A young sculptress despondently searching for understanding after the tragic death of her infant son…
A professor of history and a beautiful French vintner, still longing for the love they shared during World War II…
A legless man seeking retribution and escape from a horror worse than death…
A retired detective itching to get back in the game…
Disparate lives, yet each meticulously woven together over time to play a special part in the Puzzleman’s twisted vision of eternal life.
Into the black Cathedral Fleur du Sang and into the pipes they must go –– into a terrifying world of grumemonsters, where the inaccuracies of accepted history and the gruesome future of mankind are laid bare.
For Amanda Zimmerman, Professor John Rainbow, Jeannette Orfèvre, the legless man, and Detective Ben Henfry, the Puzzleman is a personal demon awakened into a living nightmare –– and it’s up to them alone to wage their fight for sanity and salvation. A fight that swells into a harrowing escape, spanning two continents and the supernatural perversion of time and dimension. Welcome to the Pipeworld.
Welcome to truth and eternity.
Welcome to the world of the Puzzleman.
Targeted Age Group:: 18-50
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Simply the desire to tell and epic story that would start very small, then grow over time, and finally explode with horror and adventure.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The lead is Amanda Zimmerman: I wanted write a female character that would be someone I personally liked and related to emotionally as a male. The other characters are older and I developed them to cover specific emotional bases.
The First Piece
“How ‘bouts a dirty thirty-five?”
“Thirty-five…dollars? For this? Where’s the other one?”
“Ain’t got it. It’s da only one I gots. Tha dude –– da artist –– hey look, he only made one. Jus’ one, okay?”
“Yeah, well, I always like a set. Neat and matched.”
“Please, darlin’, I gots t’eat.”
“I’m not your darlin’, mister.”
“Good God, lady, ya tryin’ t’kill me an’ m’business?”
“What the hell is this? Right here.”
“Now dat’s character, if I ever seen it.”
“Ain’t no tarnish. It’s pure t’da core, sho‘n’shor.”
“I said it’s jacked…up.”
“Holy Mutha…now I ain’t stupid an’ I know f’sho ya ain’t out in da street t’buy fer da gold. Dis’s Elm Street, Dallas, Texas. It sho ain’t Fifth Avenue an’ it sho ain’t Wall Street. Yer out here t’pick up on some art, some peoples’ thoughts‘n’sweat‘n’blood. Ain’t dat right? Hell yeah it is! You know da art when ya see it. I can tell it in yer eyes. I can tell ya see a puzzle in da art, don’cha?”
“I don’t like puzzles. I don’t like mysteries.”
“C’mon –– shit! –– ever’body on dis whole wily street’s a puzzle t’me.”
“I said, I hate puzzles.”
“D’ya hate peoples, too? Never mind! I don’t wanna know from nothin’ –– an’ I gots t’eat. Da more we yap da more I starve. I ain’t even culled t’morrow’s breakfast yet. So I’ll tell ya what. I’ll throw out m’pride, an’ m’good business sense, an’ give ya da whole mackdaddy-yo fer three fives. Fifteen bucks! Ain’t dat da deal a’da everlovin’ cent’ry er’what?”
“–– it’s still jacked up.”
“My ol’ lady’s jacked up on crank, an’ I got six kids an’ m’own belly t’feed. Hell, I even gots a hungry dog, too.”
“I wasn’t born to feed your freakin’ house pets –– and put your old lady in rehab, why don’t ya?”
The street vendor’s eyes narrowed. “Yeah, right. I see. I sees it jus’ fine. Maybe you wasn’t born t’feed my freakin’ house pets, but you sho’re standin’ here alive t’feed your own mis’ry. An’ ain’t dat some jacked up shit.”
The street vendor grinned. “Yup, it’s da God’s honest jacked up truth, sho’nuff. An’ da God’s honest truth’s about nothin’ but all da pain behind all dem lies. Ya can’t deny it, I know it. An’ all dem lies ya tell your own self, ev’ry damn day, all dey do is keep yo’ pretty li’l ol’, tiny ol’ brain outta da drain.”
“Cuz nobody’s sane down a drain. No…body. An’ I mean nobody!”
“I said, shut! Up!”
The street vendor opened his filthy, money-grubbing palm. Amanda winced. She could see his lifeline shooting off to Jupiter, then swirling infinitely inward and infinitely back on itself, twisting the print of his flesh as if branded by some merciless hell within.
“Three fives,” he hissed. “Jus’ fifteen li’l ol’ bucks.”
Amanda stared at the stinking, know-it-all vendor. Could smell his cloying, chilling, silly excuse for human breath. And for an endless moment everything seemed frozen in time –– Elm street, the passers by, the vendor’s god-awful gold-toothed grin.
Yes, everything, thought Amanda, tears swelling in her eyes. Why can’t everything just wash away? Why?
But then, as if pricked from a coma, she blinked back her tears, swallowed her memories and ate every last one of her lost hopes. Never ends, she thought. Never.
“Here,” she sputtered, fighting with her purse. “Here’s your lousy fifteen li’l ol’ bucks.” She fisted cold bills from within the dark confines of her bag. “Take your rugrats to McDonalds and kiss your jacked up wife good-bye, and just give me the stupid earring.
I HATE A MYSTERY
They gave him plenty of food, yet for all they could do he never grew bigger, but kept just the same size as he had been when he was born. Still, his eyes were sharp and sparkling, and he soon showed himself to be a clever little fellow, who always knew well what he was about.
