#StrangeLit: Killer Seasons [Excerpt]

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A werewolf chef, a cursed family, a spell to forget. You’ll meet these and more in the ten stories of the KILLER SEASONS installment of #StrangeLit.

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The “Forget You Brew” by Tara Frejas

For 20-year old Kyle Thomson, nothing in the world is more terrifying than the prospect of telling Allison Jeon that he loves her. That is, until he finds out that this mystical café in a peculiar place called Nowheretown had served her a cup of afforgeto—a brew for forgetting—a drink she ordered intending to forget him. Hoping to reverse the spell, Kyle reluctantly teams up with a bunny-eared hopeless romantic and a badass barista to retrieve Allison’s memory jar from the Repository of the Intangible. But when stealing back forgotten memories doesn’t quite turn out as expected, Kyle is left with no choice but to conquer his biggest fear. Can the magic of Nowheretown supply him a fixer-upper, or will the magic in his steadfast heart be enough to grant them their happy ever after?

Excerpt Time

“So what exactly is this place?”

They were walking, now about a block away from the bunny house, with Likha leading the way to somewhere she hadn’t named yet. She’d given Kyle a small carrier for Chestnut—she named the bunny that because of its color—and though he had been hesitant at first, he carried it with him anyway. It wasn’t like the bunny was being hostile; it was, in fact, very well-behaved.


“Excuse me?”

“It’s a place you can’t find on a map . . . on any map. But I think the name really comes from the fact that the people who find us seem to have nowhere else to go.”

He frowned. That didn’t make sense at all. In fact, none of the things he’d seen so far have made any sense. Before he and Likha stepped out of Mama Kata’s Bunny House to see someone she hinted as “someone who can help,” Kyle saw a couple more people there. A lad playing a ukelele by the window sill while a gray hare looked on. A lady in very corporate attire chasing three white mini satins down a flight of stairs. A gentleman who wrote furiously in his notebook while a crate full of various-colored dwarf bunnies sat on his table.

None of the people he saw had bunny ears, but they didn’t seem perturbed about being in such a place. Likha told him that those people who spend time at Mama Kata’s were usually artists—writers, musicians, even painters—all in desperate need to breathe life to new work.

“And then there are people like you who aren’t sure why you’re here in the first place.”

“So these . . . people. They’re just like me, right?”

“If just like you means they aren’t from Nowheretown, yes. All of you are Othertowners to us.”

“And they find this place by . . .?”

“Oh, you don’t find Nowheretown,” Likha said, matter-of-factly. “Nowheretown finds you.”

As they passed several more structures, he noticed other people coming and going. They seemed normal, in that none of them had bunny ears like Likha, or any other animal parts, for that matter. And yet none of them looked at her strangely when they saw her.

“Okay, so . . . how exactly is this person we’re meeting going to help me? Is he or she some kind of tracker?”

She looked at him in a way that made him feel like he just uttered a stupid question.

“Tim makes coffee” was her answer.

He slowed in his tracks. She took a few more steps before realizing Kyle wasn’t walking in stride with her any longer. She turned around and looked at him curiously. “Not a coffee drinker? Kaipuhan has teas, chocolate—”

“I’m here to look for a friend, not to have coff—” His words got cut off when they passed a man—perhaps twenty feet tall and donning a tattered black trench coat over a sky-blue shirt and dirt-brown pants—sitting on a chair that’s just right for his size. The cordial way Likha greeted the man relieved Kyle somehow. It only meant he didn’t have to run for his life, no matter how imposing the figure appeared.

If seeing a giant wasn’t strange enough, however, Kyle also managed to catch a glimpse of people seemingly taking refuge under the massive chair.

Upon noticing Kyle’s fascination with the gentle giant, Likha went ahead and volunteered a piece of information. “That was Captain Kubli. He helps people who are in need of hiding places.”

There was disbelief in his eyes when he turned to her, and she merely grinned. “There are lots of people and places in this town that can help you if you’re in dire need of something . . .”

