*Please note, this story has not been properly formatted, edited, or even spell checked. It doesn't even have a title. I am a moron who forgot all about this until last minute, and so wasn't properly prepared. Here's my on-the-fly contribution to Kill Brian Keene in Your Blog Day.*
Brian stood on his porch and waved at his wife's car as she pulled out onto the main road. She was taking their son to her parents' place for the weekend. Brian had a deadline looming, so Cassandra thought a weekend of silence would help him. He smiled at the thought of her generosity and understanding. He'd have to think of a way to repay her.
But that was for later. It was time for him to get back to work. He'd promised his publisher that the novel would be ready by the end of next week, and he only had about 40,000 words completed. There would be no sleep this weekend. The only sounds around the house would be of his typing, the constant brewing of his coffee maker, and San Dog's snoring.
Around 2:00 AM Brian pushed his chair back from the computer desk. He rubbed at his blurry eyes and stretched, letting out a yawn so loud Sammy jumped up and hit his head on the underside of the desk.
"Sorry Sam Dog," Brian said as he scratched the bewildered dog's head. His tail thumped against the floor, matching the beat of the rain that had just started.
"Coffee. That's what I need, boy."
Brian staggered out of his office and into the main part of the house. He fumbled in the cabinet for a clean coffee mug. He had just started to pour his seventh cup of coffee of the evening when a noise caught his attention. It sounded like someone had bumped into his dining room table. He glanced down at Sam Dog, who let out a yelp and hid under the kitchen table.
"You're some help," Brian muttered. He grabbed a butcher knife off the counter and crept toward the dining room.
"Who's there?" His free hand slid back and forth over the wall next to him, searching for the light switch. A shadow crossed into his periphery, but before he could react he felt a crack on the back of his head, and everything went black.
Brian awoke with a throbbing headache. He attempted to reach for the back of his head but discovered he couldn't move his arms or legs. It took a minute for him to realize he was staring up at his kitchen ceiling. He turned his head and saw he was tied down on his kitchen table. He thought of Sam hiding under the table and was relieved to hear his barking outside.
"Hello?" His dry throat caused him to choke and cough.
"Oh, you're awake!" It was a female's voice, one he thought he'd heard before. Her face came into view, peering over him. "Sorry about the bump, but I had to get you restrained."
"Who the fuck are you?" Brian pulled at the ropes binding his wrists.
"I have to admit, for a 'Gangsta Horror' writer, you were easy to take down. Perhaps you really are all talk, like some say on the message boards."
"Look, I don't know what the hell you think you're doing, but you'd better untie me." Brian wracked his brain for a suitable lie. "Coop is on his way over, and you do NOT want to be here when he arrives."
The woman just smiled at him, her green eyes dull and empty, her brown hair pulled back into a pony tail. He knew he had seen her somewhere before. She was probably just some nut from one of his signings. She held up the kitchen knife he had been holding when she bludgeoned him.
"I'll just have to be quick then." She was calling his bluff.
"Okay lady, what is it that you want? I've got an office full of my limited editions. Take whatever you want and we can forget any of this ever happened."
The woman's smile faded and her brow furrowed. Brian could see her ears turning red. She raised the blade and brought it down next to his face. The blade nicked his cheek before becoming embedded in the wooden table.
"I have everything you've ever written! Every book in every format you've ever put out. Why in the hell would I need any more?"
"What is it you want then? Please, I'm a husband and father. Think about what you're doing!"
"I'm saving the horror genre. You've forgotten your roots. You're no longer the zombie guy."
Before Brian could respond, he heard a knock on the door. For a moment he thought maybe Coop had come to his rescue after all, but the smile on the woman's face proved he was still alone. She squealed in delight as she danced out of Brian's view. He could hear her open the door and heavy footsteps entered the house.
"I'm so sorry to have started without you, but he caught me by surprise."
Brian struggled to see who was with the woman, but the doorway was just out of his line of sight. He didn't have to wait long, as he heard the steps getting closer and closer to the table. A familiar face hovered over him.
"You?" Brian swallowed hard. "This is a joke, right?"
"He's bleeding. What the hell did you do?" Big Joe rubbed his temples.
Brian couldn't believe what he was seeing. Big Joe, his assistant, driver, bodyguard, and loyal friend for years, orchestrated a plot to kill him. Why? Hadn't he always been good to him? Sure, Brian mocked him in front of everyone, but it was all in good fun. And maybe he did name a necrophiliac after him in his book, but Joe had always been a sport. Joe was happiest when he was serving someone else. Brian just gave him what he wanted, right?
His eyes widened as he saw Joe pull a cleaver out of his backpack. "Brian..." Joe's voice was soft and calm, as always. He swung the cleaver downward as Brian squeezed his eyes shut and screamed. He could feel his bladder release and a steady stream of warm urine ran down his leg. And still he screamed. But he felt no pain.
He opened his eyes and watched as Joe swung the cleaver down again, this time on the other side of the table, cutting through the rope that was binding his right wrist. Brian realized that his left arm was already free.
"This is my new girlfriend, Alisha. I met her at one of your signings. She's a huge fan and, well, the two of us thought it would be funny to pull a sort of prank on you, since you're always giving me such a hard time." The cleaver came down again, freeing Brian's right leg. "She obviously got over excited. She was supposed to wait for me."
Brian's mouth hung open, his eyes fixed on Joe as he freed the last of the restraints. "Pretty funny though, right? You peed your pants! Sorry about your head and cheek."
Brian bolted upright and grabbed Joe around the throat. "Are you fucking crazy? She could have killed me!" Joe's face turned a steady shade of red as he grasped at his throat. Brian released him and Joe slumped to the ground, coughing and sputtering. Alisha ran to Joe's side and stroked his hair.
"Both of you, get the hell out of my house!"
The couple got to their feet and walked toward the door. Joe looked back and said, "So, I'll see you on Monday?"
"Yeah, see you Monday. I'm not paying you for this week though!" Brian stuck his finger in the air and jabbed it toward them.
"You never pay me, Brian." They closed the door behind them and Brian sank into a chair. He rubbed the back of his head and wondered how he would get his revenge. The coffee maker beeped, bringing him back to reality.
He made his way back to his office after finally getting his cup of coffee. Sam Dog was close behind, tail wagging. "I need a real guard dog."
As he sat back in his chair and tapped at his keyboard to get rid of the screen saver, he heard footsteps behind him. "Dammit Joe, I told you two to get the hell out of here!" He turned and saw a man he didn't recognize.
"I just read The Rising. You call that an ending?"
Brian could only scream as the man lunged at him, swinging a machete at Brian's neck. A fountain of blood spurted from the stump where his head used to be. The man took a long look at the head that was still rocking back and forth on the carpet. He glanced around at the bookshelves that lined Brian's office. A copy of City of the Dead caught his eye. He picked it up and read the back cover copy.
"Ohhhhh. There's a sequel." He tucked the book into his coat pocket, and walked out the door.Don't let Brian's death be for nothing.