–– Tom Thumb
The Brothers Grimm
Amanda Margaret Zimmerman studied her uneven reflection in the restroom mirror of her favorite Deep Ellum restaurant, the Cardboard Café. The looking glass hung artistically askew above the sallow porcelain sink, where rust stains had begun to streak in line with the water-flow from the twin pewter faucets. Her fiery green eyes shifted to the right, then the left, then back again, occasionally lingering on the unfinished masonry of the wall the mirror hung from. It was dilapidated, the mirror and the wall. And so were the rest of the walls: all unfinished masonry. The floor was a textured gray concrete.
Amanda didn’t like this room. Not one little bit.
She watched her thumb as she rubbed it across the tips of her fingers. Her nails were cut short and neatly manicured –– no long claws for her; they only ended up chipped and broken off and then there was another mess to fix. Again she looked at the mirror and the wall. But mostly the wall. She still didn’t like it. Made her wonder why she gave a damn about anything. Especially why she suddenly cared so much about this public toilet. She had been in it a zillion times before, but tonight she felt as if she was seeing it for the first time. And it was grotesque. She sensed the mortar leaching out at her from between the dirty, chipped bricks.
Oozing, she thought bitterly, her forehead wrinkling, like milky vomit from a baby’s mouth.
She couldn’t help but recall how she despised watching her younger sister burp Charlie, her newest nephew.
“Why in God’s name have another kid?” she had asked when Sara became pregnant for the fourth time. “Why create another loose end to be tied up?”
The little squirt was cute, sure, but his regurgitation was not. And how many times had Sara delayed and delayed the wiping of little Charlie’s oozing lips until the sour gruel had rolled down his chin and soiled the clean diaper his mother had just thrown over her shoulder? It didn’t make any sense. Nor did it make any sense as to why the masons hadn’t scraped this cauliflower mortar from these vomiting walls.
Why leave a job undone?
“Laziness,” Amanda whispered the answer to her own question. “Goddamned sloth.”
She shook her head, wishing to Christ her beleaguering thoughts would fall away. They weren’t usually this intense and rarely attacked all at once. Of course why would Christ or the Father –– or the Holy Ghost, for that matter –– help her anyway? She had been painfully aware for a long time now, that there wasn’t one single branch of the Divine Trinity that wasn’t perpetually too busy or just too damn apathetic to come to her aid. She would simply have to help herself. As usual.
“It’s a good thing you’re a long time outta the bottle, sweetie,” she said under her breath. “Or you’d be a long time bye-bye.”
But, she reconsidered, maybe that wouldn’t be so bad.
No, she hated death worse than acid rain, vivisection, collateral damage, and old drunks pissing in the street put together. Death was another consequence of God’s sloth, as far as Amanda was concerned. Everyone –– everything –– lived purely to die. And that wasn’t even the worst of it. Putting the Creator aside (and His entire seraphic retinue), a monstrous portion of the misery in life was caused by plain, ordinary people actually trying to make living as painful for everyone else as they felt it was for themselves.
“Have you done that?” Amanda asked her warped mirror image. “Have you screwed-over another human being ‘cause you’re pissed at the way the world has turned out?
“Yup.” She grit her teeth. “You probably have without even realizing it. Human fucking nature.”
She slapped her cheeks, administering a little self-punishment, then drew her fingers back over her ears.
That’s why she had come in here.
Frantically, she rummaged through her carpetbag of a purse: lipstick (bright red and almost gone), two pens, five pencils (broken into different sizes, one left long for self-defense), plenty of erasers, a small sketch pad, old gum, new gum, cigarettes (which she had given up six months ago, but still carried just in case she suddenly had to have a ten minute vacation), hair brush, hair pick, paper clips, Kleenex, et cetera, et cetera, lint and dust.
“Damnit!” she barked. Where is it?
She remembered ––
Anxiously, her fingers fumbled with the pocket zipper, then opened it with one merciless yank and penetrated.
Hope you’re not lost, you cost me fifteen bucks ya little piece a’shit.
Ahhh…there it was.
With renewed calm she freed the wireball and held it up for a damage check. The harsh yet dingy light of the restroom’s bare bulb, dangling on its black cord from the high ceiling, disfavored the earring immediately. Amanda glanced at her twenty-nine year old face in the mirror and believed the earring wasn’t the only thing the illumination disfavored tonight. Her eyes fell back onto the wireball.
Amanda dear, you’re a sucker for too many street vendors.
About the Author:
Christopher Alan Broadstone is the author of the horror novel PUZZLEMAN. A re-release of the novel and serialization of the book (with updates) is now available for Kindle and in Trade Paperback as of October 2014. Broadstone’s newest short story, NOTE-TO-SELF, is included in the anthology JOURNALS OF HORROR: FOUND FICTION (edited by Terry M. West), which was released on Halloween 2014. Currently, C.A. Broadstone is completing his first short story collection as well as his second horror novel, HEATHER’S TREEHOUSE.
Serving as writer and director, he has produced three award-winning short films to date, SCREAM FOR ME (Best Short Film: NYC Horror Film Festival, Best Underground Short: B-Independent.com), MY SKIN! (Best Horror Short: Shriekfest Film Festival [L.A.], Best Film/Director: Cinema Edge Awards), and HUMAN NO MORE (Best Horror Short: The Indie Gathering Film Festival [OH]). Also, he has completed two feature length screenplays, COLOR OF FLAME, an erotic ghost story, and, with actor/writer John Franklin (Isaac from “Children of the Corn”), RETARD (Best Horror Feature Screenplay: Shriekfest Film Festival [L.A.]). In toto, C.A. Broadstone’s films have been showcased on several horror compilation DVDs, have screened at 30 international film festivals, and have won 15 “Best Of” awards. All three films are currently available on Amazon as the anthology DVD, 3 DEAD GIRLS!
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