Movie Mayhem


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He had a reputation for taking his films to the very edge. Love scenes verged on pornography, death scenes verged on snuff and psychological horror famously drove various studio unfortunates completely mad.

Darious King ensured, like his name, he was king of the set. Thousands of re-takes for perfection’s sake depleted his terrified cast. Editors came close to slicing their own necks from the constant slicing and dicing he required for the film. He knew that to make great art was to suffer, and from his perspective, I didn’t matter who suffered. So it may as well be them – his luckless cast and crew. There was no need for it to be him.

But there’s always the time you push too far.

King had his eye on a very particular crown – the coveted ‘Masters of Horror’ prize which would only ever be given from the film community to breakout, breakthrough horror cinema. He was determined to receive this award regardless of cost to anyone.

Some say sacrifices of a very literal kind were involved in his purchase of the Necro-romance novel series – the new horror literary sensation from wunderkind Alex Masters. It could well be true. Alex Masters was well-known in the LA underground and he never denied the rumours that he’d sold his soul for his literary inspiration.

“I serve the muse,” he would say. “And so must anyone who wishes to adapt my work.”

King was happy enough to serve the muse. Happy to drive his cast and crew relentlessly through a horror motif that stretched their very minds and souls. Happy to see them suffer for the rapacious muse.

But muses are contrary creatures, and this one wasn’t satisfied with the fare provided. This one wanted something more substantive, something with more dark meat on its bones. Something, or someone, like King.

The work was never completed. After the carnage where the crew snapped and killed their cruel master, Alex Master reviewed the work and decried it as a complete mess, shutting down any other attempts for future cinematic portrayals.

Not that anyone was likely to come buying. The deaths on set were numerous and bizarre. And none more than the death of King, crowned and nailed to his own bloodied throne, serving forevermore as a cautionary tale for those that push the limits too far.

(c) Helen M Valentina 2019

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Midas Kiss


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They said she had the Midas Kiss. One touch, one caress, of her lips and all turned to gold in your world. Not literally, of course.

Well..not at first..

That’s the thing, isn’t it, with promises too sweet? With the gift that seems almost too good to be true? It usually is.

Still, men and women both clamoured for her attention. Nightclubs provided her own special booth, like the most glorious of traps for this glittering trapdoor spider. At art events the patrons would swarm round her, neglecting the art. At theatre opening nights the stars would be ignored, as she sashayed down the red carpet, owning it.

None begrudged her a moment. All wanted what she offered. Just one kiss.

And those chosen found their lives transformed. News travelled fast of great wealth, great fame. All the gold in the world.

But what you never heard about was what happened after that. The news followed the next story, the next miracle and forgot the ones that came before. So the cautionary tales never made the headlines, and no-one ever learned in time.

About how it started, three to six months later. At first just a stiffness in the joints, like arthritis. A parched throat that no water seemed to satisfy. A coldness in veins which gradually became more prominent, raised and angry beneath skin more brittle, more dry.

And then the gold. The infestation of gold. Just like King Midas. Just like the fairy story, but this time in real life.

It took eight months in all. She would send her henchmen to collect at that date, the new gold statue for her endless collection. If she was pleased she would keep them, if not she would melt them down for expenditure in other ways. And she grew wealthy in her quiet, secret way.

The woman with the Midas Kiss.

(c) Helen M Valentina 2019

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Career Advice for the Afterlife


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So let’s look at your life resume. What did you excel at, what did you achieve, before you skipped off the mortal coil and found yourself here?

They say you were a ruthless salesperson, a money maker through cutting through the losses and stupidities of others. It says you didn’t care too much who you hurt, only that the profits were good and your managers were happy.

And it seems they were very, very happy indeed. Until that one time that maybe you sought to take more than you were promised? Ah yes, I see, that’s just before you came here.

Well, that’s a sort of severance I suppose. A termination if you will.

You must allow me my little jests. This is an often thankless task, being a recruiter in the underworld. I mean, it was what I was in life so I fit right in, but the options here, if you want to advance, seem bent towards your less favourable qualities. That can be…dis-spiriting..for me. Did you see what I did there? Dis-spiriting in the spirit world?

Never mind…

Ok, it seems pretty obvious what you will excel at anyway. What would fit a ruthless, precise girl like you? And with all the troubles in the world today we are in short supply of your very much in demand talents. A skills shortage in the afterlife, if you will.

They never really existed in real life you know – the skills shortages? We just said they did. The perception of lack was good for business.

But here, well here certain skills really are limited. So it’s very good you’ve died and joined us now. It’s a premium growth time for the career trajectory of someone just like you.

So just sign here. It’s a contract for your new role. A Reaper, they call it. You get to bring the others here. You get to bring in the dead.

Right up your alley, wouldn’t you say? Sign now and we can get your outfitted in a lovely black uniform and give you a brand new scythe.

I’m glad to see you are so excited at the prospect. I thought you might be. Well, that’s excellent then.

You’ll fit right in. And I’m sure you’ll be a high performer and upwardly mobile before you know it.

What? No, not upwardly mobile there. You can’t work your way there, and you weren’t good enough in life to just get there.

But don’t fret my dear. I think your new role is going to fit you just fine. Just fine.

