Something Wicked This Way Comes

Friday, November 20, 2015


Happy November 20th, friends. I hope you're all gearing up for next week's holiday and the retail therapy that particular holiday affords us all.

Since I was a week late in starting this story, this week I'm posting parts 3 & 4. The conclusion, part 5, will post next week on Black Friday.

I hope the story's enjoyable; it's different from anything I've written before. I really enjoyed the research into the Cleveland Police Department, interrogation techniques, and writing a crime drama. If I've missed anything or made glaring errors, please leave a comment and let me know!

With no further blathering, enjoy parts 3 & 4 of Hell Is Empty & All The Devils Are Here.


Laocoon & His Sons; 1506; Athenodorus, Polydorus, & Agesander of Rhodes

by Tucker McCallahan
3 – JUNE 13, 2015, EVENING

“On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk

Grif dressed stiffly, yanking his tight, skinny jeans up over his hips. A whisper on the still air of the condo brought his head up like a prairie dog. His head whipped right and then left as he strained to listen.

The only audible sound was the extremely loud ticking of the antique clock in the great room.

Still, Grif couldn’t shake the sensation of being watched. He felt the eyes on his body, sensed something tracking every move he made. Tears filled his eyes. Being gay wasn’t his fault. It’s just what he was. He swallowed the sob threatening to burst from his throat. His parents had warned him ….

You know what to do.

The shock of the voice whispering in his ears sent Grif to the floor. He crouched low, desperately peering around the bedroom for the source of the voice.

He saw no one; he was alone.

You’ve sinned. You must make it right.

Grif clapped his hands over his ears. For a solid week he’d heard the voice. Sometimes it preached with such righteousness he ended up paralyzed with fear and shame. Other times, like now, it whispered insidiously.

“Stop. Please.” Grif spoke to the empty room, his voice pleading.

You know the law. If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.

“Leave me alone!”

Grif scrabbled for his boots as the voice grew louder, repeating the damning verse from Leviticus 20 over and over again. With a strangled scream, Grif left his boots untied and fled from the condo out onto the street.

He was supposed to wait for Levi to get home. They were going to have dinner before Levi dropped Grif off at the bar for work. Grif couldn’t stay in the condo another second, and if he was honest, he didn’t really want to see Levi. His boyfriend would do the lawyer thing and badger him relentlessly about why he was being difficult and distant. Or worse, Levi would just give him that look and mutter about “petulant children.” The nine years that separated them­–which hadn’t mattered in the six months they’d been going out–had shown a lot lately.

Grif hurried down the street, immediately feeling warm and sticky in Cleveland’s close summer heat. Normally it wouldn’t bother him, but with the voice’s stern reprimand echoing in his ears, Grif felt dirty.


He stopped at the bus stop. It was abandoned at this hour on a Saturday. Everybody who had gone to work this morning had already gotten home, and anybody who was going out hadn’t left yet. Grif was going to get to the bar hours before his shift, but he needed to be around people. The servers would all be at the bar, getting ready to open.

The bus pulled up exactly on time. The driver greeted him, but Grif kept his head down and went to sit near the back of the bus. He didn’t want to talk to anyone.

The ride to work was blissfully quiet. Grif breathed slowly in an attempt to calm his nerves. When the driver pulled up to his stop, Grif moved up the aisle to exit the bus. The driver stared at him as he approached.

“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” The bus driver’s face was blank, his eyes a flat matte black. “Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

Grif nearly leaped out of his skin. He ran from the bus and the driver, sprinting down Detroit Avenue.

The sight of the familiar sign above his workplace brought a small measure of comfort until Grif discovered the door was locked. He pounded on it with a closed fist. Just as he grew frantic, the door swung open. Cindy, one of the servers, stood in the open doorway. She looked at Grif like he’d gone insane. He shoved past her and headed straight for the bar.

“Uh … You know you’re like, an hour and a half early, right?”

