Kindle Edition will be free on 3/11/15!
Publisher Sebastian Bendix
Published in Literature & Fiction
Kindle Edition will be free on 3/11/15!
Once, twice, three... shoot! When the Filthy Habits find themselves locked in their rehearsal studio, it seems like just another bump in the road to stardom for the wildly-coiffed rock band. But hidden deep in the recesses of the converted old mill lurks a horror cut from the finest tailor's cloth -- and it doesn't take kindly to loud music and unruly fashion! An incantation is spoken, bringing the horror's oversized scissors snapping to life, and soon the rockers are a band on the run... for their lives!
The ground floor was a nest of shadows, the only light being that of the moon peeking through the high-ceilinged windows. Several panes were broken due to punk-ass kids throwing rocks, but they were too high up for even the bravest vandal to attempt climbing in. Not that anyone in their right mind would want to. Beard took out his phone, turned on the flashlight app and scanned the walls, looking for any sign of a light switch. He found one that looked at least fifty years old, and was surprised when after throwing it a few hanging lamps sputtered to life, polka-dotting the vast space with pools of sickly light.
As predicted, the place was a scavenger’s delight. Stacks upon stacks of antiquated textile equipment were piled all around, leaving little more than a hallway’s width of space to maneuver at any given location. The closest comparative would be a junkyard, but instead of used cars there were rusted looms and knitting machines to get lost among. As Beard walked along the hulking stacks he marveled at the old-timey craftsmanship; there didn't seem to be a piece of equipment here that dated far past 1950. He was tempted to dig into the stacks and see what he could salvage, but the jagged, rust-coated tangles of metal promised scratches and cuts and the certainty of tetanus. A trip to the doctor was something Beard couldn't afford, so he tabled his trash picker impulses and set his mind on locating the damn fusebox.
He followed the snaking, archaic electrical system, finally finding the fusebox tucked behind a stack of old crates. The thing looked as though it hadn't been touched in decades; Chaz was apparently too lazy to set up a new electrical system. It took him a few minutes, but Beard figured out which fuse went to the Filthy Habits’ room, and throwing the switch was satisfied that somewhere in the complex his bandmates were celebrating restored power. He could have just called or texted one of them to confirm, but Weird Beard just didn’t operate that way. He was a man who did things first and worried about them later, if he worried at all.
His eyes now fully adjusted to the dim light, Beard caught a glimpse of an open door that led to a small, cluttered room tucked off to the side. An imposing physique and general attitude of recklessness gave Beard a cocksure edge, so wandering into the room was, for him, no great show of courage. But when he saw what stood there waiting for him, even his blind self-assurance was given a punch to the gut.
The first thing Beard noticed about the man was his shoes; black, outdated and fastened with big brass buckles that were polished to an impossible shine. His legs were long, freakishly so, and on his lanky frame he wore a tailored, pin-striped suit that was a garish shade of red, the sort of thing a carnival barker might wear. A stovepipe hat sat cocked on his head at a jaunty, gravity defying angle and the hair that was tucked under it was shellacked and sculpted in a perfect, immobile wave. But the most unsettling thing was the man’s face; his eyes, ice blue, were staring over a needle-sharp nose, and his mouth was frozen in a mocking leer. His teeth were small and perfectly chiseled, set in a gleaming row under blood-red lips. They were so perfect and white Beard figured they had to be false; no one had teeth that clean around here.
Beard tensed, expecting the man to charge at him, but then he recognized that this “man” was not a living human being but a tailor’s mannequin – the largest he had ever seen. A wave of relief rushed over him and he laughed, feeling stupid for getting so spooked. He walked right up to the mannequin and stood there, looking up into the down-gazing face. The thing smiled back at him with pink plaster cheeks, painted to give the rosy illusion of life.
“What’s up, dude?” Beard joked to the perpetually amused gentleman. Naturally there was no response. Even up close the mannequin’s appearance was quite impeccable; his suit was so clean it could have come straight from the dry cleaner's without a button missing, not a thread out of place. The only thing that seemed slightly incongruous was a yellowed piece of paper that was bobby-pinned to the suit’s perfectly pressed lapels.
