending pricks at the Geraldine P.D. that Alvin McClure really is the Snohomish County Slasher, or the Mattisville Slayer, or whatever he was going to be called when he was finally caught by Jay motherfucking Sutton, of all people.

The SUV slows to a crawl, and Jay’s eyes run over the vague silhouette of Alvin McClure in the driver’s seat, and what might be a bulky box or trunk taking up the back seat. Jay’s head immediately floods with thoughts of its contents; duct tape, rope, a hacksaw, maybe even a grisly souvenir or two from a crime that Geraldine PD wouldn’t happen upon until the early morning.

The bulky vehicle turns slowly to the right, and begins its battle with the crude, uneven pathway that leads to McClure’s lonesome forest abode. Once it’s fifteen feet or so beyond the treeline, Jay darts across the road, staying low down and close to the edge of the path, his movements trepidatious, deer-like. He thinks he sees the car halt suddenly and he freezes, feels that if he presses his two feet hard enough into the ground that he’ll somehow turn invisible.

An animal call unlike any Jay has ever heard before rips into the night around him, rushing upwards towards the sky and precipitating back down onto the sleeping woods. He stays perfectly still, allowing himself to exhale slowly and silently as he hears the gravelly voice of the SUV’s engine grunt again as its operator kicks it back into drive.

Jay allows the vehicle to get further away this time before continuing his pursuit, resuming his cat-burglar act. He focuses on staying quiet, staying low, staying hidden from…

What the fuck kind of animal makes a noise like that?

Jay tries to put it out of his mind, tries to focus on making each footfall quieter than the last; landing on his tiptoes here, avoiding a dead branch there, like it’s a game. Right. Like a game. Like he’s a five-year-old trying to sneak a cookie from the kitchen after mom and dad have gone to bed, each crackling clump of leaf litter a creaking floorboard, each rustling branch a moaning door hinge, each…

Jay realises that he can’t hear the car anymore.

Shit. Idiot, idiot, idiot.

The gangly youngster increases his pace, still mindful that he mustn’t be seen, mustn’t be heard, but knows that he can’t miss a single moment after McClure steps out of that car. Jay imagines him hunched over, opening the door, looking around shiftily as he extracts a bloodstained machete from the depths of that cardboard box. He must see everything.

He makes it fifteen more feet in just a few strides. Then twenty. Then thirty. Thirty-five. Forty. He follows the path as it meanders and winds. He stops suddenly, looks up.

Jay sees a modest orange light peeking through the trees another fifty feet in front of him. It’s the second-floor balcony of Alvin McClure’s house, lit up like a beacon. Lit up to let potential intruders know that someone was home, so they’d better try their luck elsewhere. Only right now, you don’t want anyone thinking you’re home if you live in Geraldine, because an unlocked door, a cracked window, the glow of a light fixture spilling out; all of that is an invitation to a maniac who wants nothing more than for you to be home, alone, and plenty far from help.

Jay is so preoccupied with the tangerine hue melting through the web of branches that he almost doesn’t notice the car. It’s stationary now, but he’s close enough to hear the engine still purring away. The driver’s door is hanging open, and the vehicle’s taillights sew a darkroom red pocket onto the night’s obsidian fabric.

His first thought is that he’s missed McClure, that the creep had somehow made out a vague human shape in his rear-view mirror and bolted for shelter, leaving the car…

Jay approaches slowly, closing the distance between himself and the unmoving vehicle and granting him a much closer look.

…leaving the car much too far away from the house. There’s no way he could’ve run another sixty whole feet into his house without making a single sound. The light wind that had begun to play its song on the dense branches of the evergreens was not enough to conceal even hurried footsteps, let alone the almighty slam of the front door.