Grif ignored her and helped himself to a healthy double shot of tequila. He slammed the shot back and immediately poured another.

“Did you and Levi break up?”

Grif didn’t even acknowledge her until he’d downed the third double shot. He used his foot to open the fridge below the bar and scooped the container of limes out. The plastic wrap over the container fluttered to the floor. Grif grabbed a wedge, shoved it in his mouth and bit down, his cheeks contracting as he sucked hard. His eyes watered, his stomach burned, but his head felt better almost instantly. He tossed the mangled lime in the trash and looked cautiously at Cindy.

“Yes. And no.”

“You broke up, but you didn’t?”

“Yes, I know I’m early, and no, we didn’t break up.” Grif collapsed onto the stool he wasn’t allowed to sit on during his shifts, his shoulders slumping. “Yet,” he added.

“What’s with the tequila?” Cindy radiated a mixture of concern and curiosity.

Grif fell silent. He had no idea what to say to her. If he told her the truth–that he’d been hearing voices for a week–she’d think he was crazy.

Maybe he was.

The tequila hit his stomach like an atomic bomb and numbed him from head to toe. Grif felt considerably more comfortable. If he was crazy, Cindy didn’t need to worry about him. He offered her one of his most charming smiles.

“How can I help you ladies?”

“You know Bill won’t pay you for the extra time.”

“That’s OK. I’m here; I might as well work.”

Cindy laughed and motioned him down the bar where she and another server wrapped silverware and put up clean dishes. Grif threw himself into the work, grateful for the repetitive motion and the company.

By the time they opened, Grif felt one hundred times better.


The Pancrastinae; 3rd Century BC; Uffizi Collection

4 – JUNE 17, 2015, NIGHT

“Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” ~ H.L. Mencken

A fly perched on the wall rubbing its front set of legs together. Grif focused on the fly and tried to block everything else out.

Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.

“No.” Grif shook his head. “Please.”

You know what to do.

“I don’t.”

You shall be washed clean in the blood of the sinner.

“Thou shalt not commit murder.”

The wages of the wicked are sin and death.

Tears ran down Grif’s face. Whatever pursued him was relentless. It invaded every space, penetrated Grif’s every waking hour. He was never alone, not even in his mind. It lived inside him, violating his every thought. He couldn’t escape.

You are corrupted.

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.”

Only blood will free you.

“Thy kingdom come, they Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Redemption comes only through blood.

“Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

Put to death sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed.

Grif clapped his hands over his ears. His voice shook and trembled through the sobs he couldn’t control.

“L–lead us not into temptation, but–”

An image blossomed in Grif’s mind. Wrapped in a sensual embrace, Grif slid in and out of Levi’s body to the symphony of his moans. Grif faltered; his prayer fell silent. The vision expanded, surrounding and engulfing him. The bed creaked. The musky scent of sex filled Grif’s nose.

Unable to resist, Grif surrendered, and the vision devoured him.

Levi’s exquisite tightness sent tingles racing over Grif’s skin. Such rapture … Light from the Tiffany lamp reflected off the razor in his hand. Chest to Levi’s back, Grif wrapped Levi in a one-armed embrace. Perilously close to orgasm, Levi closed his eyes. His head dropped forward, and with a guttural moan, he rocked against Grif.




With one decisive stroke, Grif slashed Levi’s throat from ear to ear. His eyes flew open, solidly black, his mouth stretching open in a silent shriek. With a snarl, Grif yanked Levi’s head back. Blood sprayed, spurting in time to Levi’s heartbeat. Grif sank his teeth into the torn flesh. Air bubbled up through Levi’s severed trachea creating a gory scarlet froth. Grif’s tongue lashed at it, licking along the razor’s slice. He slurped at the rhythmic flow, swallowing Levi’s blood in great gulps.

Reality slammed into Grif, a hard body check that knocked the vision away. He screamed. Shadows exploded across the floor and rushed up the walls to envelope the ceiling, eating up the light. Living darkness poured down into Grif’s open mouth. He went rigid, and then collapsed to the floor in a heap.

