Keep it in (Poetry)

November 2, 2018

Keep it in

By Justin J. Conidaris

Keep it in,

buried deep the soul.

Keep it in,

because it can never be let out.

Keep it in,

so that they never know.

Keep it in,

because if it gets out,

your world will burn.

Let it out,

the fire and the pain and the anguish.

Let it out,

the burning and the cold.

Let it out,

the blackness.

Keep it in,

the hatred of self.

Keep it in…

Until it burns you alive.


Blog Tour – Jozi Flash 2017

August 21, 2018

Jozi Flash 2017 release cover

Jozi Flash 2017, a journey through worlds at the hands of several talented authors. I took part in it myself, but this isn’t about me – it’s about the rest of the awesome writers that took part.

From dragons and the gold they hoard, to the far future and second chances, Jozi Flash 2017 runs the gamut from children’s stories to science fiction, and showcases the sheer talent of the writers that contributed to it, and the art used is fantastic too.

If you want to spend some time getting lost in several different universes, go and download this e-book. You won’t regret it.

Is this supposed to be a review? I’m not so sure, I just wanted to put my thoughts about this book down and I’m not very good at that, I tend to ramble a lot.

But I’ll put a score down here anyway, a completely biased one so don’t take it too seriously.

9/10. Go read it. Now. Or I’ll sic a dragon on you.

P.S.: I had a blast writing my horror story. Read it while eating ice cream.

Art, bloody art (horror flash fiction, 335 words)

June 14, 2018




A hammer struck a nail as a man in a dirty trench coat worked. The room was dark, save for the chandelier that held six lit candles. The light it gave off moved as it swung on an old chain. He bent down and picked up another piece of his décor, pressing it up against the old wall and staring at it before pulling a nail out of his mouth and hammering it into the wall before stepping back and staring at his handiwork.

Yes, this would do for now. His gaze moved along the long, slick item that ran along the wall, slowly curving down until it reached its origin. The source of his décor twitched slightly, and the artist considered simply cutting the intestine off and hanging it up.

The chandelier swung slowly above him, and he decided on a course of action. It had been far too long since he had placed this kind of art in his lovely old home. With a dark smile, he walked downstairs and out to the tool shed. The night sky was clear, and the old manor was surrounded by woodlands.

Not a soul to bother him while he worked. Opening his tool shed, he walked in and picked up the old spikes and a larger hammer before going inside again. The severed head of a brown haired girl greeted him in the doorway. He liked that piece, the girl had tried so hard to stop him before he finally acquired her for his art. The rest of her body was being prepared for his paints.

He gently pushed the head out of the way and walked back into the room with his latest piece, picking the body up and propping it up against the wall. He worked quickly, driving the spikes through the shoulders and thighs to hold up the body.

He stepped back and smiled at his work, and there were always more brave souls for him to acquire as materials.

Old Stories: Poison (written in 2014)

May 25, 2018

Her mother had passed away several years ago, and her father had never recovered from it. He drank himself to an early grave, leaving her all alone. Misty Neocene had met him, then. He seemed so nice, so supportive. He was kind and handsome, didn’t mind that she was a bisexual woman at all, and was just perfect.

It wasn’t until their wedding night when she found out the truth of it, and by then, it was too late. She had always been shy, always weak. Her husband, Jonah Madison, was a cliché, but it was the truth. He was a drunken bastard that treated her like a servant, forcing her to quit her job at the animal center so she could stay at home and tend to his needs.

The abuse was physical,emotional, and sexual. He always sneered at her when she cried out no as he forced himself on her, saying that a wife could never deny her husband sex. It got even worse when she found that she couldn’t bear children. He beat her and locked her in the basement for a week after that, but that had been his mistake.

Her mother’s things had been stored down there, gathering dust. Nursing her wounds, ignoring the pains in her stomach where he had punched her repeatedly (“You can’t give me a son, so I might as well use it as a punching bag, you worthless bitch!”), she went through the journals she had found.