Jay whips around in place, staring into the ever-darkening mass that the SUV’s taillights fail to illuminate, drawing Alvin McClure’s looming figure everywhere he can’t see, his phantom hand clutching a knife, a sickle, a hammer. Jay fumbles for his phone, wrenches it from his pocket and hits the flashlight button, draws in a breath of October air so sharp his gums sting. The white light explodes into the blackness, but that scratch-illustration of a lurking murderer doesn’t materialise, doesn’t lunge towards him with a bloodied instrument in hand. Nothing.

Jay does another sweep; he points the flashlight in every direction again, holds it there, scrutinises every corner for even a speck of movement. He’s alone. He’s sure of that now.

Ensuring that the flashlight remains on, Jay creeps towards the stationary car on the left-hand side, directs the beam towards the door. His grip around the phone tightens with each step, an attempt to quell the tremors that threaten to turn the hospital ward white light into a strobe.

The first thing he notices is the blot of liquid staining the driver’s seat. Maybe it’s piss, maybe it’s blood, maybe… no. He edges further forward and spies a slim can of what had once been an energy drink, now parted with its sickly contents. It’s one of the ninety-nine cent ones, the bottom-shelf shit that looks like a battery for the world’s largest television remote, and is undoubtedly playing chicken with various health codes.

Gotta stay wide awake when you’re out butchering people in the A.M.

Jay points the flashlight into the treeline behind him, once again expecting to meet his quiet end staring into the steely-eyed mugshot of Alvin McClure, only to cast the beam onto a silent, unmoving thicket. He peers into the rear seat, and just like he thought, there’s a bulky cardboard box back there, sitting upright. He turns his attention to it, feeling like if anything’s going to give away McClure’s slasher status, it’ll be the hideous contents packed inside its flimsy cardboard walls.

Jay climbs into the driver’s seat, gingerly positions himself on his knees so he can propel himself out of the car if needs be. He kills the engine, furrowing his brow as he observes that there are no other keys on the keyring. Reaching his left arm into the back seat, he grips the coarse edge of the box, holding in a breath so hard that a fire breaks out in his lungs. He grinds his teeth together, defying his body’s plea to exhale. Jay lifts the flashlight again, ready to switch over to the camera so he can snap a stomach churner of a picture that’s sure to brand itself onto the eyeballs of everyone working the case, force yet more steely officers to run for the hills. He finally permits his pent-up breath a hurried exit, and he tilts the box.

Cream of mushroom soup. Baked beans. Chicken. Peaches. Dozens and dozens of canned goods sit neatly stacked just below the rim of the box. Open-mouthed, Jay throws one into the neighbouring seat. Then another. And another. And another. And another, because somewhere inside this lidless receptacle, underneath all this aluminium, there has to be a screwdriver still caked with brain matter, has to be a cooler snugly concealing a severed hand, right?

Jay demolishes the carefully arranged grocery haul, gazes at the empty box as if he expects a piece of hard evidence to materialise if he’s just able to forego blinking for fifteen seconds.

Thoroughly vexed and thumbing through a mental dictionary of curse words, Jay pushes himself up and stalks over to the back of the car, brandishing the key like a dagger. It’s one of those older SUVs, like the one his grandmother had when he had lived in Boise as a kid, so he wastes no time popping the trunk. He pulls in another breath, holds it for one, two, three seconds, and then allows the lid to open, the hydraulics wheezing.

There’s just one item laying at the bottom of the trunk. It’s a hammer, head flecked with rust, the silicon on its handle clearly peeling. It’s a workshop tool, sure, but was Alvin McClure any sort of handyman? Not that Jay knew of. He was a creep, a shut-in living off the money that grew on his father’s grave. To Jay, this was another sign, another piece of almost-proof that he’d found the killer.

Got you, fucker Jay thinks, reaching for the hammer to inspect it further.

The animal call from earlier rips into the icy air again, bounds through the open car door and into Jay’s ears, pulling him from his transfixion. He wheels around, scrambling back onto his feet and trying- once again to no avail- to will the beam of his meagre flashlight to penetrate the dark just that little bit further, expose every little secret that the night keeps.