“So . . . anyone who’s in dire need of something can find this town?”

Her ears wobbled a bit as she shook her head. “Like I said, you don’t find Nowheretown. It f—”

It finds you, right. Right.”

“Nowheretown only addresses the needs of those with pure intentions. At least since a hundred and fifty years ago, when the mayor and the head gatekeeper decided to shield the town from Othertowners whose needs weren’t really needs, but wants rooted from selfish desires.”

Kyle thought this sounded like something that only happened in comic books. Maybe he had read too much that it had somehow found its way into his psyche.

“And do people—Othertowners—pay you for your help?”

Her lips broke into a cheerful grin. “Oh don’t worry, we won’t charge you anything. Whenever we successfully help someone, we are rewarded with Good Karma. And Good Karma makes the sun shine in this town.”

“Ohh—kay.” That’s a way to put things, he thought. “Is that why the sun’s up until now? Where I’m from, it should be almost midnight.”

She moved her head to the side, an invitation to walk with her again. “Well, we do enjoy our sunshine, but dusk is coming soon. Our time is just different from yours.”

They were silent for a while as they walked, until Kyle came up with another question. “You said the guy we’re meeting makes coffee. What do you do?”

“I am a bunny keeper in training,” she said, the pride apparent in her tone. He fell in stride with her as she continued to speak. “My mother’s name is Mama Kata. She owns the bunny house, but she’s now away on business, so I’m taking over, along with other workers. The bunny house is a place for stories. Stories that people actually live, and stories that only live in people’s minds.

“Step foot in Nowheretown, and the story you carry in your heart at the moment will take the form of a bunny. Don’t ask me why—it’s been the same even before my mother was born—but it has something to do with bunnies being able to multiply exponentially . . . and stories having the same characteristic.”

“This is a lot to take in,” Kyle mumbled, peering at little Chestnut from the carrier’s top window. It seemed to be sleeping. “And are we there yet?”

Likha giggled and pointed to a shop that had a huge coffee-cup sign on top of it, only another block away. “Are you always this impatient?”

“I told you. I’m looking for my friend.”

“Your priorities are skewed.”

Kyle usually was a level-headed kind of person, but he was starting to get annoyed. “And what, pray tell, should I be prioritizing over finding a friend?”

“You will find Allison—that’s a given,” Likha confidently declared. “Telling her how you feel about her—that’s the thing you should be working on.”

“What? NO!”

“The way you’re staring at me now makes me think I just asked you to kill somebody.”

“Yes, yes you did. . .”

She stared at him curiously as his almost-defiant stance shrank, shoulders dropping as though defeated. “. . . Because telling Allie how I feel is suicide.”

About Tara Frejas

Tara Frejas is a cloud-walker who needs caffeine to fuel her travels. By day, she works in project management and events, and she writes down her daydreams at night. Tara loves the “”friends to lovers”” trope so much, it appears in this story twice. She owns a six-month old male bunny, Max, who inspired the beginnings of this fictional piece and likes to try nibbling on her writing notes.

If Nowheretown were real, you’d find her pretending to get things done at Kaipuhan Kafe, when she’s really stealing glances at the badass barista. The “”Forget You”” Brew is her second published work after Paper Planes Back Home.

tarafrejas.com | taratriestowrite.wordpress.com | @ttriestowrite

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At The Wishing Well by Amae Dechavez

A Paranormal Fairytale. Angelo studies medicine—he’s aspiring to become a priest. From the city to his  countryside home, he falls in love at the forest well, with a ghost, and he still wants to become a priest! Now his father wants him to marry the Mayor’s daughter, Marissa (aside from nudging him to become a physician), and girl-ghost Hinata scares Marissa so much, enough to ban her from The Bliss!

