Monday 1 August 2011

Doc Mortis Blog Tour Day 1

Lock up your kiddies as today sees the start of the Doc Mortis blog tour. Over the next fortnight some of your favourite blogs are going to find themselves taken over by Doc Mortis, by far the most chilling and evil character to appear in Barry Hutchison's Invisible Fiends books to date.

I feel really honoured to have The Book Zone kicking off the tour, and even more so because I am able to bring you the first instalment of The Rise of Doc Mortis, a short story in five parts that Barry has written exclusively for this blog tour. The story tells the origin of Doc Mortis, the most horrifying Fiend so far. Tomorrow the second instalment of The Rise of Doc Mortis will be terrifying the readers of Serendipity Reviews, so make sure you head on over there..... if you dare!




He stood by the wall, his gnarled hands clutching his leather case. In three minutes, the only friend he had ever known would be dead.

And he couldn’t wait.

Doc Mortis paced slowly around the chair, examining both it and the man strapped to it. He had watched them drag the prisoner in, then looked on as they presented him to the witnesses on the other side of the scratched glass. The judge. The jailors. The oh-so-grieving parents. They had displayed Doc’s friend, made him say his name, and then the curtains had slid slowly across the soundproofed window.

And then came the process of securing him to the chair. He hadn’t struggled much. He’d shuffled awkwardly, manacled by the wrists and the ankles, trying to remember exactly what had brought him to this moment. But the images that flickered through his head were hazy at best. The man had little memory of the things he had done.

Doc, on the other hand, remembered it all. The dark forests, the blades, the blood… and the screaming, of course. A shudder of pleasure travelled the length of Doc’s spine when he thought about the screaming. Oh, how he’d miss the screaming.

Doc had watched his friend be seated, the manacles replaced by straps across his wrists and ankles. Electrodes had been attached to the man, one on each freshly-shaved leg, the others concealed within a bowl-shaped helmet that was slipped over his head.

A man in a black suit with a white collar was muttering something, making the sign of the cross above the prisoner in the chair. Doc ignored him. He leaned in close, until his thick, rubbery lips were by his friend’s ear.

‘I think you are in trouble now, yes?’ Doc whispered, and there was something like a giggle mixed in with his Eastern European accent. He pulled his half-moon glasses down and peered over the rims. ‘They are going to make you pay for what you did to all those poor little kiddiewinkles. They are going to make you burn.’

‘M-make them s-stop,’ the man mumbled. ‘Please… make them stop.’

The priest raised his head. ‘It’s too late for that, my son.’

Doc Mortis stepped back, pulling his fish lips into a sneer. ‘He was not talking to you,’ he spat, and then he gave a low chuckle and turned back to his friend. ‘Oh, I forgot. He cannot hear me. Nobody can hear me but you.’

‘I don’t want to die. Not like this. Not like this. I d-don’t want to die.’

The priest spoke again, but Doc blocked it out. There was only the two of them, him and his friend. The way it had always been.

‘And those kiddiewinkles, did they want to die? Do you think they wanted to be sliced up, chop-chop, all alone in those woods, with no-one to hear their little screams?’

‘It… it wasn’t my fault! It wasn’t me!’

‘Crying for their mommies. Begging for their lives.’

‘But it wasn’t me, it was you! You told me to. You made me do it. You made me.’

Doc wagged a finger, as if scolding a child. ‘No, no, no. You made me, remember?’

He turned away and took in the room around them. There was the chair, obviously, made of sturdy oak. Wires ran from it, across the stone floor, before disappearing beneath the long, dark green curtains.

The walls had once been a clinical white. Now they were dirty and cracked, as if mirroring the souls of those who came to sit in this room. The only door in and out was closed, so that the priest may have privacy to do what little he could.

‘I am liking this,’ Doc said. ‘I am getting a – how would you say? – a good feeling about this place. It is homely, I think, yes?’

In the chair, his friend didn’t speak. His lips were moving silently and his eyes were flicking right to left, as if witnessing again the horrors of what he had done. What they had done. Together.

There was more murmuring from the priest, then the door opened, and he was gone. Doc Mortis tightened his grip on his bag. ‘Not long now, I think,’ he said. ‘I wonder what will happen to me? Once they have fried you to death, I mean. Will I stay here? Vanish? Go kaput?’

‘I hope you burn in Hell,’ the prisoner managed to hiss, before a sob caught at the back of his throat.

Doc laughed – a low, snorting sound, like a wild animal. ‘Then perhaps we will be roommates, yes? You would like this, I think. You would like this very much.’

‘Stay away from me, you… you freak. You twisted monster!’

Doc’s expression turned to one of mock hurt. ‘Such cruel words. I thought we were friends, you and I. Remember, I was not the one who did all those things. It was not me, it was you.’ He rested a hand on the condemned man’s shoulder and leaned in close once more. ‘Or maybe it was me, and you were but the weapon?’

He stepped back and laughed as the man in the chair began to pull against his straps. The leather cut grooves in his skin as he fought and struggled to be free. ‘Let me out!’ he screamed, the veins in his neck standing out in knots. ‘I want out. Let me out!’

‘Sssh, old friend, be calm. It will all be over soon,’ Doc soothed. ‘Remember how you used to sing to them? To the kiddiewinkles, as you dragged them along by their hair?’ He cleared his throat, then began to sing in a low, scratchy whisper. ‘If you go down to the woods today, you’d better not go alone…’

Almost immediately, the man in the electric chair stopped thrashing around. He sat still, his head hanging as low as the helmet and wires allowed.

There was a soft clicking as the curtains were slowly drawn back.

‘…it’s lovely down in the woods today, but safer to stay at home…’

The condemned man’s eyes raised. Faces. He saw faces. Watching him. Hating him. So many faces, blaming him for those things he had done. Those terrible, terrible things.

‘…for every bear that ever there was, is gathered there for certain because…’

Beyond the glass, two keys were turned, and two fingers hovered over two buttons. Doc ran a hand through his wispy white hair, then clutched his case to his chest. Its contents seemed to sing to him through the leather. He hoped, wherever he was going, that he was able to put them to good use.

In the chair, Doc’s only friend began to cry – not for himself, but for them. For all the dead children.

Doc’s purple lips parted into a grin, revealing teeth thick with yellow scum. He winked, as beyond the glass, two fingers pushed down on two buttons.

‘…today’s the day the teddy bears have their piiiic-niiiic!’

There was a buzz. The man in the electric chair went rigid.

And Doc’s whole world went dark.