The lights blinked back on, the condo silent. Grif slowly climbed to his feet and went to the tremendous Victorian-era silver mirror beside Levi’s closet. As he gazed at his reflection, inky blackness swirled through his pupils and he smiled.

“Deliver us from evil.”


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Friday, November 13, 2015


Welcome to Part 2 of Hell Is Empty & All The Devils Are Here!


The Warren Cup, Side A
The British Museum

by Tucker McCallahan


2 – JUNE 5, 2015, EVENING


“It’s only in love and in murder that we still remain sincere.” Friedrich D├╝rrenmatt


Levi Reisbeck unlocked the front door of his condo and stepped inside. He transferred his briefcase to his opposite hand and juggled the bag of groceries on one arm to close and lock the door.


“Grif? You still here?”


Levi’s voice was a rich baritone, and one of his best assets as an attorney. His colleagues all said he had a silver tongue. Grif had said the same thing in an entirely different context. Levi smiled as he slipped his Ferragamo loafers off and tread on socked feet to the kitchen. He set the groceries on the island and went into the great room. He hung his suit coat around the recliner and dropped his briefcase on the ottoman.




Levi didn’t expect his boyfriend to answer. They’d argued the previous night. His sexy boy wasn’t out, and he refused to move in with Levi despite the fact that they’d been seeing each other exclusively for over six months.


Grif still kept his belongings at his parent’s house in Shaker Heights. Grif’s parents were old-fashioned: very white, very religious and very wealthy. Of course, Levi could buy and sell them half a dozen times over. The issue with the elder Edwards couple wasn’t money. They might’ve even forgiven Grif for falling in love with a Jew. But a man loving a man was a mortal sin, and if Grif confessed to being gay, they would excise him from their home and their life like a cancerous tumor. That was the issue.


Levi was more than tired of it.


He opened the door to the master bedroom and his breath caught. Any thoughts of arguing about how Grif’s closeted status affected their relationship vanished as Levi drank in the beauty sprawled across his king-sized bed.


Grif’s tall, well-muscled body laid diagonally, the royal blue sheets twisted around his torso and the upper part of one leg. His face was the picture of masculine beauty. Long dark eyelashes lay like French fans against the supple curve of his pale cheek, an exquisite contrast to the five o’clock shadow covering the sharp angle of his jaw.


Levi groaned as his body reacted to the sight. Something about Griffin Edwards drove him wild.


Entering the room on silent feet, Levi pulled his tie off and unbuttoned his shirt. He freed the pearl cufflinks from his French cuffs, taking the time to open his cufflink case and press the pair into the velvet slot they occupied when he wasn’t wearing them. His shirt and tie went into the dry cleaning bag on the back of his closet door, and he hung his crocodile belt on his belt rack. He was sliding out of his suit pants when he heard a soft chuckle.


“You are so anal.”


Levi turned toward the bed. Grif was propped up on one arm, watching him undress. Levi carefully hung the pants on a padded hangar and slowly approached the bed in his silk shorts and socks.


“I didn’t expect you to be here.”


“Work kept me til 3. I was too tired to ride the bus all the way home.” Grif fell back into the mound of pillows, his eyes closed.


Levi climbed onto the bed beside him, leaning down to gently brush his lips over Grif’s belly. He spoke with his mouth hovering over all that smooth pretty skin.


“This is your home.”


Grif groaned and rolled into Levi, reaching for him.


“Don’t wanna fight,” he mumbled, curling around Levi like a big house cat.


“Me either.”


Levi stroked a hand through Grif’s short hair. It was bed-mussed and beautiful, like the rest of him.


“Mmmm. More pets.”


Levi’s hand caressed Grif’s throat, slid over his broad shoulder and ended spread over a firm pectoral. A smile bloomed over Grif’s face as his eyes fluttered open, the blue of them as deep and royal as the sheets. A bolt of lust shot from Levi’s groin to his brain. He cupped Grif’s face.


