Free short story based on the King Arthur Merlin mythology and my new novel: Snack Time at the Seven Eleven. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JQPBCT7
This is a free short story based on my new novel, Excalibur.
Snacktime At the Seven Eleven
Arthur faced the man with the shotgun aimed in her direction. She held her service revolver aimed at him. “I die; you die.”
He smiled, his eyes devoid of warmth.
“I mean it!”
“So do I!”
“Looks like we’re going to hell together then,” Arthur chuckled, then fired and dropped at the same time and fired again.
His shotgun went off.
A second too late.
Buckshot spattered her backside.
She rolled to the right and back onto her feet.
He stood there, calmly reloading his shotgun. “I guess you’re not a vampire after all,” he said with a grin.
“Are you deaf, copper? A vampire!”
She looked at the bullet hole in his chest and between his eyes. She hadn’t missed. She felt cold shivers run up and down her spine. Where was backup when you needed one?
She’d been stupid to rush into the 7-11 when she saw the man with the gun. Superwoman she wasn’t; she faced something incomprehensible.
“What are you?”
He finished loading and put his shotgun in the crook of his arm.
The store manager was crouched behind the counter, where the gunman could keep an eye on him He glanced at him, motioned with his gun. “Come here, snack!”
The store manager, an Indian by birth from Benares, rose slowly with his hands up. “Please, don’t shoot me. I’ve got a wife and children.”
The gunman grinned. “Hell, no intention of ruining my snack.”
Then so fast that Arthur couldn’t move to stop him, the gunman’s right hand reached out, snatched the store manage by his neck and lifted him into the air.
“Let him down!” Arthur shouted, aiming her weapon again.
The gunman chuckled casually. “Look, why don’t we just call this even at this point. You shot me; I eat him and we’re all good.”
Arthur’s eyes weren’t on the gunman, they were on something else. She flicked her eyes back to the gunman, noting all the hair on his arms that hadn’t been there before they exchanged fire.
“Put him down!”
She edged closer to her objective.
The gunman sighed and shook his head. “We all get hungry sometimes.”
“I wait until I’m home to snack.”
She edged ever closer, her face to him, her back to what she wanted. The medicine section. A special bottle.
“You’re really starting to piss me off; if you hadn’t had garlic with your tacos, you’d be dead now.”
“Still got your shotgun.”
“That I do.”
“Then why not use it?”
The Store Manager’s face was turning blue and his hands went limp to his sides.
“Now!” Arthur screamed.
The gunman tossed the Store Manager to the floor and stomped towards her. “I hate bossy women!”
Arthur clasped the bottle she had seen, smashed it hurriedly and tossed it into the gunman’s face, which was slowly transforming into that of a wolf’s face.
He froze, spitting out the substance that had sprayed all over his face.
Then his furry face exploded into flames.
He dropped his shotgun and gripped his throat, making choking sounds and then collapsed to the floor.
Arthur glanced to his right where the Store Manager was still gasping for air. “You all right, sir?”
The Store Manager nodded.
Arthur stepped next to the gunman, whose whole body was beginning to smoke now.
“Mercy!” The gunman begged.
Arthur held his service revolver up.
Excalibur in its golden glory appeared in his hand.
He crossed his chest in the accepted Christian ritual, and then sliced downwards.
The front door of the store slammed open and Dakota came running inside, her weapon drawn, followed by two other policemen.
They glanced at the head that rolled towards them, still on fire.
Dakota looked up.
Arthur holstered his revolver. “How the hell did that happen, Detective Barnes?”
“I’ll need a report.”
She turned to the Store Manager who rose slowly, eyes on Arthur. “You okay?”
“Thanks to the detective I am.”
Arthur grinned. “Well, that’s mighty kind of you, partner.”
Dakota laughed, and then grimaced. “Stop imitating John Wayne.”
“You know damn well who!”
Arthur blew her a kiss and head out the door.
“You know where to find me.”
“Like hell I do.”
“Then I guess you’ll have to try a little harder, sweet cheeks.”
Dakota screamed angrily. “Will someone kill that man for me?”
Sergeant Blake eyed her sternly. “Why do you keep letting that man get to you?”
She eyed him fiercely. “None of your damned business now let’s clean this place up and skedaddles.”
“Now you’re starting to sound like John Wayne.”
She gave Sergeant Blake a shut up look and he nodded to his men, one who went outside for a body bag and the other to secure yellow tape and call in to Central.
She eyed the burning head. “How can one man have so much hair on their face?”