There were words written on the paper in elegant script, as if drawn from the tip of a fountain pen. They were arranged in stanzas like a song or a poem, and Weird Beard had to squint and get closer to read what they said.
Beard returned to the rehearsal room to find the lights back on, his mission a success. “Hey, check it out,” he announced, holding up the paper he had found on the strange mannequin.
Dreads was grateful to have Beard back as being alone with Knot-top always gave the room a weird tension; he always seemed ready to make yet another pass at her. She tried to get a better look at the paper the drummer was holding, but he held it away from her, teasing. Beard seemed to think that he and Dreads had some sort of playful rapport, but in truth she just found him kind of annoying. She didn’t know which appealed to her less – his shaky drumming or his obnoxious personality.
Next door, the prog rockers were still droning away, so Beard grabbed a mic, adding wattage to his already loud voice. “Hold up, hold up,” he shouted over the PA. “Give me some kind of riff. Something real dirty and mean.”
Dreads looked to Top, who seemed irritated that Beard hadn’t stayed gone longer. But he was willing to indulge the drummer so he shrugged into a snaky riff. Even Dreads had to admit that for an off-the-cuff jam it was pretty cool – hypnotic and spooky. She joined in, playing off of his root notes with melody of her own, and soon they had a nice little loop going.
Beard bobbed his head along to the beat, digging the sound. After several measures, he held the paper in front of his face and recited into the mic:
“Nothing good can ever come
Of little boys who suck their thumbs
To clean them up from head to hands
We call upon the scissor-man
For the Tailor knows of parents’ woes
And with his shears clips filthy toes…”
Before the grisly poem could be finished the PA blasted ear-rupturing feedback, the smear of sound blotting out the rest of the words. Even the band next door seemed quieted by the bizarre incantation. The Filthy Habits looked at one another, all of them spooked, and then Beard broke out in a gale of amplified, nervous laughter. Knot-top put down his guitar in a huff.
“Dude, what the fuck was that shit?”
Beard showed the guitarist the paper. “I found it in the old mill. Freaky, huh?”
Irritated, Knot-top snatched the paper, crumpled it up into a ball and dropped it. “This is just bullshit poetry some Goth douchebag left lying around.”
Beard scowled at him and picked the paper back up, carefully un-crumpling it. “Dude, not cool. This shit is seriously old. I found it pinned to this creepy-ass mannequin down there. Trust me, no Goth kid would have the balls to go anywhere near that thing.”
“What did it say,” Dreads asked, strangely intrigued. “Something about a ‘scissor-man’?”
Beard gave the words a re-inspection at her request. “Yeah, I dunno. It sounds like if your kid is a dirty little shit you can call on this Tailor guy and he’ll come take care of them with his scissors or something.” His eyes glazed over a moment, lost in thought. “Maybe that crazy-ass mannequin was supposed to be this... Tailor, come to think of it.”
Join BookDaily now and receive featured titles to sample for free by email.
Reading a book excerpt is the best way to evaluate it before you spend your time or money.
Just enter your email address and password below to get started:
Instant Bonus: Get immediate access to a daily updated listing of free ebooks from Amazon when you confirm your account!
Sebastian Bendix is a Los Angeles based writer and musician, as well as host of midnight horror film series, Friday Night Frights. He attended school at Emerson College for creative writing and spent his formative years in Boston playing in popular local band The Ghost of Tony Gold. Upon moving to LA he transitioned back to writing, contributing articles for the entertainment site CHUD.com and the print publication Mean Magazine. Stepping into the world of horror fiction, Bendix has found success both online and in print with numerous stories published in the genre imprints Grinning Skull Press, Encounters Magazine, Sanitarium Magazine, Xchyler Publishing and noted podcast The Wicked Library. Bendix self-published his first horror/fantasy novel The Patchwork Girl in 2013, and his second novel, The Stronghold, is a ripped-from-the-headlines thriller that has been published and is available for order. Also an avid film lover, Bendix has a sci fi/horror script that has been optioned and is in development.