“I want you.”


“I’m right here.” Grif rolled onto his back again. He was well on his way to being fully aroused, his erection tenting the sheet that covered it.


Levi knelt up and pulled his shorts off, letting them fall to the floor. His manicured hands gripped the sheet and untangled it, slowly pulling it free and exposing every inch of Grif’s pale flesh. Grif’s smile morphed into a naughty grin and he stretched, spreading his thighs wide. The sheet landed on the floor beside the duvet. Levi slid up Grif’s body and blanketed it, grinding against him.


“Fast and rough, or slow and hard?” Levi whispered, staring into Grif’s eyes.


“Fast and hard.”


“That wasn’t a choice.”


“I figured a big-time lawyer would be open to negotiations.”


Grif’s hands landed on Levi’s firm ass and squeezed. Levi’s chocolate-colored eyes darkened to almost black.


“You’re cheating.”




Levi wrenched away just long enough to yank open the bottom drawer of his nightstand and deal with the condom and lube. He scooped Grif’s legs up over his forearms. Grif moaned, a shiver running down his body as Levi rubbed against him, teasing.


“Oh God ….”


Before Grif could start praying in earnest, Levi buried himself in Grif’s body.


Grif’s hand went to his dick as his back arched. Levi did exactly what Grif had asked for and pounded into him hard and fast. Grif went boneless, relaxing completely and sinking into the pleasure blazing up over his body. His hand fell away from his erection and his head kicked back, his mouth dropping open in ecstasy.


“You feel so good.” Levi leaned over Grif and claimed his open mouth in a hard possessive kiss.


Grif whimpered, clinging. This angle was better. The flames licking over his skin ate all the way through his body. Orgasm burst over him, and he attacked Levi’s mouth.


“Fuuuuck ….” Levi groaned as Grif came, rippling and clenching so hard Levi’s eyes rolled back. The warm spurts of Grif’s release spread between them and Levi tripped. The rush was all-consuming. Collapsing against Grif’s damp body, Levi petted him and pressed kisses all over Grif’s face.


“I was afraid you’d be angry I came here.”


“Grif, I meant what I said.” Levi pulled Grif close and held him tight. “This is your home.”


Grif’s arms tightened around Levi. This was right; Grif knew it was. He loved Levi more than he’d ever loved anyone. Levi kissed him again, stealing the breath from his lungs and leaving Grif dizzy. He gazed up into Levi’s beautiful face, his mouth open to agree to move in, finally. A black shadow that wasn’t quite hidden by the rich chocolate color swirled through Levi’s eyes.


Grif froze, the words he’d been about to speak forgotten.


Levi smiled, and it was terrifying. “I’d claim you body and soul if you’d just let me.”


Every hair on the back of Grif’s neck stood up. Ice flooded his veins and chills erupted over his whole body. Struggling free of Levi’s embrace, Grif rolled out of bed so fast he almost fell. He bolted for the bathroom leaving Levi in bed, staring at Grif’s retreating back.


The Warren Cup, Side B
The British Museum


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Friday, November 6, 2015


Greetings my friends and readers. It's been a while since I've posted, and I wanted to take a brief moment to update you.

First, a belated blessed Samhain and Happy Halloween to you all. The day here in northeastern Ohio was subdued for my family, but still beautiful.

As some of you know, my partner of over a decade has spent the last several years fighting chondrosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. When this battle began, we were extremely hopeful, since statistically it's a very survivable form of cancer that's treated with surgery. Unfortunately, my partner wasn't on the winning side of the statistics. The tumor that was removed regrew, and spread.

I've not shared this publicly before now, but I'm left with little choice. This year has been full of incredibly high high's and devastatingly low low's. It's resulted in me putting my writing on hold for family, something I do not regret. Life happens, and we do the best we can with what we have.