But she already knew the answer. She just didn’t want to admit. Damn Arthur! Why was he always right in the middle of this Halloween bullshit?”
She took a deep breath, holstered her weapon and gave the Store Manager a hand up. “Emergency should be on its way as I speak.”
“But I’m fine.”
She eyed the tears in his throat.
He felt his neck and then gave her a horrified look.
Outside, Arthur was watching from across Martin Luther Boulevard, his eyes on the Store Manager touching his throat. He sighed. “Guess we’ll be seeing each other again, my friend.”
He turned around, shoved his hands into his pockets and walked away.
He’d know if the Store Manager was going to turn or not in the next full moon.
He hauled out the cell he was beginning to love these days. Thumbed on its recorder. “Note to self, my favorite 7-11, Store Manager. Possible werewolf turn. Check back in thirty days.”
He thumbed it off, and then eyed the skies. Not a cloud in sight.
The night was warm.
But behind him a dead werewolf was warmer still.
You can purchase the novel, Excalibur, now at Amazon for $2.99 by double clicking the following link or the image above:
Sherlock Holmes Magic and Science. Between science and magic they will find a world beyond imagination. And monsters!
Sherlock Holmes Magic and Science 99 cents at Amazon.
Between life and death is a door.
A door that opens to another world.
It has been found.
Between science and magic they will find a world beyond imagination. And monsters!
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New fantasy novel. Before Camelot. Before he became the Golden King. There was Young King Arthur. Sword, sorcery and romance. Available on Amazon.
Young King Arthur
Now available at Amazon for $2.99
Young Arthur wasn't famous. Well, sort of, if you count the fact that he's the best threader in his village. But the giants who torment him don't like him. His father and mother abandoned him. He hates the world he lives in; there's so much cruelty and injustice.
He'd like to change everything. But how?
Journey with Arthur as he meets Merlin for the first time, learns to stand up for himself, finds real courage, discovers the true meaning of love, finds magic that lasts forever and evil that refuses to die.
Young King Arthur
Now available at Amazon for $2.99
Young Merlin. An adventure in the early life of Merlin the Magician, which explores the world of magic and fantasy he grew up in. More fun than a barrel of dragons!
Working on a new series of stories about Merlin and King Arthur. This one is special to me because it explores more deeply how Arthur came to be who he eventually becomes and digs deeper into Merlin's mystical roots, his path of fantasy and magic, starting as a child.
We always wonder how our champions become who they are...the Superman, the Spiderman, the Thor or Captain America, and now I'm going for it and exploring them to the depth I feel they deserve.
This particular story digs into the earliest of roots of Merlin, showing how he became bound so closely to nature and the world of magic, and why it was so important for him to do for him ever to gain the humility and lovingness to foster an orphaned son...Arthur...and help guide a brutal world...the old Britains...into an era that promised peace and abundance for all...Camelot!
You can help me go further with this epic journey by purchasing this story at Amazon. com.
Purchase here! You won't regret the fantastic adventure this story takes you on.
It's only 99 cents now and that's a deal for the adventure and magic you will experience.
Young Merlin. He didn't choose to be whom he was, but soon he would have to choose whom he would become! Now at Amazon.
Before Merlin rose from the darkness of a world where kindness was rare and man fought man for the simplest of things, he was a boy. A young Merlin.
Before he became the mentor of the Golden King, King Arthur of Camelot, he first had to become a man and it wasn't going to be easy.
Young Merlin. Available at Amazon for 99 cents.
A read worth traveling for the whole family. Take your children to a world where elves, dragons, magic and thunder gods exist, and where man has not yet invaded it with his anger and lust for power.
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Before Camelot, before King Arthur. Before it all became the golden age of mankind, he was a child, who played with thunder, and magical creatures of legend.
Available now at Amazon for 99 cents.
The Merlin of Camelot is the iceberg we see, but the Young Merlin is the part of the iceberg never seen, a brave young man with a mission he was born to fulfill and a sense of magic and humor unequaled by anyone else.
And you can purchase this magical story now at Amazon for only 99 cents!
Before Camelot that we all know from the many movies and fantasies written, before he became famous as the once and future king, there was a young teenager with hopes and dreams like our own to rise above his station someday and right the wrongs of the world.
Arthur is known to t he people about him as an excellent threader, a King of Threads, who is able to take any design and turn it into something wonderful to wear. He is gifted in vision and touch with the garments of others.
Little does he realize that one day his golden touch will be raised above the entire lands of the Britains and clutch the great Excalibur that will anoint him with the power of a god.