So what if there’s a big coyote out there?

Jay performs his flashlight sweep again; front, right, left, behind, repeat. He manoeuvres round the front of the SUV, leaving the door just as it is, and sets his sights on the house that now sits just forty-five feet from him, determination and frustration cartwheeling in his brain.

As much as Jay wishes there had been at least something suitably damning to write home about in McClure’s car, he knew hours ago that this venture would lead him to the killer’s den. He expects to have to break a window or pick a back entrance lock like they do in those YouTube tutorials he always poured over, or camp a stone’s throw away from the door in the hopes of glimpsing McClure dragging a human shaped trash bag out into the woods. What he doesn’t expect at all is an invitation in the shape of a front door that hangs open just ajar, warm light spilling through the crack.

He starts towards the door, heart jackhammering harder and harder with each step. Jay is convinced that it’s an unspoken nod from McClure, a wordless invitation to play a dangerous and unfair game of hide and go seek, right up until he’s close enough to notice the set of keys dangling from the lock.

Re-igniting the flashlight, Jay scrutinises the lock, noting that the house key is still sitting at a ninety-degree angle, telling of a particularly hasty entry. Maybe he was running from Jay after all. The sick little weasel might have had time to plot break-ins and brainstorm six-hundred different ways to mutilate the weak, the old, and the vulnerable, but all those morbid daydreams had caused him to neglect the possibility of being caught while he was off-duty, so to speak.

You fucked up, Prowler. You fucked up big time.

Jay basks in the dopamine flood that springs from the prospect of getting one over on the Mattisville Slayer. To have the Snohomish County Slasher cowering in a corner. Still, he’s about to enter the dragon’s lair without knowing which shadow Alvin McClure might have scuttled off to, or what array of vicious instruments he might be preparing at this very second. Maybe the wiry little freak had rigged his house with traps; spider-web-thin razor wire stretched across the doorway, or those hulking iron-toothed bear traps; the ones Jay is pretty sure are illegal now. Something like that.
In spite of all the silver-screen shockers running rampant in his head, Jay finds himself going right for the handle, allows the door to swing open slowly just in case it’s hooked up to the trigger of a sawed-off shotgun, Home Alone style. He almost laughs into the quiet hallway at the absurdity of the thought.

The floor is the kind of bold chestnut stain that makes dollar signs flash up in the eyes of realtors like gambling machine displays, and on any other day, Jay might have found it charming too. Right now, the house’s rental advertisement presentation is marred by disarray. Mud and leaf litter are caked to the floorboards like a second-grade art project, and what must have once been a neatly arranged rack of shoes has been knocked onto its side.

Jay thinks, no, he knows that this little accident must have happened less than five minutes ago, but the house is silent, betrays not even the muffled clatter of someone awkwardly wedging themselves into the darkness of a bedroom closet, nor the dull padding of shoeless feet on a wooden staircase.

That means that the guilty party could be anywhere, that he’s somehow had time to situate himself. Jay reaches into his left pocket and pulls out his insurance policy, which in this case happens to be a 9mm plundered from the disorganised guts of his uncle’s shed out in Startup. He recalls the thundercrack that the unassuming pistol produced those two times he fired it in his backyard four afternoons ago, and sends a silent request to the powers that be that he won’t be required to pull the trigger a third time. He’s just a documentarian, a sleuth. His wits and photo snapping skills are what will make him a hero, he knows, not his shoddy marksmanship.

As it turns out, Jay doesn’t have to worry about investigating shadows, because the house is oozing light from every pore. Each ceiling fixture, each lamp on the ground floor is switched on, leaving nothing to Jay’s rampaging imagination. His eyes scour the living room to the left; a minimalist setup consisting of a three-piece swamp green suite, arranged around a woodstove that sits perched atop an island of rustic brick like a great beetle. The arrangement is immaculate, undisturbed.