About Amae Dechavez

Amae Dechavez was born in Quezon City, Philippines to a mother from Baguio and father from Quezon Province. She studied Child Daycare Management from Penn Foster and currently resides (with her dog) within the suburbs of Metro Manila. You can find her on Twitter.

Buy #Strangelit-Killer Seasons for $ 0.99 or PHP 45.00

The Last Night of the Wake by Chrissie Peria

There is a wake in Sitio Lumawig.

A young woman, barely seventeen, left her hometown, only to return home in a wooden box.

Brutally murdered, there are no witnesses. Nobody knows what happened. When it happened. Or who did it.

All they know is that there was pain—so much pain in her passing.

As her father keeps vigil over her battered body, a single question keeps him company.

Who is to blame for his daughter’s death?

About Chrissie Peria

When not obsessing over fictional people doing fictional things, Chrissie obsesses about food: the eating, the cooking, and the procuring of it.

An advertising copywriter in her past life, she now spends most of her time writing, taking photos, cooking, and babysitting a tiny human and a curly-haired dog. She still plays with dolls and she thinks that bacon is the answer.

Her first book, All’s Fair in Blog and War, was awarded Best Romance in English at the 2014 Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards.

On the Web: http://www.chrissieperia.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/peria.chrissie

Twitter: @chrissieperia

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/chrissieperia

Instagram: @kaoko25

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Resto Rescue by Maita Rue

All werewolf Rafe Redmoon really wanted was to cook real food not host reality food shows. Thirteen seasons in Resto Rescue has made him cranky and moody. Resto Rescue is a food reality show where Rafe uses his supernatural skills to ascertain what was wrong with the food and remodel the restaurant as a whole. His boss/alpha/aunt Vivian made him a deal. Make a killer season thirteen ender and she will personally fund the dream restaurant Rafe wanted. Easy, right?

Season thirteen doesn’t go as planned when the restaurant in question was not a disaster. Food was good and the décor was quirky but it worked. So, why were things not going according to the scripts? For one, owner/cook Daria is averse to change. The little hottie was not the one who called for a restaurant make-over. But Rafe is very drawn to her. His aunt threatened to fillet him if this episode fails. Then, more trouble arises when a pack of gremlins wreak havoc in the kitchen. It seems everyone is conspiring for Rafe to fail.

Will the werewolf reality show host make a killer season thirteen ender or will season thirteen end him?”

Excerpt Time:

  1. Season 13

“You turning Vegan on me, werewolf?” The devil asked him.

Rafe Redmoon, werewolf food host extraordinaire, made a face. His aunt Vivian was the said devil incarnate. She was also a werewolf and she was a rare alpha female. His alpha. Werewolves, sharing some genetic similarities with their wolf cousin, need sixty percent of protein in their diet. A vegan or even a vegetarian werewolf was unheard of. But that wasn’t what Rafe Redmoon wanted.

“It is my restaurant concept. It uses a lot of natural and whole ingredients not vegan and not vegetarian. I plan to do a cooking show in it,” he said. Rafe wanted his restaurant to have nothing but clean and healthy food. He didn’t want sponsors mucking it with seasoning and instant processed products.

“What’s wrong with your job now? Your shows are unique. Most people would kill for your job,” she pointed out, presenting her polished red nails at him. It looks like she had blood on her hands all the time. They were in her spacious office in Redmoon Roaring Studios, her private television and internet Production Company. True, he had a killer job. He was heralded as the Yummiest Reality Show Host Alive!

“I’m not most people,” he sniffed. “I’m not even most werewolves.” True. Most werewolves would have been contented to join politics. They spent their pent up energy making trouble for the humans- political trouble that is. Their other option is sports, hardcore sports.

Rafe Redmoon was the hottest food show host in the planet. He hosted a wide variety of food documentaries and food reality shows all across the globe. His latest show, Resto Rescue, was at the top of the charts. Resto Rescue was a restaurant rescue show with a supernatural twist. Using his werewolf senses, he’d tweak the recipes better and give the restaurant a full make-over. Sponsors were lined up to do every show. Rafe made it big because he had striking good looks and a grumpy persona. He was tall and had the body to die for.

