12 Twisted Tales from America’s Deep South! Psychotic Killers, Bloodthirsty Monsters and Ghastly Specters from Beyond the Grave!
The third collection of dark fiction from Matthew Weber (A Dark & Winding Road, Seven Feet Under) will grab you like a meat hook and keep you turning pages long after you’ve wet the bed. From back-country curses and maniacal next-door neighbors to alien invasions and shape-shifting beasts, Teeth Marks delivers the most fun you’ll ever have reading about terrible things.
Published by Pint Bottle Press
Excerpt from “Silly Rabbits”
(From Teeth Marks collection)
By Matthew Weber
…The creature grew and changed shape in the back of the Jeep, morphing from man to huge black beast, something with pronged horns and hot, acrid breath. Its teeth snapped Freidman’s skull in half with a single bite.
A blithering mess, Harper slapped for the door handle. Run, oh God! Just run! Oh God! Where’s the handle! He looked for the lever and saw the guns on his belt. The silver bullets!
He drew the revolver and fired into the creature five times, until the chamber clicked empty.
Now deaf with his ears ringing, Harper stared in horror as the thing grew and grew, never even flinching from the bullets that blazed through its flesh. The hulking form pressed against the roof of the car and bowed the metal. With a screech and a pop, the roof peeled away, and the thing shot up into the night and disappeared.
Wind stirred inside the vehicle, swirling around Harper, who had his hand on his heart to check his pulse rate. His breathing came quick and shallow. He scoured the sky. Then he rose up and scanned the countryside. Cloaked by the night, the thing that had been George Caufield could be anywhere, just out of sight, eyeballing its next course while sharpening its claws.
Get ahold of yourself. Calm down. Concentrate. Consider your options.
The silver bullets hadn’t worked. Harper had the gas can in the back, but no way to deploy it now that his captive had broken free of the restraints. He had the machete, but dreaded getting close enough to the monster to use it.
And that’s what this thing was … a monster. What else could you call it? A monster had killed Freidman.
The car shook as a heavy thud struck the earth just beyond reach of the headlights, which shined obliquely across the dirt path. Something big moved in the darkness ahead.
With the engine still idling, Harper straightened in his seat, dropped into first gear and floored it. The motor revved, and the wheels hummed, but the SUV went nowhere. The tires caught no traction. Harper rocked and thrust in his seat, trying to tilt the car, to weigh it down on the road so the tread would bite. Again, he hit the gas, but the Jeep stayed put.
The creature roared and stepped into the yellow light. The size of ten men, the huge black thing looked more beast than human, and more bat than wolf. Gigantic, membranous wings spread from its back in a bus-length span. It stalked forward in a hungry prowl on scythe-like talons that rattled with every step. Puffs of vapor wafted from its snout, and two deep-set eyes flickered like bright red flame.
Having regained composure, Harper knew one thing damn well: This creature had his number. Hard to deny that. Yet, as he sat in the now-convertible car like an oyster on a half shell, Harper began to fume. So what if he’d met his match. So fucking what. That didn’t matter. What mattered was that this creature had come face to face with James mother-fucking Harper, one man who refused to go down without a fight.
He grabbed Freidman’s flask from the glove box, pulled off the cap and sucked down a huge shot of throat-burning whiskey. Then he untwisted his partner’s fingers from the nine-millimeter dangling from his hand. He opened the Jeep door, drew his own backup sidearm, and wrapped his fingers around both triggers.
As Harper stepped into the light of the headlamps, the creature lowered its horned head and growled deeply, a cavernous sound that smoldered and echoed across the emptiness. Two slender serpentine tails emerged from behind it, writhing like skeletal whips. Each tail brandished a sharp, spiny tip. The tails snaked upward, then arched and hovered above.
Harper tightened his grip, raised both barrels and aimed. “George Davis Caufield,” he said to the thing. “I fucking warned you.”
In hot, white flashes, the guns blasted through the night, exploding the quiet and calm. With clenched-teeth ferocity Harper squeezed harder and faster as he marched ahead. The bullets plunged into the thing. It shuddered and hissed, and even backed away. Anger fueled Harper with high-octane rage as he gained ground, his blood pumping with lava-like adrenaline.
The hail of ammunition finally ran dry as the incendiary blasts softened to a click-click-click. The smell of cordite burned Harper’s nostrils.
The demonic thing quivered in a mound.
After a moment it peered up.
Harper stared at its wounds. They leaked a viscous fluid. He’d wounded the thing. That meant he could kill it. Harper drew the machete. He lowered his shoulder and lunged forward with charging speed…
“Matthew Weber writes with a simple and straight-forward style that reminds us of the best story tellers. I’ve always had a weakness for those who tell it like they were sitting across from you on the porch on an Autumn evening, sipping tea and spinning yarns. Weber’s work is a lot like that but man, the yarns he spins…”
– John Boden, author of Jedi Summer & the Magnetic Kid
“Teeth Marks is exactly the kind of horror I enjoy. It jumps and jives all over the place… As a collection it flows well, and there’s a great deal of darkness mixed with black humor.”
-Michael Noe, Slap Happy Fun Time blog
“Teeth Marks belongs on the top ten list of best horror literature of 2017. It’s a ghastly fun ride.”
-Renier Palland, Bloody Good Horror Books
Matthew Weber is editor of the Double Barrel Horror anthology series and author/illustrator of the children’s book, I Want To Be a Monster When I Grow Up. He has served as editor-in-chief of Extreme How-To magazine since 2003 and is also author of the non-fiction book, The Quick & easy Home DIY Manual (Weldon Owen Publishing). He lives just north of Birmingham, Alabama, with his wife, two sons and daughter. When he isn’t chasing kids, writing or remodeling, he plays bass guitar for the punk band SKEPTIC? Find his books at Amazon.