A letter from Richard Rictor, as provided by Brodie Lowe
Art provided by Luke Spooner
Preparation is key. Especially when going up against Iredell County’s newest monsters in those woods behind your house. Given the fact that none of us know what caused the research facility’s outbreak, we can assume that city hall was telling us big ol’ fibs when it came to the great Talon, Inc., having been closed down. It appears that the place was still open for business–only the type of commerce that’s open in the dead of night–you know: cloak-and-dagger style.
I get that you’re only in middle school, but tough times call for tougher people. And you’re our future. I know you’ve only got a limited amount of time before those things come around in your neck of the woods. But please, whether you’re reading this by candlelight on the farm or come across this article in an abandoned gas station ten years down the road with a much smaller population in the world, heed this advice. It just might save your life.
First, you must raid the bookstores. Forego all the kooky bookmarks and fantasy novels that have you believing in magic. There’s no more magic in these parts. This county’s seen better days, that’s for sure. The only thing that can get you through the night and eradicate these monsters is your bravery and wit. When you browse, pick up copies that go into detail about hunting these things. Fiction can be prophetic. And in our current case, that idea has been shown to be true. Zombie apocalypse books can be beneficial here. Instructional tomes on survival in the wilderness will also prove worthy of your attention. Pick up a few historical books about Vlad Dracula. Learn the tactics and deceit that he employed, and be ready for the same to be thrown your way.
Now, let’s talk about tools. If you’ve never seen Monster Squad or Silver Bullet or even The Lost Boys, listen up. Stakes (pieces of wood sharpened at the end), cloves of garlic or garlic powder, pure-grade silver bullets, and crucifixes are your best friends. There are a few outliers in the realm of offensive and defensive protection that are embedded in folklore that may work. Don’t quote me on this, but the following extra measures may also do the job. If all else fails, that is.
To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2019 collection.
Richard is a sports reporter for Iredell County and came in second at the North Carolina Press awards for sports feature writing in 2017. He lives on a farm with his wife and three dogs affectionately named Ernest, Pea, and Worrell.
Brodie has a B.A. in English with a concentration in professional writing from Western Carolina University. He teamed up with his brother to write a film named Three Count that was picked up by executive producers of One Media Productions in 2016. He’s been published in Strange Stories Magazine and Cultured Vultures and has forthcoming stories in Story and Grit, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, The Mystery Tribune, The Bark Magazine, The Coffin Bell Journal, Quail Bell Magazine, and Antithesis Journal. One of his stories was shortlisted for a folk horror anthology with Nosetouch Press.
Luke Spooner, a.k.a. ‘Carrion House,’ currently lives and works in the South of England. Having recently graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a first class degree, he is now a full time illustrator for just about any project that piques his interest. Despite regular forays into children’s books and fairy tales, his true love lies in anything macabre, melancholy, or dark in nature and essence. He believes that the job of putting someone else’s words into a visual form, to accompany and support their text, is a massive responsibility, as well as being something he truly treasures. You can visit his web site at www.carrionhouse.com.
“A Last Minute Message for the Youth” is © 2018 Brodie Lowe
Art accompanying story is © 2018 Luke Spooner