He knew people watched his show to ogle at him or see the reactions people have in the show. Not many people watch the show for the food advice. Still, his aunt marketed his body like a commodity.

His aunt raised an eyebrow. “Well, I think your mother said your star charts dictated you’d be the most contrary werewolf in the family.”

“Ha-ha. Werewolves don’t believe in astrology. That’s the reason why most of us are either in sports or in politics,” he said. Most werewolves didn’t look at the horoscopes. They didn’t consult palmistry. They don’t even do the Feng Shui thing.

“Why the restaurant thing? I thought you were contented hosting food shows?”

“I am not. I told you my passion was to cook. Hosting is not the same as cooking. I want to cook my own recipes my way. There will be no food stylist or food enhancers from sponsors,” he said. “The whole world is going for organic now,” the errant werewolf pointed out.

Vivian sighed. She didn’t want to get into another argument with her delectable little talent, even if he was her nephew. Happy talents did a better job. Happy talents left her to enjoy her morning latte. She eyed the piece of candy standing before her. She built him from ground zero and she was proud of it. Not because he was her scrumptious little nephew but because he showed promise. Also, he didn’t let fame get to his head… much. “I’ll make a deal with you, Rafe.” That always got him to listen.

Rafe waited. What could his aunt offer him now? He already sold his soul, so to speak.

“Make me a great Season 13 ender and I’ll fund your restaurant. It has to pull the ratings up.”

“The ratings for Resto Rescue are good. They’re up. We are at the top,” he pointed out.

She shook her head. “Gorgon Ramses’ ratings are still high. High enough that he could dominate the charts if you aren’t careful. His show, Kitchen Conundrum and The Chef From Hell are still kicking and screaming. I want him taken down until he’s not even an afterthought. That raging beast is getting old yet he still at top ten. A young buck like you should have toppled him years ago.”

Rafe made a face. Gorgon Ramses was about a hundred years of age as well but he’d been in the industry for seventy years. Rafe started at werewolf puberty, seventy five human years.

“I don’t know who’s temper is worse, yours or his? He always claimed the devil spat him out of hell because he had his famous temper,” Vivian commented.

The young wolf grunted. He was sure he had a different temperament from the gorgon. Rafe was more the aloof kind of wolf but he took no bullshit from anyone. His aunt kept saying she patterned his first few shows after Gorgon Ramses’ shows. It grabbed at the same audience. From there, they expanded their audience by transforming Rafe into his own persons. Still, they loved his fiery temper in the shows.

“Maybe we should shoot in the US not in Asia? Most countries watch Hollywood only. Why’d you have to throw me to Asia anyway?” Five years ago, he was sent to Asia to shoot exotic food documentaries and now food reality shows. He was already making a killing in the States. His aunt insisted that every other season of Resto Rescue be shot in Asia. Why did Vivian have to uproot him and ship him to nowheres-ville?

“Asia is a rising market that I want to corner. It’s not that backward. They are more obsessive there than the States. The population of Asia is bigger than all the US territories,” she said. Also, production cost is lower. “Do we have a deal? Make this how I want it to be. I’ll put your restaurant anywhere in the territories. We’ll shoot Season 14 alongside your new restaurant concept. Sky’s the limit. Satisfied?” Vivian offered.

“Maybe,” he spat.

“You’re not satisfied?” She baited him.

Rafe knew there were always strings attached. “I want it in writing.”

Vivian growled. Not trusting your alpha was like a challenge. “Make me proud, Rafe. Otherwise, I’ll throw you back to your mother’s pack and you’ll be stuck doing sports. Maybe you ought to join your father’s pack in Budapest. They’ll force you into a suit and put you in politics. I heard King David needs a babysitter.”

