Read my essay, "The Dead Breathe: Confronting Our Monsters": published by Ink Heist
I’m thirty-nine years old, a teacher and a writer, and a long time ago I watched my father die. I’ve told this story to friends, to a crowd at a book signing, and I’ve written about it more than a few times in essays, stories, and novels, including my newest, Dead End, which opens with a boy witnessing his father’s death.
Read my essay for the Horror Writers Association annual Halloween Haunts: "Rising from the Dead."
Every Halloween, my father rose from the dead.
He would wait until his victims were so close there was nowhere they could run, and as those quivering trick-or-treaters’ hands stretched across the open coffin reaching for the individually wrapped Twizzlers splayed across his chest, my father’s eyes would open and he would attack.
My father died when I was eleven. Happened right before my eyes. His hand reached out, fingers trembling, and a crackling moan rattled in his throat. His eyes were wide, frightened, and he stumbled and fell.
He never got up again.
At the funeral home, I remember thinking I was used to seeing him in a coffin.
Listen to my short story "The Devil Virus": published at The No Sleep Podcast
Two men from the ambulette service helped me position the hospital bed and tucked my brother into a semblance of comfort. The white sheet creased across his neck.
“Really amazing of you to do this,” one of the men said as he hooked the urine bag onto the bed.
“He’s family,” I said.
A few hours later, headlights blinked through the trees shielding my front yard.
Read "Good Mom": published at Tell-Tale Press
“I want to get out!” Kaylee double-kicked the back of the driver’s seat. When had her legs gotten so long?
“Do not kick the seat.” Through the rearview, Amy watched the little green-faced witch cross her arms and pout. The pointy top of her black hat flopped sideways.
Amy slowed the car even more. The roads were extra-wide through the development and sidewalks stretched along both sides, but none of that would stop a child in costume from sprinting directly into traffic.
Read "Bloody Cat": published at Allegory
Vic Heartman found the tiger-stripe cat in the road outside his home. It was sitting Sphinx-like, front legs stretched before it, but it wasn't relaxing: poor thing was mewling in pain.
Blood seeped from its nose and mouth.
Hit by a car. Of all the fucked-up things. The whole world had disintegrated into a chaotic mess of violence and zombies (all hail the Great Romero, Apocalypse Prognosticator), and some asshole can't swerve to avoid hitting a stray cat.
All anyone cared about was his own survival.
Read my essay, "Coffin Books and Writing Horror": published at InkHeist.
I grew up in a house filled with books.
My parents were highly educated, both had master’s degrees; Mom taught French, Spanish, and English, and Dad edited encyclopedias. They read all the time. Our house was a haven for reading: there were books, piles of newspapers and magazines that never made it to recycling, and the implements of writing—towers of looseleaf, numerous notebooks, tons of copy paper, and a plethora of pens and pencils.
Read "Flies" in Campfire Tales: Book 1
An ordinary house fly perched on the granite countertop, nearly blending into the swirling patterns of grey and black. It was not especially large, like the ones that came later, but not small enough to be confused for a gnat.
Read (or listen to) "The Candy Store": published at Pseudopod.
Pennies jangled in his pockets.
Larry ran along Jamaica Avenue beneath the elevated railway, the bridge stretching on for miles. Cars’s headlights flickered down the corridor, winking like giant eyes.
Dark clouds clotted the afternoon sky, and humidity thickened the September air so that it clung to Larry’s skin, heavy and wet. Mom wanted him back before the storm broke.
The Candy Palace was six blocks from home.
Read "Dear Future Teachers: A Warning and Some Advice" in The English Record, Vol 67. Fall/Winter 2016
Recently, I was in the faculty room and tossed out this question: "What advice would you give to people entering the teaching profession?"
Read "Things Fall Apart" in Slices of Flesh
After Dad's funeral, we went to Napoli's for lasagna and hard liquor. After the second round of beverages, Collin told me about his teeth. The rear two molars had fallen out, completely intact.
Read "Halloween Candy" in Pass the Patch
Note: DiLeo published under his pseudonym, J.T. Warren.
I was restocking the million different varieties of baby lotion when the fight erupted at the far end of the aisle. I had seen something similar to this many times in my life as a stock boy and had even once witnessed an old lady beat a man over the head with an umbrella because he had snatched the last box of turkey stuffing.