Blood Ghast Blues

Blood Ghast Blues

Jake Bible

April 2018 $15.95
ISBN: 978-1-61194-874-5

Unspeakable horrors have been unleashed on Asheville, North Carolina.

Our PriceUS$15.95
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Bram Stoker Award ® Nominated Author

Unspeakable horrors have been unleashed on Asheville, North Carolina.

Spectral demons tear victims apart from the inside out, leaving nothing but gory destruction in their wake. And their next victim is one of the biggest extradimensional crime lords around—the One Guy. To survive a fate equal to but also worse than death, he’ll have to convince Black Box Inc. to save his sorry ass.

Chase Lawter and his crack team—an omnisexual yeti, an ex-Fae assassin, and a business savvy zombie—are tasked with transporting the One Guy to Washington, D. C. where the Department of Extradimensional Affairs will put the crime lord into protective custody. That is, if Chase and Black Box Inc. can evade blood ghasts, dimentionalist rednecks, vengeance-seeking kobolds, and whatever other enemies are in hot pursuit of the One Guy.

He’s made a lot of enemies. Including Chase, who knows you can’t trust the One Guy as far as you can throw him.

Jake Bible, Bram Stoker Award ® nominated-novelist and author of the bestselling Z-Burbia series, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, has entertained thousands with his horror and sci/fi tales. He reaches audiences of all ages with his uncanny ability to write a wide range of characters and genres. Other series by Jake Bible: the bestselling Salvage Merc One, the Apex Trilogy, the Mega series, and the Reign of Four series. Jake lives in the wonderfully weird Asheville, North Carolina. Connect with Jake on Facebook, Twitter, and his website:


"Black Box a hoot and a half from beginning to end. Sometimes complete with actual hoots, because the snarkitude exhibited by all the characters—but especially Chase—is often laugh out loud funny.”


"Forget clawed mutants and moody men of steel. Jake Bible’s Grotesques are the heroes this world needs. Stone Cold Bastards is outright bloody fun... an unashamedly campy, no-holds-barred post-apocalyptic thrill ride that will make you cheer.”

—SciFi and Scary

"[In Stone Cold Bastards] there are moments to break your heart and moments that make you want to get out your guns and fight for humanity.”

—Dena Martin, Outlaw Poet, Goodreads



"HEY, MAN, SPARE a hex?” a short, fat, extremely dirty little man asked as I crossed the street in front of the Buncombe County court­house. "A small one will do. You know, or anything you got on ya.”

"No hexes. Sorry,” I said and walked past him. A second short, fat, extremely dirty little man appeared in my path.

"Come on, man. We know you got a hex on ya,” he said.

A third one appeared next to him.

"We can smell it, man,” the third one said.

Leprechauns. Gambling addicts and always panhandling around Asheville since no one would shoot craps with them without proof of real currency. Leprechaun gold was not real currency.

"You want a hex so you can sell it and go throw bones,” I said and tried to shove past the two men. A fourth and fifth arrived. "Seriously?”

"We smell hexes,” the first leprechaun said as he came around and faced me. "You got one on ya.”

I sighed and pulled my wallet from my pocket. I opened it. "Eight bucks is all I got.”

"The hex!” the leprechauns shouted.

"I don’t have a . . . Oh, you mean this,” I said as I pulled a blade from my other pocket. An apocalypse blade.

The leprechauns flinched, eyed each other, then held up their hands and backed away.

"It’s cool, man,” the first one said. "We don’t want no trouble.”

They winked out as fast as they had appeared and I was alone, standing in the middle of the crosswalk. Someone honked a horn and I flipped them off before moving on.

Spending a weekend in county jail for wrongful imprisonment of a woman I deeply cared about had really put things in perspective. Charges had been dropped almost immediately, since said woman didn’t really want to press charges as much as she wanted me to feel what it was like to be cooped up in a small space against my will. Also, there was the whole being innocent because I was saving her damn life, but still...

Having time to be truly alone made a person think through certain priorities. So did a good walk through downtown Asheville. I made my way from the courthouse, took care of a bill that needed adjusting, and continued to the office of Black Box Inc. My office.

I said hi to everyone, took the usual shit from my crew of the omnisexual yeti, the Fae-trained assassin, and the zombie MBA, then sat down and got to work.

