INTRODUCTION to RAISING DAVE
“The reclusive author Jack Strange is an unusual fellow. His exact age is unknown. Those who’ve dared to ask him have never survived long enough to divulge the answer.
His writing is dark and comedic. He has a biting wit, an acid tongue, and some say hoofed feet. With his leaning towards the undead, he’s a natural for the world of horror and gore.” – from About our Authors
Given that intro, we decided it was best to not ask any deep questions when the unadorned manilla envelpe dropped through our transom at precisely 12:01 am on a dark and stormy night. (Actually, we didn’t find it until 7 am as that dark and stormy night produced a power outage….)
Jack informs us that his latest effort comes to us via serialization and will be offered in several venues, including Amazing Stories, which is pleased to be included in this effort.
How is this all going to end? We’re not sure. We’re not sure Jack is sure, either. (We’re not sure if Jack might not be channeling Charles Dickens – the scary one.)
* * *
I’m a writer but I didn’t write this story. Let me explain.
Last year I went backpacking through South America and spent more money than I should have done. By the time I got to La Paz I was so low on funds that I couldn’t afford to stay in a hotel. Instead, I went to the shanty town on the outskirts of the city and rented a wooden shack for a few days.
While I was there I found a small notebook hidden at the back of a cupboard. It’d belonged to a young woman. She’d used it to write an account of the events leading up to her death. It was harrowing stuff.
This is her story, in her own words:
As I climbed the stairs to the shitty flat I used to live in, I heard a cough. It belonged to Dave Carrion. That bastard was always coughing. He smoked too much.
Carrion was a stalker. He’d been hounding me for weeks, turning up wherever I went and pestering me. But this was the first time he’d gone so far as to hang around my front door. I’d thought of him as annoying but harmless. Now I wasn’t so sure.
I decided the best course of action would be to ignore him. Just push past him and get into my flat as quick as I could.
When I got to the top of the staircase he opened his mouth. There was a line of spittle stretching between his teeth. It’s funny how you notice things like that.
“I’ve been waiting for you Sally,” He said, hopping from one foot to the other.
He had one of those long, shifty-looking faces you see on actors that get cast as villains. It made me shudder. As did the fact that he liked rats and kept one as a pet.
“I’ve been waiting for you,” he repeated.
He was blocking my way. I sidestepped him. He turned and grabbed my arm. His hand felt clammy even through the fabric of my top.
“We should talk,” he said.
Somehow I wrenched free and pushed him, hard as I could.
He swayed back, flailing his arms to regain his balance. Trouble was, his heels were on the edge of the landing.
He toppled beyond the tipping point and dropped like a brick thrown from a window. The back of his head hit the edge of a concrete step. Swear to God I heard his skull crack.
“Fuck,” I said, and ran to where he’d landed. He was curled up like a foetus.
“Dave, are you okay?” I asked.
He didn’t respond, so I checked his wrist for a pulse. There wasn’t one. I made a half-hearted attempt to do some heart massage like I’d seen on TV but it didn’t do any good.
Dave Carrion was dead.
And I was the killer.
He hadn’t been threatening me when I’d pushed him, so there was a chance I could be done for murder. Maybe I’d get off by saying it was self-defence, maybe not.
For some reason I looked at the ceiling and found myself staring directly into the lens of a camera. What would it have picked up? The evidence to clear me – or to put me away for a long time?
I decided I wasn’t going to wait around to find out, and I ran for it.
Raising Dave is © Copyright 2017 by Jack Strange. Permission to publish this story has been granted by the author.
Next Week – Chapter 2!
Also coming soon from Mr. Strange – NOIRVELLAS: MANCHESTER VICE from Coffin Hop Press
Follow Jack Strange on Twitter @jackstrange11.