Francis was asked to leave by his wife, but, deep down, he knew someday he would return to her. With nowhere else to go, he appeared at the apartment of his childhood friend, Carl. Sometime earlier, Carl’s wife had thrown him out, asking that he never return. Can two divorced men with a dark past share an apartment without driving each other crazy—especially when the bodies start to pile up?

“The Murder Couple” appears in Castle of Horror 5: Thinly Veiled 1970s Inspired Horror, edited by Jason Henderson. Each story is mix of pastiche, homage, and parody of an iconic film or TV series from the period, with a twist of horror added. The excerpt below is from the opening scene of the story.




The Murder Couple

Francis stepped forward—eyes wide, eyebrows raised—brandishing his umbrella. “Just look at this!”
        Carl turned back toward Francis. “What, your umbrella?”
        “No, not the umbrella, this, this!” He poked the umbrella toward Carl, who backed away from the pointy tip—and the cigar stub impaled upon it. “You’ve done it again!” They stood staring at each other in silence for a moment.
        Then Carl reached out, snatched the cigar from the umbrella, and jammed it into the corner of his mouth. “There, happy now?”
        Francis stood frozen, his own mouth hanging open. “I most certainly am not. You may as well just go outside and lick the sidewalk as put that foul thing back in your mouth.”
        Carl spit the cigar into his hand and threw it toward the ashtray on his nearby desk. He missed, and the cigar landed on the floor. Francis stared at the stub on the carpet. “Are you going to pick that up?”
        Carl clenched his fists. “No, Francis, will you just listen to me for a second? Something’s happened.”
        “You mean there’s something else? What have you done?”
        “It was an accident!” He shrugged. “Mostly.”  . . .



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