The past couple weeks had been Hell, almost literally, and I was ready to get back to the normal business grind of hiding family heir­looms from greedy relatives and tucking away magic cauldrons for safekeeping and away from snooping warlocks. Boring, everyday, regular client stuff.

I should have known that wasn’t going to happen.

The office door opened and Chappy Reginue came falling in. Falling because he’d been pushed by two dopplers into our office.

Chappy was a two-bit hustler piece of scum that pretty much got himself into trouble every damn day of his pitiful life. Not our usual clientele, but he had been in a bit of a jam a couple weeks earlier, right before our other trouble started, and I had helped him out. For a very large fee, of course.

"Lawter, you gotta help me,” he said as he picked himself up. He held out his Dim key. "I need to open this up and get that kobold head back.”

"Sharon?” I asked.

"He has not paid the invoice I sent him,” Sharon said.

"No can do, Chappy,” I replied to the sniveling scumbag. "Once you pay your invoice then I can take that key from you and fetch your box. But we are very strict about not retrieving boxes when there’s an outstanding balance on the account.”

"Get the box,” the dopplers said and moved to walk past the wood­en rail that marked the boundary between the reception area and the rest of the office.

They hit a wall. Literally. The railing was hexed. No one but employ­ees of Black Box Inc. could get past the barrier unless we wanted them to.

"Get the box,” they said again.

"No,” I said.

Freaking dopplers. The name comes from doppelgänger, but they don’t look exactly alike the way doppelgängers are supposed to. Which pisses me off because why call them dopplers if they don’t look the same? Close, sure, but not identical. I hate that shit.

They do, however, share a psychic link between their idiot brains. Maybe, and I’m not admitting this is correct, maybe they are called dopplers because their brains are identical in their stupidity and they need two to work through one thought?

Doesn’t matter. They are morons of the highest order and used only as muscle in most dimensions. Can’t imagine what their own dimension is like. Jesus, a whole place of nothing but dopplers. That’s a scary thought.

"Lawter, please, man, you gotta help me,” Chappy said. "They’re going to not kill me.”

"Who is?” I asked.

"The One Guy, man!”

"He’s going to not kill you? He said that?”


Shit . . . not killing. One Guy was notorious for not killing beings and torturing them forever instead. Rumor had it he knew of a dimension that was basically the physical representation of eternity where the pain could last forever.

"Chappy, listen to me. You, too, dopplers, because I don’t plan on repeating this. I am not fetching your box until you pay your bill.”

The box. A black box. That little favor I did for Chappy was to put a kobold head into a black box made of Dim. That’s what I do. It’s why we’re called Black Box Inc.

I have a special gift, an ability to pull a substance called Dim from the space between dimensions, which is also called the Dim, and then form said Dim from the Dim into basically whatever I want. Boxes are easy to craft and clients pay me to drop valuables inside them then banish the boxes to the Dim where they are completely secure until the client hands me a Dim key and wants their goods retrieved.

The process takes very little time, but does drain me of energy, requiring me to eat a god-awful amount of food.

"Lawter, man, please. I need the box.”

"Pay your bill, Mr. Reginue,” Sharon, the zombie, said. She shivered at having to use his last name. Sometimes Sharon is too business-polite for her own good. Sharon Spaglioni is from a dimension made up almost entirely of the undead, except she’s super smart here on Earth because of all the brains she ate back home. Sharon is our business manager and makes sure i’s are dotted, t’s are crossed, and bills get paid. She is very, very good at her job. "Until you’re paid up, we have nothing to discuss.”

"Will cash be all right?” a man said as he walked into the office.

White suit, white hat, white shoes, black shirt and white tie. Face obscured by a hex that made it all soft and out of focus. Except I knew what he looked like. Or used to look like.

"Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,” the One Guy said. "I would like to pay this useless speck of dust’s invoice for him, if I may.”

I looked at Sharon, she shrugged. I looked at Lassa, the seven-foot tall yeti, and Harper, my assassin-trained head of security, but their eyes were on the dopplers, leaving the One Guy to me.

"Huh,” was all I said.

"Is that a yes, Chase?” the One Guy asked. "Huh can have so many different meanings.”

Everyone knows a guy. Harper knows a guy that can make blades forged with dragon fire. Lassa knows a guy that can hook us up with a submarine that withstands depths not in existence on Earth. Sharon knows a guy that keeps us from getting audited by the IRS, which is good since our deductions are unorthodox to say the least.