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Before he was the great King Arthur, he was just a teenager trying to make ends meet in a brutal land of the wealthy who plundered the poor to maintain their status.
Tales of a young man destined to become the greatest king ever to rule upon the planet.
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Case of the Golden Monkey. A Sherlock Holmes Tale. A Baker Street Universe Adventure by John Pirillo. Death by foul!
Case of the Golden Monkey
A Sherlock Holmes Tale
A Baker Street Universe Adventure
By John Pirillo
The Carriage dated back about thirty years. It had the usual Blackwood trim and high railings for luggage, as well as steps up and down for the passengers and the driver to get to his station. There was even a sidebar so that Constables could ride them to protect anyone of importance. The biggest difference between this coach and the other older ones was that the horses were strange. Very, very strange.
Their legs seemed too thick, their eyes too far apart, almost giving them an insectile look, and were hooded to shield the eyes, or perhaps prevent them from inspection. The tails of the horses were split into two, and appeared to be born from two distinct buttocks, rather than in-between as was the usual place for a tail to go. The bellies of the horses appeared unusual as well, if anyone were to get that close. The bellies had a series of four large recesses, that seemed to have gold screws in them.
What made the carriage and the horses stand out even more was the Driver, who sat atop his station, looking more like some kind of alien being than a human, with his face wrapped in a colorful scarf, through which dark eyes peered that when they moved, appeared to be surrounded by blood. His hands were hidden in gloves that came to a point at each finger's end. His collar was a huge muffler that hid his throat. There was no bare skin anywhere.
And strangest of all is that he just sat there frozen like a statue while his ride stepped down and entered the home of Lord and Lady Berkeley, custodians of the Royal History. They had received a message from one Lord Tyndall of Fallowsbridge, a remote province in the hinterlands, near the White Cliffs of Dover. It was well known to all that the Lord was an eccentric man, as well as a dabbler in the arts.
Some whispered rumors of him having once been a student of the great Merlin, while others said he was the devil's spawn. So once it became known that he was visiting the home of Lord and Lady Berkeley, it became widely spread that the devil would be arriving in London and for all to receive communion and pray for their souls.
"Lord Tyndall, it's good to see you." Mister Berkeley greeted at the door of the large home. Usually his butler met guests, but this guest was important and he couldn't afford any protocols of etiquette being dismissed or set aside once the butler met his guest.
Lord Tyndall eyed Mister Berkeley without any form of emotion on his severely scarred face. "Is it ready for me?"
Lord Berkeley half inclined his head and stepped aside for Lord Tyndall to enter. Before he closed the door he noted the strange Driver at the top of the coach. When he saw the oddness of his appearance and the horses, he crossed himself several times, and then withdrew into the home, shutting the door behind him.
A Constable walking his route across the street paused to eye the carriage and its odd Driver. A gentleman with a lovely young daughter on his right arm was strolling past the carriage. A milk man was pulling over his van, run by a new Tesla engine, and turning it off when a horrible scream emitted from the home of the Berkeley's. It set the hair on end of all who heard it.
The Constable ran for the front door, but the Driver chose that moment to turn his horses so that the path was blocked.
The scream didn't stop for one long minute.
The Constable ducked around the horses and ran up the stairs to the home. The front door was unlocked. He flung it open and ran inside. A second and then a third series of screams were heard. Then a long silence.
"I really don't know what you mean, old fellow." Sherlock said to Watson, as he tamped tobacco into his pipe for smoking. "Just because things have quietened down doesn't mean nothing is happening. You know how many dark secrets are veiled under normalcy here."
"Indeed I do, Sherlock, but I still find it strange after so much activity by the Dark Lord, that it has become as quiet as a Sunday picnic and as safe as a walk through one's own home in the city. Not one new monster sighting. No demons. No ghosts. No vampires. No mention of zombie pirates. No hordes of the undead clamoring for attention and blood."
Sherlock eyed Watson, who had been pacing near the fireplace. "One hearing you might assume you truly looked forward to such ghastly occurrences."
Watson stopped and gave Sherlock a grimace. "Must you shoot so low, Holmes?"
Sherlock smiled. "Be of peaceful heart, dear fellow, Mrs. Hudson will be returning quite soon now."
"Never soon enough if you ask me." Watson said with a loud grumbling voice. He flung himself into his chair and watched the flames, which were burning low, play along the edges of the wood in the fireplace. "If you ask me, she's staying there so long because she can't bear being with me anymore."
Sherlock's eyebrows rose. "Watson. John!"
Watson turned to look at him, surprised at the use of his first name, which Sherlock seldom used. "This is truly not you speaking. What is eating at your heart?"