I'd like to thank my friends, family, readers, and my writing groups (Free Fiction Friday, Akron NaNo, & The Writer's Workout) for all of your support this year. It's enabled me to continue writing & to attack my work with a fresh perspective. It's my sincere hope that the hardship, tears, joy, and pain of this year inspires deeper and more meaningful content.

Now onto the story.

I fully intended to post the first chapter of this for Halloween. Since that didn't happen, the story will be posted throughout November, culminating on Black Friday - which I find both satisfying and appropriate. I hope you enjoy Hell is Empty & All the Devils Are Here.

Dante & Virgil In Hell (1850) - William-Adolphe Bouguereau

By Tucker McCallahan © 2015
This is a copyrighted work of fiction. All rights reserved.
1 – JUNE 19, 2015, MORNING
“Once drops of blood are shed upon the ground they cry out for still more blood.” ~ Aeschylus
Detective Zachary Blake stared up at the high-rise building from the quiet of the car he shared with his partner, Detective Justin Easton. The front of the building had already been cordoned off with wooden barricades and police tape. Big surprise–the media had already shown up. Several reporters Zach didn’t want to tangle with filmed segments for the morning news.
“Live at six, murder and mayhem on the West Side.” Justin’s droll voice cut through the dread building in Zach’s gut.
“Yeah.” Zach pocketed the keys.
“You catch the action on the window?”
Zach climbed out of the unmarked Dodge Charger. He peered up at the high-rise again. The June sun had broken the horizon and crept steadily up the side of the building, creating a headache-inducing glare. Zach shaded his eyes with one hand.
“Seven windows up, two in from the right.”
Zach zeroed in on the window in question. Two messy, dark red stripes haphazardly scored the inside of the window. After ten years with the Cleveland PD–four as a detective–Zach knew blood spray when he saw it.
He and Justin headed for the entrance. Both ignored the shouted questions from reporters and ducked under the caution tape. Uniformed officers milled around everywhere. Several took statements. Zach caught snatches of the conversations as he and Justin walked to the bank of elevators.
“Never had a problem with either–”
“Levi’s been my neighbor for years; I just can’t believe–”
“I knew that boyfriend was trouble: I warned–”
Justin and Zach slipped into one of the four elevators and hit the button for the seventh floor. The doors slid shut silently. They both glanced around the elevator interior. Floor to ceiling mirrors, thick plush carpeting, and not one but two security cameras embedded into the car. Justin was utterly devoid of emotion as he ran a hand along the genuine oak trim gilded with shining, regularly polished silver. He glanced at Zach.
“Expensive building.”
Very expensive.”
“We know what the vic did for a living?”
“Levi Reisbeck was a corporate attorney. Worked downtown for the Fed.”
The doors opened and they emerged into chaos. The medical examiner had already arrived, and Zach could hear the crime scene techs murmuring as they snapped pictures and set up evidence markers. The ranking onsite officer met Zach and Justin three steps into the condo.
“Glad you could make it.”
“Hell of a party,” Justin said quietly.
“It doesn’t get any weirder than this.” Sergeant Feldman shook his head.
“Oh I don’t know.” Zach’s sharp gaze swept the spacious entryway, the immaculate great room, the open kitchen beyond and multiple pieces of museum-quality art and sculpture scattered throughout the home. “That burned guy we pulled out of Lake Erie was pretty strange.”
“That wasn’t even homicide.” Feldman frowned at Zach as they moved through the condo. The three men stopped at the doorway to the master bedroom. “This definitely was.”
“What gave that away?”
Levi Reisbeck lay naked in the center of a massive king-sized bed, his throat gaping open like some obscene second smile. Wet, tacky blood had spread around the body in a Georgia O’Keefe-esque blossom. Zach looked over at the medical examiner.
“Time of death?”
“Very recent. Maybe two hours.”
“Who called 9-1-1?”
“The victim’s alleged boyfriend, Griffin Edwards.” Feldman checked his notepad. “He was arrested and taken to division headquarters.” The sergeant met Zach’s eyes. “He confessed.”