Looking down, Jay follows the trail of mud and leaf litter to the right, into the kitchen. It’s one of those open plans with the fancy counters and barstools, like something you’d see in a TV show, or in the home of a rich classmate you only hung out with when you were little kids. Jay’s eyes rest on a photo hanging on the wall in the hallway, just a few feet from the kitchen.

Immortalised in the frame is a picture of what Jay assumes to be a teenage Alvin McClure, offering an awkward side smile next to the reason he could afford to live in splendour as a societal hermit; his father. Rhett McClure had been a big shot aerospace engineer in Seattle, having had an essential hand in some military projects back in the 1980s and accruing quite the fortune along the way, only to suffer a fatal heart attack at fifty-eight years of age and prematurely pass those riches down to his only son, a man who would make headlines across several counties seven years later for jerking off outside a schoolteacher’s kitchen window. People used to joke that it was a surprise that a sinkhole hadn’t opened up from the sheer velocity of Rhett McClure turning in his grave.

The mess only leads into the middle of the kitchen, stops right before the granite counter. It’s night and day; like someone started to mop the floor and then abruptly gave up. There are no dirt-caked shoes discarded on the floor, no items hurriedly placed down on the pristine counter, no further indication that McClure had been in a rush to get away from Jay.

So why the open door? Why the tractor tyre’s worth of mud? Why the destroyed shoe rack? The strings tying Jay’s little murder map together are starting to fray, and his amateur detective equations flash error messages in his mind.

More questions assail his judgement as he advances into the kitchen. Why was the car parked, no, abandoned so far from the house? Why the canned goods? Why is every single light in the damn house on?

Jay stops just before the edge of the granite island, noticing the only other thing that could possibly be construed as “out of place”. The basement door, which is just off to the side of the kitchen, is hanging open, and as far as he can see, the lights are on.

Another invitation, perhaps.

Jay finds himself unable to move, stuck and glued by the thought that the narrow staircase before him descends right into the stomach of a clever little trap that McClure had laid. But how? How would he have had time to prepare? How would McClure have ever noticed a skinny twenty-two-year-old clad in black, pressed so deep into the treeline that an entire search party would have passed him by? Jay’s been watching McClure for days. He’d know if he had been sussed out. There’s no way he wouldn’t.

He takes a step forward, deciding that if ever there was a good time to start collecting footage again, it’s now. He raises his phone, brandishes the pistol in his other hand, and slides his thumb to record, advancing further when he hears that little sonar blip, and the timecode starts rolling.

The loud white lightbulb at the top of the staircase leaves nothing to the imagination, eating up any and every shadow that could have been. The further down the staircase he gets, Jay notices more and more the homely scent of sawdust settling into his nostrils; the unmistakeable smell of fresh home renovation.

Sure enough, the basement is a bare open space; wooden planks lay stacked at the far end, and great plastic dust sheets hang from the walls, covering the entire room. It doesn’t take long for Jay’s crime thriller goggles to start adding in new set pieces, imagining what the room might be used for when McClure’s finished with it, or what he might already be using it for, vis a vis the hideous transparent drapes. Five large crates are arranged on top of one another at the other end of the room, and as Jay draws closer, he realises that it’s just more canned goods. Beef, tuna, green beans, tinned fish, spam. Jay leans in closer, extends his left arm out as though a detailed close up will make for some compelling evidence when he finally…

The lights snap off all at once, plunging the room into a darkness so thick it almost feels solid. Jay’s heart jumps like he’s falling in a terrible dream, and the phone tumbles from his hand, landing screen first onto the floor. The white burst from the flashlight hits the ceiling and illuminates the room, and Jay locks his eyes on the doorway, backs into the corner. The gun’s still in his right hand, and he knows that it’s going to take a hell of a squeeze when he inevitably has to fire it, maybe even twice, or three times. He crosses out the possibility of a power outage or blown fuse, is pretty sure that he’s right where the Mattisville Slayer- soon to be reborn as the Geraldine Ghoul, or something equally tasteless- wants him to be.