My guy? The One Guy. Former acquaintance from when I was a kid stuck in a household filled with abuse and meth-addled junkies. I escaped to the streets of Asheville, NC, and lived the life of a homeless teen. Homeless was way better than the "home” I bailed from.

The One Guy would have never amounted to jack shit without the extradimensional happening which turned our world into a brand new playground for every off-world crazy and fairy tale being from other dimensions who could suddenly travel to and interact with our world. That . . .opportunity changed One Guy’s fortune. He figured out how to take advantage of some of the magic that seeped through the wide-open portals. He obscured his face, and being a thug from day one, he also quickly learned how to manipulate lesser intelligent beings that came wandering through those same wide-open portals. Like the dopplers. They are his muscle and he is very good at manip­ulating them into doing his bidding. Not even sure if he paid the lugs or not. The promise of violence seemed to be payment enough for the shared-thought buffoons.

"That’s a huh that means I need to think for a moment,” I said.

"My money is as good as anyone else’s, right?” He grinned that grin of his, all capped teeth and dead eyes. Even through the hex, that grin and those eyes stood out. It was part of his shtick. "If it isn’t, then maybe you’d do it for old time’s sake? Pretty please?”

The dopplers looked confused. They were used to their boss being a cruel bastard to anyone that crossed him. Pretty please was not computing across that psychic link of theirs.

"Open the box,” they said.

"Relax, boys, and let me chat with my old pal Chase here,” the One Guy said as he stepped closer and placed a hand against the barrier. He snatched it back and shook his palm like he’d touched a hot element. "Ow. Nice hex there. If I did pay Chappy’s bill, would that make me a client? Would I be able to step past this tacky railing?”

"Technically, it might,” Sharon said out of the corner of her rotting mouth. The answer was meant for my ears, but with the office being only one large room, the One Guy easily heard it. "I will need to look up the exact parameters of the specific hex.”

"Excellent,” he said as he reached into his jacket.

Lassa was on his feet and growling at the same time Harper pulled a very large, and I’m not kidding when I say very large, S&W .500 Magnum pistol from a drawer in her desk. Harper Kyles is our head of security and looked the part. Battle scars filled her deep brown face like age lines even though she was only in her twenties. She habitually moved thick, raven black dreadlocks out of her eyes with the tip of her knife.

Having security like Harper is a very good idea when in the line of work we’re in. Not everyone has our best interests at heart. Also, my skills sometimes attract the attention of those that would rather force me to do a job than pay us to do that job. Harper keeps me, and the others, safe from all that crap.

"Money,” the One Guy said as he withdrew a wallet and pro­ceeded to pluck hundred dollar bills one by one from inside it. The wallet had to be hexed because it barely bulged, yet out came bill after bill. "What is the exact amount Chappy owes again? He told me, but you know Chappy, he says a lot and most of it is BS.”

"I didn’t say whether or not we’d let you pay,” I responded. "Still thinking that over, Le”—

"Tut tut, Chase. My name is the One Guy. We all have our nom de plumes. The least you can do is let our past be our past and respect my new position in this quaint mountain town of ours.”

"What happened to old time’s sake? Never mind. Don’t answer. It’d be bullshit anyway. And, no, pal, we don’t all have our nom de plumes. We have actual names and we use them.”

"Is that so? My turn to say huh. I am almost sure that many of the extradimensional beings call you defiler of dimensions.”

"That’s a nickname, assface,” Harper snarled. "And it’s a shitty one. Call him Chase or get the fuck out.”

"What she said, dude,” Lassa added, cracking his huge knuckles as he took a couple of steps towards the railing.

Harper didn’t get up to join him, but her eyes narrowed in that way they do right before she pulls the trigger. She was an assassin prodigy until she did something bad and got herself exiled from the Fae mafia and their faerie dimension. Not sure what she did, and despite us being friends since we were young teens forced to live on the streets, she never told me. We all have our secrets.

"Can we be civilized, please?” Sharon asked. She held out her hands and stood. "The One Guy here is simply asking to pay Chappy’s delinquent account. While that may or may not entitle him to client privileges, the Dim box would still belong to Chappy and it would be Chappy’s choice whether or not to open it.”

"Yeah! That!” Chappy nearly shouted. "I choose opening it so the dopplers don’t cram boots in my rear end for eternity.”

"I was not proposing that kind of torture, Chappy, but it is creative,” the One Guy said. "I’ll add that to the list.”

