D. L. Russell's World
Horror, Dark Fantasy, and Sci Fi short story collection currently available at Amazon.com
Hell Is An Awfully Big City – Rufus, in the last days of his life is paid a visit by the Devil himself. The Devil, who turns out to be quite a persuasive business man, attempting to convince Rufus that “Hell ain’t so bad.”
Raymond Doesn’t Remember – Remember the neighborhood Witch? Twenty years after spending an eventful day her, Raymond has come back. Some things are best forgotten.
The Old Men of McDonald’s – We’ve all seen them in there, sipping coffee all day. Now you’ll know why. Follow Russell Williams deep into the black as he attempts to come to grips with losing his wife and his home.
That Ain’t No Chicken – Mr. Mudfoot tries to keep the peace between his hens and the humans, but after the death of Seymour, and the arrival of a new hired hand… things change on this egg farm.
What ties these and the other four tales of this collection together is D. L. Russell’s ability to show us that even the most despicable among us have a human side.
Excerpt from "Hell is an Awfully Big City"
"....Now, seven nights a week, Rufus watched, watched and remembered. His thoughts didn’t always go back to Burdessa; as the years since her death piled up, he allowed himself to think of other things, other events he had experienced, even other women without feeling guilty.
His marriage to Burdessa had produced a son and a daughter; both grew up and moved away from Fort Wayne, leading successful lives in LA and Dallas. Neither came to visit much and neither had ever offered to relocate him. Rufus wasn’t bitter about this fact; he hadn’t taken in his parents as they aged either, besides he didn’t think he would feel comfortable mooching off of his children.
Now death was near; of this fact Rufus was positive, he did second guess his decisions in life at times. Before he and Burdessa had settled down and started to raise a family, he had spent most of his time, doing as he pleased, always finding a party or a card game to get into, drinking, smoking, fucking whenever he wanted; not worrying about the consequence or level of calamity he caused. Nothing bad really happened, in the big picture, and life had been one hell of a ride in those days.
The crisp, deliberate thumps on the front door caused him to jump. Who in the world could be at the door at this hour, Rufus thought to himself as he slowly stood up from the recliner, faltered, and with a little extra effort, pushed himself into a semi-standing position, which was all his body could muster now a days.
Rufus grabbed his walking stick from the side of the chair and without lifting his ancient slippers from the floor, inched his way towards the door, stopping just out of arms reach.
“Who is it!” he shouted as forcefully as his raspy, weak voice could. “What ever you want, I ain’t got it! What ever I got, you can’t have none. Go away!”
“I need to speak with you Mr. Quincy,” the voice replied calmly. “I promise you, it’s important.”
Rufus took a few more steps towards the door, but didn’t want to touch it, as if by doing so, he would let the person on the other side come into the house. Through the peep hole and the bars of his iron security door, he saw under the dim light of the low watt bulb on the porch, a young white man in a business suit. Even in the poor light, Rufus could see that the man had eyes as blue as the sky on a clear summer day. Eyes so blue Rufus was sure the man must be wearing some of those colored contacts. Nobody had eyes that blue.
Knowing his security door was double dead bolted; Rufus opened the interior door and asked the man what he wanted.
“Good evening, Mr. Quincy,” the young man said, his eyes twinkling in the low light. “I’m the Devil, and I’d like to make you an offer for your soul.” The statement and its flat, but pleasant delivery froze Rufus where he stood, he pressed one hand into the end of the opened door, and his other pushed his walking stick firmly into the floor. So firmly, if someone had kicked the stick out from under, Rufus would have hit the floor face first in half a second. “Mr. Quincy?”
Rufus found the strength to slam the door and take several steps away, his free hand now pressing into his gaping, but silent mouth. His heart screamed to get out of his concave chest. His cracked, thin, brown flesh prickled with large goose pimples and his eyes bulged with vertigo as he stared in fear at the back of the closed door. He could almost feel the hair of his short, grey afro going pure white. Who would put this man up to playing such a cruel joke on him? He never bothered anyone. He never caused any trouble in the neighborhood or elsewhere. He was just an old man.
“Mr. Quincy? Mr. Quincy…” the voice repeated several times, and then there was another knock at the door. This time it was more forceful, although not violent or hostile.
“Go away! Get out of here!” Rufus shouted at the back of the door, this time finding real anger in his own voice. As fast as he could, he turned and reached for the cordless phone located next to the sofa, which was across from the recliner. It took a moment for him to find the talk button in the low light from the television, and after he pushed it and placed the receiver to his ear, there was no tone. With unsteady hands, Rufus pushed again, but unfortunately had the same result.
“Mr. Quincy,” the voice harassed him once more. “Mr. Quincy, this is not a matter for the police. Can I please come in, Mr. Quincy?”
“No, I will not let you into my home! Why are you doing this to me? I’m just an old man; I haven’t done anything to anyone!”
“Your friend, Jackie Taylor suggested that I talk to you, Mr. Quincy. He’d really like for you to ‘come on down,’ he says.”
Rufus hadn’t heard that name in thirty years. Jackie Taylor was J. T. J. T. had been his best friend up until he was killed back in the seventies, by a jealous woman, stabbed to death in the back seat of a black Cadillac. Rufus had been a pall-bearer at the funeral. Slowly, Rufus opened the door and let the Devil in...."