The fucker doesn’t know Jay has a gun, though. So what if he’s no sharpshooter? McClure will have to come down that staircase at some point, and getting a slug in him should be no bigger a feat than shooting the side of a barn at twenty yards. He could wound him, shove him out of the way and make a run for it. All the newspapers detailed blunt force trauma and dismemberment, but never said a word about the killer using guns.

Just as Jay reaches down to pick up the phone, a thud resounds from somewhere in the house; loud, pronounced. Then another, and another, and another. The intervals are regular, the tone consistent, like a basketball player dribbling meditatively on the court, like…

Footfalls. The tell-tale thumps of someone advancing towards the basement door, deliberate in their execution, like a strict teacher patrolling the classroom as you struggle through the first leg of a test. Jay kills the light as the footsteps draw even closer, so close now that they’re like a thundering band of horses, gets him thinking that McClure must have strapped on the thickest pair of steel-toed combat boots he could find.

The war-march ceases just as it reaches the precipice of a roaring crescendo, and Jay steals a breath, holds it, and listens. There’s a stark silence, the kind that’s so desolate that it whines in your ears, but there’s something else too. Laboured breathing, swelling with radio static crackles, and so low-pitched that it almost sounds like…like a bear? A wolf?

Jay has hardly taken a single step before something crashes to the basement floor, flung with brute force from the top of the stairs. Its impact is punctuated by the gooseflesh-inducing crack of bone on hardwood, which fills the room for a split-second, and then disperses like it had never been there.

Heart lodged in his windpipe, Jay switches the flashlight back on and points the 9mm, which jumps and judders in his quivering right hand.

On the floor, just three feet from the doorway, is what appears to be a tarp, wrapped tightly around its contents. Jay doesn’t need to hazard a guess at what’s inside, though; that’s been made all too clear from the sound. He advances, keeping the flashlight and gun trained as best he can on the covered mound, as if he expects it to rise up like a pre-credits horror movie freeze frame.

The tarp is half-in, half-out of the doorway, and Jay can see a distinctly human foot sticking out, resting awkwardly on the final step. He wants to bark out a “Come on, come get me!” but he can’t get his tongue around even the first syllable, can’t focus on executing his misguided act of heroism anymore, because now he can hear the footsteps descending the staircase. There’s not a shred of urgency behind them; they’re slow, drawn out, methodical.

Mustering a “Who’s there?” fit for the voice of an eight-year old boy, Jay steps forward again, and finds it in himself to cast the flashlight over the face of the man who would soon crown the front page of newspapers around the nation, to illuminate the face of Alvin McClure, former prowler and perpetrator of the Snohomish County Slayings.

Except it’s not Alvin McClure coming down those stairs.

Alvin McClure is a plump man with a hunched back, standing all of five-foot nine. What he’s not is an unimaginably gaunt behemoth with feet like cinderblocks and legs like towering sequoias. A grin that Jay can’t even see yet brands itself onto his face, which is already flushed with panic at the growing realisation that maybe Geraldine’s local stalker isn’t actually the one responsible for carving up those old timers.

He shuffles backwards, back into the basement, back into what he hopes will be a big hole in the ground that leads to an escape route. But it’s just him, and four walls.

The imposing figure reaches the final step at a mocking, leisurely pace, stops just short of the tarp and leans down, crouching like great insect over what Jay knows to be a concealed corpse. The wildman hair that sprouts from their scalp hangs down like a mourning veil, and the hand that extends out to grip the tarp is almost alien in appearance; ashen grey, fingers like dirtied surgical instruments.

In an instant, the hand slips into the opening in the tarp, and the hulking man’s laboured breathing quickens, becomes more guttural, like aroused grunting, like… like laughter.

The tarp unravels, and Jay- unable to move, to speak, to act- finally finds himself staring right at the man he had set out to find.