© Helen M Valentina 2019


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Mr Movie Man


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Please Mr Movie man
Turn out the lights
Show me the new release
I will delight
As all the actors dance
Maybe they’ll sing
I will be satisfied
With anything
If please Mr Movie man
You just start the show
It’s still so dark in here
No-one will know

Please Mr Movie man
I’m just a ghost
And it’s my movie nights
I miss the most
All of my family
Lost down below
Give me some comfort now
On with the show
It’s still so dark in here
I’m so alone
Play me a movie now
Let this be home

© Helen M Valentina 2019

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The Nuns of Saint Claire


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Beware they said
The nuns of Saint Clare
Don’t go there they said
Never go there
For they’ll eat you alive
It’s how they survive
The terrible nuns of Saint Claire

None spared they said
The nuns of Saint Claire
Do not care they said
For your despair
Their souls are sold
For riches and gold
The terrible nuns of Saint Claire

They’ll stare they said
The nuns of Saint Claire
From the stair they said
Hovering there
Demon possessed
Blood rite obsessed
The terrible nuns of Saint Claire

© Helen M Valentina 2019

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The Search Party


Image Credit: Ilkin Zeferli/

He stayed out past the time the search party gave up.

He knew he was probably searching for her ghost now, his little girl, because he knew the statistics of time and missing children and he knew the rumours of this town.

He should never have come here, damn the job, damn the opportunity to hell. But when his wife died he’d been so adrift, with only his little girl and his ambition to give any purpose to life. And so he came here, to this place, where career opportunities beckoned so sweetly, even though he’d read the newspaper stories about it.

About how kids went missing here, all the damn time….

Because that was what happened to others, not him, surely?

But then, he should have known better. Because losing your wife to cancer so young happened to others too, didn’t it? So how could he feel so safe really? So lucky, so clearly able to beat the odds?

He was the bloody odds. He should have seen it. But there are none so blind as those who will not see.

And now, now in the depths of the forest, his little light so weak, he was truly blind. He called her name, but it was ashes on his tongue. He knew. He knew she was gone. And in his heart of hearts, though he yearned to see her – if only her ghost – he wanted the comfort of thinking she was with her mother now, and the ignorance, the blindness of never knowing what happened to her in those final moments.

But still he searched, weariness a constant companion, almost beckoning the night to take him also, to take him home. To kill him too.

© Helen M Valentina 2019


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Girl Power


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In my town ‘girl power’ means something different

I know what it means in comics and movies. I know it’s all about super powers and aliens, or magical suits, or being bitten by spiders or some such rot.

And I know of recent times ‘diversity’ has meant that girls get centre stage more often in those stories and those myths. About time too, but I don’t really care.

Because here, here, girl power is real. Girl power is the power of nurture and nature, of life and death. Of the blood and of the harvest. And we are revered here, and trained for it, from birth.

It runs in our veins and it is the touch of my blade, the clean clear cut of the corn and the sacrifices made. We choose the time, we choose the place, we choose the ones offered. Boys, always boys. Because here, here girls have all the power.

As it should be.

We don’t need magic. We are magic. We don’t need spaceships. We just fly. And we don’t need superpowers to vanquish our enemies. We rule the harvest, the moon and the corn.

And that’s all the girl power we would ever need.

© Helen M Valentina 2019

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Older Gods


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They said the older gods were returning.

They kept skulls of animals to approximate their gods. She liked the skulls very much. She could feel their power and promise when she held them. She could almost hear the gods on their travels, coming home at last.

They’d been gone so long.

She shouldn’t have touched the skulls. She knew. It was forbidden. But no-one knew she did, only her.

And she felt a communion with them that might have horrified the others if they’d understood what it meant. But they didn’t know. They thought their little religions and their little rituals held the mystery and power.

So little did they know.

But she knew.

She knew the old gods were returning because she felt them there already, running in her veins as her blood, as she held their skulls.

She was born for this. For this returning. For this time. Her coming was a signal, her birth a herald. But they didn’t see it, because the birth of a girl would never be considered such.

Ah, but there it was, how perfectly the old gods tricked the faux faithful. There was truth greater, and simpler, than their recitations, their incantations, their spells and their schemes.

And they would know in time, but only when They returned.

And then she would rejoice.

© Helen M Valentina 2019

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Black Cat


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Black cat watching
Deep in the night
Spring out one moment
Kill us with fright
Black cat purring
Stalking its prey
Who will survive till
Sweet break of day?

Black cat omen
Witches and spells
All of your secrets
Nobody tells
Black cat fortunes
Tricksters and lies
By the morning
Which of us dies?

© Helen M Valentina 2019


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Night Stalker


Image credit: Illkin Zeferli/

He was a night stalker. Her night stalker.

He came in the dark of the night, pitch black like his heart, a shadowy form at one with the shadowy realms.

He never touched her, just watched her sleep. There was a kind of strange, distorted tenderness to it perhaps. A vigil, watching over her. But then, who knew what might have happened if she had woken and had seen him there. Would he be protector then, or the one she needed protection from?

It never came to that. He was quiet and careful. He imbued his very essence in the house so that during the day she would sometimes startle at something, and turn around quickly, expecting to see something or someone. But there was nothing, just the invisible imprint of his nightly visits, speaking to her unconscious in a language she could not understand.

This lasted years and never changed. She changed, she grew, she lived her life. But the nights were the same, and belonged to him.

Until one night, for no apparent reason, he did not come. And then another night he was absent, and then another. Till eventually the house knew, at least, that he was gone.

Had passion died, or transferred its perverse obsession to another? Or had he died, or been force to leave town?

She never knew he was there in the first place, so of course could never know why he had gone. But something in the darkened hallways seemed to miss him from then on, their ghostly, ghastly visitor. And that sadness and loss seeped into her until she left the place, moved on, never really knowing why.

Leaving the house completely alone.

© Helen M Valentina 2019

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