"I'll give you one guess. Should be enough for the great Sherlock Holmes." Watson said nastily.
Sherlock ignored Watson's tone. "You're jealous, aren't you?"
Watson started to deny it, and then gave Sherlock a guilty look. "Go on."
"You wanted to go with her, not so you could be together, but so you could keep an eye on her. Dear fellow, which just won't do. Won't do at all. Should she suspect such unseemly thoughts in you, you might create everything you feared could go wrong between you."
Sherlock reached across the gap between them and tapped Watson's arm in a friendly manner. "Time to get back to work."
Watson gave Sherlock a confused look. Then a loud rapping came from the front door. He went to the window. Constable Evans stood below. He looked up. "We need you and Mister Holmes!"
Watson felt a tug of relief in his belly. He nodded.
Even a doctor like Watson, who had performed numerous surgeries and autopsies found the scene in the living room of the Berkeley home quite distressing. Mister Berkeley hung from the ceiling, his back smashed through it, the broken wood above holding him in place. His eyes were popped out and dangling by their nerve stems.
Far worse was the Constable. He was dangling from the right wall, just above the fireplace, his eyeballs also dangling out of their sockets, an expression of utter horror on his face. His hands clutched something and were knotted into fists.
Sherlock reached up with tweezers and plucked some of the substance clutched in the Constable's hands, then placed it in a vial and stoppered it. He handed it to Watson, who labeled it quickly, then handed Sherlock another.
"I suspect we'll find the same thing on Mister Berkeley." Watson suggested.
"I suspect you're right." Sherlock replied, taking a sample from the man's dangling right hand, which was also clutched into a fist.
Constable Evans entered the room, having come from the second floor of the rather large home. "We don't need to look for Mrs. Berkeley." His face was green. Finally, he couldn't hold it in any more and dashed for the front door. He didn't make it. He threw up over the entrance until he was gasping in pain, heaving over and over and over.
Sherlock gave Constable Evans a compassionate look. "See to the Constable, Watson, will you? I'll take care of Mrs. Berkeley."
Watson nodded and gave Constable Evans a shoulder to lean on, he was now so weak from his body upheavals, and brought him outside into the fresh air.
Sherlock climbed the circular staircase, his eyes sweeping the carpeting upon it as he did so. He stopped once and unstoppered a new vial, then placed a sample within it with his tweezers from the carpet. He got back to his feet and continued to the top floor, which had beautifully varnished wooden walls and beautiful original oils of flower gardens on both sides. He turned to the right and entered the bedroom of Mrs. Berkeley. She was embedded in the floor, just her legs and right side visible. Blood oozed from the exposed body parts and coagulated in a large puddle about her body.
Sherlock put a hanky to his nose, unstoppered a new vial awkwardly, then stooped and gathered a sample from the blood.
Finished, they strode about the room, searching its walls and floor avidly, and then satisfied, he strode back into the hallway, down the stairs, and to the doorway where Watson and Constable Evans stood.
"Constable, would you mind ever so much taking a small ride with us?"
"My father ordered me to stay here with the bodies once I'd contacted you."
"I will speak to your father for you." Sherlock stated. "The Inspector will listen to reason."
Constable Evans laughed.
Sherlock smiled. "He will. I will see that he does."
"Oh, also, on the way to our objective, I'll need you to gather a few people to help us out."
"Certainly, Mister Holmes." Constable Evans replied.
Lord Tyndall's castle was known throughout the hinterlands as the Black Cloud, because it always seemed to have dark soot like air about it, flaring from its many windows and basement bars. A simple moat surrounded it, but was dry and now filled with weeds and wild grass. Its walls were singed from ancient fires and pockmarked from cannon fire, with pieces missing and some sections barely clinging together, but yet the castle held firm, despite its many deficiencies.
It stuck out on the hilltop of dark rock it commanded like a poisonous monster poised to strike its enemy down. It didn't merely sit on the crown of the hill, it commanded it, suppressed it with a dark energy that the villagers below feared greatly. Most of them said prayers every time they looked the fearful sight, and yet they served its dark master for fear of no livelihood otherwise. A village enthralled by poverty had to accept a dark master.
As Sherlock, Constable Evans and Watson stepped from the Constable's Wagon, a dozen other Constable Wagons drew up.
Constable Evans stepped out and his father, the Inspector, climbed out of the closer of the wagons. They began ordering the drivers to encircle the castle. Once the wagons were positioned, Constables climbed out, armed with rifles and bayonets.