Alvin “The Prowler” McClure’s mouth hangs agape, the blood staining his lips and face still fresh, still an hour or so from crusting over. Jay can’t quite tell if his frozen visage is one of surprise, or terror, or both, because it’s nigh impossible to read a man when you’re staring into two gaping sockets where his eyes should be.

Emitting a rasp that verges on the delighted purring of a prowling mountain lion, the crouching figure pushes the corpse up further like it’s a sock puppet greeting an audience, which is when Jay realises with rapidly rising nausea that McClure’s head is no longer attached to his body, severed crudely like the stem of a weed.

So, the Mattisville Slayer is what? A vagrant? A murderous, off-grid woodsman? Jay was so sure he had it right. All of the puzzle pieces fit, every single one, up until five minutes ago. It had to be the recluse, the loner, the local pervert, the man whose house is a stone’s throw away from all the recent killings.

Except now the local pervert is in pieces inside a roll of tarp, and all Jay can do is stare into his eyeless face and let himself be crushed by how wrong he was. The phone camera isn’t recording anymore.

Electrified with adrenaline, Jay does the only thing he can think of in the moment, the one thing he prayed he wouldn’t have to do.

Squeezing the trigger of the 9mm is like driving a pushpin into stone, and Jay feels almost every ounce of strength concentrate into his right arm. His vision blurs for a fraction of a second as a single bullet is propelled forth from the chamber. The kickback is just as violent as it had been the first and only other time he’d used it, and he’s fully convinced for a moment that he’s missed.

The crouched man lets out a sound like a hacking cough and flails back violently, his right arm cartwheeling. Jay’s relief is snuffed like an ember in rainfall as the man rises to his feet, standing rigid and betraying not even a sliver of indication that the searing bullet has done any harm. The black shroud of hair that previously obscured his visage now stands parted like a stage curtain, and Jay wishes more than anything for the show to come to an abrupt end, because what he’s seeing is something beyond his depth, something much more than the wizened, wild-eyed face of a murderous drifter.

What Jay sees are two coal-black oceans for eyes, any trace of colour having already plummeted to their crushing depths like lead weights, lurking at the back of cave-like sockets. The man’s face is emaciated, ashen skin clinging to bones like vacuum seal plastic, but some of those bones- no, protrusions- are inconsistent with human anatomy, as though they’ve forced their way agonisingly through the man’s skull and are threatening to split his hide open, like the face of a grizzled wolf or bear is hiding just behind his own.

This isn’t real. It’s all a big dream you’re all worked up from hiding out in those woods and soon you’ll wake up and the cops will get McClure they’ll get him they’ll get him they’ll-

The man’s mouth drops open like a slackened vice, revealing rows of teeth that he should never have been able to conceal, teeth that shouldn’t be in the mouth of man to begin with. Saliva beads down from his anglerfish molars like water from a stalactite, and the corners of his crimson mouth turn up in what Jay can only understand to be satisfaction.

The thing in the patchwork skin of a man begins to stalk towards its quarry with that same deliberate, mocking stride, and Jay starts to feel every little television-show fantasy of being something more start to feel further away than they ever had; of catching a killer, of proving himself, of throwing his apron down and blasting out of Geraldine to pastures new. The only audience to the conclusion of his unsuccessful pilot episode is the head of an eviscerated social outcast, and there’s no one liner on the tip of his tongue, no screenplay intervention to pull him out of this.

A flurry of motion fills the air in front of Jay, a blur of pallid skin and blackened fingernails, and a searing wave of pain erupts from inside him. He doubles over, his hands darting to his abdomen and clutching impotently at what he knows are his insides, but he doesn’t dare look down, instead resigns to looking straight ahead, into the sabretooth cat grin of something beyond his imagination. Jay Sutton musters a meek “Oh” through a choked larynx as he feels himself drop to his knees before the leering beast, and then the rest of his dreams bleed out into the floorboards with him.



Julian J. Alexander

Fiction writer largely inhabiting the realm of horror and the weird.