It was the third year of her marriage, and she was twenty-four years old. The first journal she had found revealed a side to her mother that Misty never knew about. Her mother, Miranda Neocene, was an Assassin. Part of a Brotherhood shrouded in myth and shadow, she had spent most of her life taking lives, to protect the peace of the world.

She found a book on poisons, too, and started reading. Not for the first time, Misty had dark thoughts regarding her husband. For the first time, however, she had a way to make them a reality.

Most of the poisons were created from flowers. Flowers that Misty had access too. A small flower bed was the only thing her husband let her have, really. It was hers, and it contained flowers her mother had grown while alive.

Flowers that could be turned into deadly poisons.

When she was finally released, Misty acted the broken housewife. She didn’t fight her husband in anything, meekly doing as she was told, all while preparing the flowers she would need. When they were ready, she crafted the poison.

It was a nasty one, designed to form an aneurysm in the brain. It would take a month of doses, but that was okay. She cooked the food, she had access to his beer because she went shopping for him. The first doses were in his curried fish and evening beer (she was repulsed by that), and as the book had said, he didn’t even notice.

She didn’t dare smile as she ate her own fish and drank her water, he would only get violent again. In a month, she would be free of him, and it would look natural.

It was a month later, and Misty was returning to the house after her husband’s funeral. A brain aneurysm, they said as they consoled the ‘be-grieved’ Mrs. Madison. She had put on the act of a grieving widow, and she had even cried real tears. That had surprised her.

She entered her home and locked the door behind her, leaning against it and staring up at the ceiling. With a hollow laugh, she started her life over.


Flash Fiction: Storm Shadows (304 words, present POV, suspense/horror/thriller I think)

April 23, 2018

My house is dark when I wake up at two in the morning, woken by the approaching storm. I sigh and get out of bed, grabbing my torch before heading to my basement to check the power box. Storms and power failures go hand in hand in my suburb, and I can’t afford a good generator either.

As I step into the hallway, I think I hear something shuffling in the dark. Probably my old dog, Maxi. I flinch at the flash of lightning and the explosive thunder that comes close enough to shake the windows.

I hate storms, but unfortunately I live in a stormy area, and it’s the height of summer. Storm season. Just a few more weeks before winter chases the storms away…

Shaking my head, I walk down the hallway, beam travelling over the various pieces of art that I’ve collected over the years. My favourite piece is a painting of and old robed man sleeping under the Boer War Monument.

At least, I hope he’s asleep. There are a lot of weird rumours surrounding that piece, but I like it.

Lightning lights up the sky again as I find the door to the basement and open it. Something in the dark makes me shiver, but I push it aside. This is reality, not one of the horrors I like to write in my spare time.

The stairs creek as I walk down into the darkness.

Something knocks an empty paint can over, and I turn to the sound. Sickly yellow eyes stare at me from the darkness, and something leaps at me, ghastly arms extended to grab a hold of me. I stumble backwards, falling over a chair and landing hard on my back as I let out a shrill, terrified scream.

The lights come back on.

I’m alone.

Flash Fiction: Dry Bones

April 20, 2018

Dry Bones

Genre: Mystery/Horror

Words (not including the title, genre, and word count): 248

The two teenage boys weren’t supposed to be there, of course. Not that it stopped them from sneaking into the oldest building in their neighbourhood. Life without risks was boring, right?

“Hey, Jason!” Kyle “Brick” Thompson said as he spotted an opening in the floor. “Come check this out! Think this place has a hidden basement?”

Jason fiddled with his silver jaguar necklace. “Maybe. Let’s check it out, bro.”

Brick moved the debris that was covering the opening aside. He was a strong boy, on the school wrestling team. It was easy for him. Jason was the exact opposite. Built for speed and agility rather than brute strength, he was the fastest runner on the track team.

“Got a flashlight?” Brick said.

“My phone has one.” Jason took out his smartphone and activated the flashlight before heading down. It wasn’t anything impressive, in his opinion. Just walls and concrete.