"There’s a list?” Chappy whined.

"A long one.”

"Oh, shit, no, come on!”

"Chappy? Shut up,” I said. "One Guy? Why do you need the kobold head?”

"That is my business,” he replied.

"Make it mine too. Tell me why this kobold head is so damn important and I’ll honestly consider letting you pay Chappy’s debt. Don’t tell me and there is no way that is happening.” I hooked my thumb over my shoulder at Harper and Lassa. "What will happen is a whole lot of suck for your dopplers and probably you too. Understood?”

"Chase, we have history”—

"Stop bringing up our history. Otherwise I’ll remind you of how shitty it was and maybe I’ll start feeling like opening some old wounds. I don’t think either of us wants that.”

"You are right. I agree. It was not pleasant . . . for either of us. But now, we have a chance to put all that behind us and forge a new relationship. A business relationship I hope will be profitable for all parties involved.”

"Not interested if you won’t tell me what the kobold head is all about.”

"Chase, do not be rash,” Sharon said.

She’d perked up at the mention of profit. Not that she was greedy, or even unethical when it came to our finances, but she simply worried a lot about us remaining solvent as an operation. At the moment, I was a unique entity that allowed us to offer a unique service, but who knew if one day someone else would be able to manipulate the Dim and offer the same services we did. Sharon had mentioned that worry on more than one occasion and mumbled about eroding market share.

"What business relationship are you proposing?” Sharon asked the One Guy.

Harper groaned and relaxed slightly as she switched it up and used the tip of her pistol’s barrel to push a stray, raven black dreadlock behind her ear. "Am I shooting or not?”

A flush had darkened the deep brown of her cheekbones and I knew she really wanted to shoot. Only a couple weeks earlier, Harper had had to deceive us in order to protect us from a serious threat. We wound up in a world of shit. She was obviously overcompensating for any guilt or loss of trust by trying to be a good team player. And shooting shit to all Hell is Harper’s go-to move when it comes to overcompensation. Or stabbing shit to all Hell. She does like to stab things, too.

"There is a lot of conflict in this room,” the One Guy said. "I don’t think we can have a meaningful nor productive conversation.” He pulled back the sleeve of his expensive suit jacket and studied an even more expensive watch. "I have an appointment at 4pm I cannot miss, but it won’t take long. Perhaps I can come back at five and bring some dinner as a show of my peaceful intentions? We can break bread while we talk.”

"Chase?” Sharon asked.

"Thai,” I said. "A lot of it.”

"Excellent,” the One Guy replied, beaming.

"You have got to be kidding,” Harper snapped.

"Seriously, dude?” Lassa responded.

He could have been castigating my decision to talk to One Guy or complaining about having to work overtime. It’s hard to tell with Lassa. The yeti is shaved, attractive as sin, and enjoys an "active” and busy omnisexual lifestyle. He’s in charge of transportation and knows a guy in every single dimension when we’re in need of wheels, wings, rotors, and motors. He might be a lovable, useful lug but he can and will rip someone limb from limb if they threaten his friends and/or family. But even when ripping off arms or expressing his doubt about doing business with One Guy, he’s still a laid back ski bum from a dimension made up of massive mountains and totally shreddable slopes.

"Look, Lassa, he pays for dinner, we listen while we eat the dinner he’s paid for, then we reject him,” I said, locking my eyes with the One Guy’s. "Unless he tells us about the kobold head.”

"We’ll discuss that over drunken noodles and massaman curry,” the One Guy said and snapped his fingers.

The dopplers blinked, looked at their boss, then gave Chappy a hard shove out of the way and left the office, one holding the door for the One Guy.

"See you all at five,” the One Guy said.

"What about me?” Chappy asked.

"You weren’t planning on going anywhere, were you, Chappy?” the One Guy asked.

"I guess not,” Chappy replied.

"Then have a seat and wait for my return.” The One Guy glared at the scumbag until Chappy shrugged and took a seat in one of the chairs in our waiting area. "Very nice. Chase, I look forward to talking more. Good day to you all.”

Then he was gone and we were left with Chappy.

"Can I shoot this prick, at least?” Harper asked, waving the pistol in Chappy’s direction.

"Tempting,” I said as I left my desk and walked past the wooden railing to join Chappy. I sat in the chair next to him. "Time for the talk before the talk.”

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