Rafe roared in protest. Yup, his stars were right. He was contrary to the norm. When his mother chose to rejoin her original pack, he didn’t. He didn’t join his father’s pack either. Instead, he broke convention and joined a whole new pack, Vivian’s. In pack dynamics, you worked for your alpha. Vivian was in television. She owned forty TV stations, four cable channels and twenty two internet channels in most territories.

Vivian snarled back, showing him who was alpha and who was too young. “Get to work, pup! Or I might decide to cook you myself!”

When your alpha commanded you, you pretty much had to do it. Breaking an alpha’s command was like a challenge. Rafe couldn’t challenge her, not yet. He was only a hundred years of age, much too young. Vivian was already two hundred fifty. She was also too strong to challenge. Other pack tried to challenge her only to be handed their asses on a silver platter and recorded for her viewing pleasure. Yeah, she put it on live TV and made money out of it. She knew how to play and she played rough.

About Maita Rue

Meet Maita Rue, author and designer. She loves romance and happy endings. Her love of words has pushed her to write and publish her books. She’s a single mother of four dogs and an aunt of one grumpy cat.

Intersection by Den Lim

Anger. Pain. Guilt.

These feelings have haunted Epy Avenida for the past six years. Once an aspiring superhero, he had failed to save the life of Congressman Conrad Cruz. Now he roams the streets of Manila as something much darker, much less of a hero.

Need. Hate. Fury.

These are the feelings Kala Cruz has hidden and carried within since the dead of her father. She won’t rest until she knows the truth of that fateful day. Now she seeks to find the superhero who had let her father die and exact vengeance.

Past and present collide as their two lives intersect one night and the sparks fly between them.

But how will their budding romance survive once they uncover each other’s secrets?

About Den Lim

Den Lim has been creating characters since he was a kid. He grew up over a steady diet of comics, detective novels and YA books. And yes, he has even read Sweet Valley High.

He currently resides in Metro Manila with his wife and two sons. He plans to supplement the lack of daughters by creating imaginary ones and writing about them in his stories.

He has previously written two introspective essays entitled “Got a Girlfriend Yet?” and “Midlife Crisis at 21” for the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Young Blood section.

Intersection is his first published work in fiction.

You can visit him at http://www.denlim.com.

You also contact him via email at denlim.writer@gmail.com and via twitter @dragonmoon174.

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Vengeance: The Awakening by Arlene Manocot

Cleo Harwite, a simple college student, is aiming for a normal life. A life where she and her family can eat a complete set of meal three times a day. A life to live through simplicity.

Everything is going according to her plan. Graduating on the 4th year of her college is her main objective and finding a job will be her next, but not until Eve appears in her consciousness.

Eve, according to Cleo’s judgment, is her conscience. An annoying conscience who is continually teasing and nagging her. Her disposition has lost its equilibrium ever since her existence. She has brought chaos in her life. And just when Cleo thought that there won’t be anyone, “”AS IN NO ONE””, who’s more annoying and disturbing than Eve, another one appears. Ikeda Takada.

Ikeda Takada, a Japanese exchange student for a week, has found a way to infiltrate the supposed to be Cleo’s “”NORMAL LIFE””. Aside from being an exchange student, he is a model / actor who is just starting his career in Hollywood. Why would a Hollywood celebrity like him want in a public university? That is insanely ridiculous from her point of view.

With all these chaos and disturbance directed towards Cleo, would she be able to keep her NORMAL LIFE intact?

About Arlene Manocot

I am a writer on the process of building my name of becoming a main household in the publishing industry, but still on the process of gathering backgrounds and experiences on this career. Yeah. I dream big, but when I fail it really gets me down. Getting down leads me to write poems and stories and I will dream big again, then when I fail it gets me down again and I can write again. So, in short it’s a cycle. I write my works in any genre, but 3/4 of them is about romance. Feel free to visit my page on facebook.com/manocot.arlene or e-mail me at arlenemanocot@gmail.com. See you there!       

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