“Kinda boring,” Brick said. “Oh, hey, look there!”

Jason moved the flashlight over to a wall, stopping cold when he saw the old skeleton hanging out of the hole. “What the hell…”

“Man,” Brick said, “this is sick. Think we can take pictures and show it off at school tomorrow?”

Jason wasn’t listening. He was gripping his necklace. “Hey, Brick? How old do you think that skeleton is?”

“What? No clue, man. Probably as old as the building, so…a hundred years or so? Why?”

“…it’s…wearing my necklace…”

Writer Talk: Anti-Heroes (or: those jerks that save the day but don’t give a crap about your feelings)

April 13, 2018

Anti-heroes, the ones that happily tap-dance along that line between hero and villain. I recently did a piece on villains, and what makes a good one, but now I’m doing one on anti-heroes. Why not heroes? Because that’s just too easy.

Besides, I like anti-heroes. They interest me a great deal. They don’t have to follow the same set of rules that heroes do. Hell, they don’t even have to follow the same ‘rules’ that a villain does. They can do their own thing, their own way, and damn whatever the heroes and villains might think about it.

Lots more fun to write, in my humble opinion. Now, I’ll give you a list of what I consider to be good anti-heroes, and what makes them anti-heroes.


I recently did a post on the Batman Animated Series from 1992, and the dark undertones it has. I’m not going to go back to that, instead focusing on other mediums that the Dark Knight has appeared in, though it should be noted that I don’t personally consider Batman a true anti-hero, despite his penchant for being ruthless against criminals and using fear as a weapon (not as literally as the Scarecrow, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish).

Yes, Batman is seen by many as ruthless, cold, utterly without humanity when it comes to criminals.

This is entirely wrong. Batman may place himself above the law in that he actively hunts down criminals, be they common thugs or psychopaths like the Joker, but he cares a great deal about people, even some of his enemies.

Take this scene from the aforementioned 90s cartoon (okay so I am going back to it a couple of times, so sue me) where he talks to a captured Harley Quinn:

“I had a bad day too, once.”

Batman isn’t a monster, he’s not some lunatic in a bat costume. He’s hard on criminals, he’s an anti-hero at the most basic level, but he never lets himself go too far. There are times, however, when he’s tempted to cross that line, to badly hurt, maim, or kill his enemies. Another scene from the 90s cartoon below shows this…

Batman saves even his enemies, but this man, this… Sewer King (or whatever his name was, I don’t think they said it) crossed a line. He hurt and basically enslaved children. Batman would never harm a child, even under orders from the government. The final part of this section will be closed off with this simple video, and a statement:

I will close off this section of this post with three words, and I apologise for the profanity but I truly hate this character.

Fuck. Amanda. Waller. She is willing to murder a child for the crime of having power she cannot properly control. Batman refused to go that route. He chose to sit with this child, changed forever by the very government that tried to murder her, until her young life came to an end.

This is why I don’t think Batman is a true anti-hero, but a hero. He’s ruthless, yes. He can lack mercy for certain people, but those people deserve no mercy aside from being allowed to live, for Batman made an oath to never take a life.

But…Batman is human, driven by loss and a single promise: “No child will ever have to suffer through what I suffered again.” That is the promise that drives Batman to fight, that is what makes him a hero. That is what puts him on the level of the likes of Superman and Wonder Woman.

That is why I love Batman as a character.


Oh hai Dragon Ball Z and Super, been a while since I’ve thought about you. Vegeta is the Prince of the Saiyans. Driven by pride that often veers into arrogance, he starts out a villain and swings into anti-heroism and fatherhood. Of course, he starts out being more than willing to murder fallen foes to avoid complications later, much to Goku’s horror…

Exhibit A, Vegeta being an ass to Bulma and friends: “I don’t care about the people of Earth, but I will defeat Cell!”