“Whoa.” Justin whistled softly. “Can we get closer to the bed?”
“Sure.” The ME nodded as he scribbled on a tablet. “We’ve taken a whole album-full of photos. We’ll run him in and do all the standard tests.” The physician used his plastic-covered stylus to point toward an old-style straight razor covered in gore that lay on one of the six pillows. “Weapon’s right there. He was almost decapitated; the blade cut through both external and internal jugular veins, the left external carotid, and the trachea. He even severed part of the thyroid cartilage.”
Zach and Justin pulled nitrile gloves on and stepped into the fray.
“Is that significant?”
“Takes a lot of adrenaline or physical strength to get through protective cartilage with a razor.”
“Looks like the body was arranged.” Justin cocked his head as he gazed down at what remained of Levi Reisbeck.
“It was.” The ME stepped up and indicated each arm with his covered stylus. “See the bloody prints on the arms?” He then pointed up at the gaping throat wound. “The length of the slice, the angle, the depth, plus the arterial spray on the bed, wall, and window all indicate a slashing motion, left to right, from behind. See how the cut is shallow on that left side and angles up toward the right ear?”
Justin and Zach absorbed the information, their gazes intent on the body.
“Dude went downright Sweeney Todd on this guy.” Justin shook his head slowly.
Zach edged closer, careful not to step in any of the blood spattered across the expensive carpeting.
“So the boyfriend–”
“Alleged boyfriend,” Feldman supplied.
“Right.” Zach offered the veteran sergeant a sardonic smile. “Because most buddies party naked, front to back, on a big bed.”
“I’m just telling you what the subject said.”
“Were you first on the scene?”
“Bright and early. Good thing I didn’t have time for that egg McMuffin.”
“What happened?”
“We responded to the 9-1-1 call. Found the victim on the bed; Edwards covered in blood. He told us he slit the vic’s throat. We arrested him, called it in, had a black and white cart him off.”
Zach leaned down, his face uncomfortably close to the dead man’s gaping throat wound. His head whipped back to the ME.
“You get pictures of this?”
“The marks by the laceration? Yes.”
“Any theories on what caused them?”
“I have a good idea, but I’ll let our tests and measurements confirm it.”
“They look like teeth marks.” Zach’s deep blue eyes bored into the physician.
“There’s a swirl pattern under the left ear, too.”
“I see that.” Zach stared at the wound and marks, his face so close the fruity metallic odor of the blood oxidizing almost overwhelmed him. “Lick marks.”
“You mean …” Justin’s face pinched. “Edwards slit his throat and sucked his blood?”
“I’ll know for sure after autopsy.” The ME sounded calm and detached, but his eyes gave him away. He looked unsettled.
Zach continued to gaze at Levi Edwards’ slit throat. The cut was so deep across his windpipe Zach could see the faint glint of white bone. Zach tried to envision the crime: the killer behind the victim, one arm across his chest as he sliced the throat open, mashed his face into the spurting wound, and swallowed hot blood. The image disturbed Zach on a visceral level.
He was about to back up when a sliver of dark shadow rippled through the deepest part of the wound. Zach squinted; sure it had been a trick of the light. His eyes searched through the mutilated tissue and coagulated blood to find that bit of darkness again. He carefully put one gloved hand on the bed and the other on the body, leaning even closer, but he saw nothing. He wrote it off to his brain trying to process the gore. Zach pulled back and made sure not to touch anything with his bloody gloves.
“You good, partner?” Justin’s concern was clear in his voice. He and Zach locked eyes. The corners of Zach’s mouth quirked up.
“Our first vampire. Can’t wait to meet him.”
Without another word, Cleveland’s finest detectives turned and left the crime scene, pausing by the door to drop their gloves in the biohazard bag.


Once again, thanks so much for reading! Comments are, as always, craved and appreciated. 

Be Sure To Check Out The Other Stories:

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