The Inspector came up to Sherlock. "Why all this armament?"
"I would hope for a better outcome. But I suspect a lesser one. Ready, Inspector?"
The Inspector touched the bulge in his coat and nodded. Sherlock looked to Watson, who didn't even bother hiding his own weapon. He'd learned that caution was a one way street when dealing with monsters and evil.
Sherlock stepped across the small bridge that crossed the moat and took up the huge door knocker there and slammed it home. A huge gong struck within the castle and reverberated throughout its depths. The door remained closed. He struck the knocker home again. Again, the entire castle reverberated with the sound.
"Inspector, if you please?" Sherlock requested.
The Inspector nodded, and then jerked a hand towards the door. Four Constables came running up with a door ram.
It took them four tries, but finally the old wood shattered, sending the four of them flying through the opening they had made. They recovered, dropped their ram, and retrieved their service revolvers, scanning for trouble. None was forthcoming.
Sherlock and his friends entered. Sherlock didn't stop. He headed for the main hall, which had a gigantic evil looking dragon over its entrance, its mouth open revealing sharp teeth, and a throat straight from hell, clutching victims within it. As they passed beneath it, drops of something red struck the men.
"What the devil!" Watson uttered, and then fingered the wetness. He eyed it closely, and then gagged.
The Inspector got it immediately. He turned about. "Constable, see that our men take down those caught within its mouth!"
Immediately, Constable Evans had deployed a dozen men with ladders from their wagons and tools. As everyone watched, a series of body parts were disengaged from the dragon's mouth, and brought down to be placed in a massive mound of gore and grossness.
Sherlock, however, did not remain to watch, or Watson. They entered the main hall. The Inspector followed, his weapon at the ready.
Sherlock turned to him. "There's no need for a weapon, Inspector."
"There could be a villain lurking about..."
Sherlock shook his head. "This is no villain we are seeking. No ordinary person at all, but a Warlock of the First Ranking. A Druid Master."
Sherlock didn't have to answer. He went to a table set with empty plates. Upon the table was a book. He hefted it and eyed its spine, which had its title. "The Queen's Treasures."
"Why would the Lord Tyndall seek that of all things?" The Inspector demanded, confused by the book being there.
"Because the book is not of earthly treasures, dear Inspector."
Sherlock handed the book to Watson, who placed it in his black bag. "I'm afraid we have once more been too late in the game."
"What do you mean?" The Inspector demanded, starting to get angry with the evasiness of Sherlock's answers.
Sherlock turned to face him fully. "When I surveyed the home of the Berkeley's, I noticed one thing missing in common from their library. This book and one other, which the Queen had entrusted to them to guard and keep secret from the masses."
"This one and the Golden Monkey."
"Golden Monkey?" Watson declared. "What in God's name is that?"
Sherlock closed his eyes and recited:
"When darkness flails and Light does wail
The door to darkness will open
Beware the teeth of the Golden Monkey
His bite will cause all to be broken."
"Drat it, Holmes. Stop riddling me. What does the Golden Monkey have to do with any of this?"
"The Doorway to Hell." Sherlock answered. "And I'm afraid the Count now has the way to open that door."
"Your move, Watson." Sherlock said, eying the Queen he had put into play.
Watson eyed the Queen, and his King who was now exposed. He moved his rook. "Rook to King's guard. Your move, Holmes."
Sherlock didn't move, instead he leaned back and clasped his hands on the table. "Watson, we must consider other options in this war."
"There are no other options."
"There is the option of you and good Mrs. Hudson escaping to the Fairy Realms with Lord Graystone. He has offered shelter there to all who wish it."
"I will not give up that easily." Watson said grimly.
Sherlock nodded. "I knew you wouldn't. None of us shall. We shall fight these dark souls with our dying breaths if need be."
"Hello! Anybody home!" Mrs. Hudson's voice hollered from below.
Neither Sherlock nor Watson had heard the door being unlocked and opened.
Watson jumped to his feet, knocking over his men. He dashed downstairs and enfolded Mrs. Hudson in his arms. They clung to each other, both sobbing with relief and job to be together again.
"I've missed you so much." Watson told her in her right ear.
"And I you, John." She whispered back.
Above them Sherlock went to the window that overlooked Baker Street. He saw Lord Graystone and Lady Shareen climb into their Tesla coach and it drive off. As he watched he thought of all the good that existed in this world. He clenched his hands into fists as he heard the laughter of Mrs. Hudson and Watson below. "I shall not fail this time, Watson." He promised, his eyes as hard as rocks.