Vegeta wanted to kill Cell to prove his strength. Saving Earth wasn’t even a distant second thought. The thing is, he and Bulma end up in a heated relationship and she gives him a son. He tries not to give a damn, to only care about his training and strength, but fast forward to the later part of Dragon Ball Z, and we get this scene:

Vegeta displays a true anti-hero streak. He fights only for his own reasons, pretends not to care about his family, but in the end? His family becomes his driving force. He took Trunks to the park even though his son failed to land a hit on him. He’s a damn good father, but an utter crap person otherwise.

So, yes, Vegeta grows heavily into his anti-heroism. He only cares about Earth because his family is there. If they weren’t, it could burn for all he cares.  Also? This is what happens when you hurt Bulma in front of him:

Vegeta is a better father and husband than Goku. That’s all I’ll say on this matter.

Yuri Lowell

Yuri freaking Lowell, the protagonist so obviously dark that my younger brother took one look at him and assumed he was the bad guy. To be fair…he was close. Yuri isn’t a bad person, but he also isn’t willing to let the rich get away with literal murder just because they can buy their freedom. This man outright murders three people on screen in cutscenes, just because they would have used their money and influence to get away with their malicious, evil actions. Exhibit A – politicians aren’t above his justice:

Nobody was sorry to see Ragou die, trust me. The man fed people to monsters for fun. Exhibit B – knight captains aren’t above his justice either:

Cumore was scum. He used his noble status to gain command over knights that looked down on common folk, and sent said common folk into the desert to risk death to search for a monster that wasn’t actually a monster. It’s complicated. Point is, Cumore and Ragou thought themselves above the law. Yuri disagreed and bloodied his own hands to rectify it.

Yuri knows he’s a dark person, a murderer. No matter his justifications, he knows that he should face justice himself. This will not stop him from doing what he thinks is right, and damn the laws that say he can’t because somebody is born a ‘higher class’ than him, or they have money and influence enough to get out of any consequences they should face.


The Merc with the Mouth, from Marvel comics, is, at his best, an anti-hero. At his worst, he’s a psychopath that locks blind old ladies in trap-filled boxes for the crime of making friends without permission.

90s Deadpool was not nice, okay?

Anyway, Deadpool. A lot of people know of him, either from his comics or the frankly amazing Deadpool movie that Ryan Reynolds starred in. He’s a mercenary with cancer-fueled regeneration, a smart mouth, lots of weapons, and the ability to see past the fourth wall. He will kill almost anybody for the right amount of money, but also wants to be all heroic.

He’s a hot mess in his head, too. Hello little yellow boxes of the comics that should somehow make it into the movies. However, despite his insanity, his love of fighting and blood…Deadpool loves children. Just like Batman, it’s a bad idea to hurt children and let Deadpool hear about it.

The difference? Deadpool will murder you over it. Gladly. I don’t have any videos or even pictures that prove it, but trust me, they’re out there. Hell, one time he got himself an appointment with a psychologist and started babbling, like usual…and ended up confessing that he knew what the man did to his sixteen year old female patient.

That doctor ended up very dead and the world was better off for it. Don’t hurt kids near Deadpool, he’ll slaughter you for it.

Okay, having no images to show off how Deadpool is an anti-hero that loves kids to the point of literally killing people that hurt them is getting me nowhere. Next!

The Punisher

Of course he’s here. It’s the freakin’ Punisher. Frank Castle, the man that lost his family to mob violence and swears to spend the rest of his life in a war against any and all criminals. He kills them. No argument, no debate, no negotiations. He just kills them. Even in prison.

And no, he does not have any super powers. He is a man with military training. That is it. The Punisher is a great example of an anti-hero that truly doesn’t care about man’s laws if they protect criminals. He will hunt down and kill any and all criminals he can, until he dies.

He’s been caught and imprisoned before, and he always escapes to continue his war. His long, bloody, bloody war against the criminals that took his family away from him.

Really, anti-heroes are some of my favourites to write about, and to read about. When the world screws you, but you don’t want to become evil over it? Screw the world back and get your revenge.

Without killing innocent people, of course. Because that would turn you into a villain.

Justin J.