Jason Parnell“Love leaves a scar…disfigurement, disease and The Devil.”

The Amputee Kiss and Other Tales of Grotesque Love is a collection of short stories I’ve compiled over the years that are best described as romances if presented by the Grand Guignol circa 1945. Which is to say unflinchingly disturbing and violent.

I have always had mixed feelings on “indie” publishing, if only because my close friends who are accomplished indie authors have written books that I should think any agent would step over their own mother to represent. In my experience “indie” conjures memories of old comics, mimeographed zines and splatter films that no major publisher would touch. Indie was the only recourse of those who believed strongly in a project that had no other outlet.

The Amputee Kiss is such a project.

SYNOPSIS:

The title story is a love letter to Edgar Allen Poe. Fiona and Alex, two high school friends, bond together for security and familiarity as they both face the isolation of college in a new city.  But the pressures of Fiona’s new life wake the sickness which she masked from her friend for so long: a passion for young girls and schizophrenia. The story climaxes in amputation, catharsis and finally… love.

The Rape of Lilith is a biblical nasty. When the angels, blind by the light of heaven, ask God’s favorite concubine Lucifer to petition him for shadows the Creator builds for them a glove on the edge of Heaven… Earth. He fills the Earth with beasts and, as a gift to his favorite lover, creates man and woman in the image of Lucifer. Jealousy and pride climax in Lucifer’s rape of Lilith and the world is never the same…

I’m Sick is the tale of two sisters, Leslie and Quinn. When their family moves from Texas to a new town to leave behind old demons the girls quickly find that the change only serves to put their problems under a spotlight. Leslie survived a brutal rape at the hands of a female babysitter. Quinn is desperate to understand her sister. When Leslie realizes how she can make her sister understand love and hate take on a whole new meaning.

The Gray Ones is another biblical tale, steeped in old Testament Genealogy. Tubal-Cain and his wife and sister Naamah, the last generation of the Son’s of Cain before the great flood, struggle to conceive a child. When Tubal-Cain travels afar to see their distant family, the Sons of Seth, three witches, Lilith and her Daughters, visit Naamah. After his return Tubal-Cain and Naamah do conceive but through the pregnancy old family secrets come out. The climax promises infanticide, betrayal and cannibalism.

The final story Wolf with the Red Rose juggles love, disease and drugs in the South Philadelphia ghettos. When a prostitute accidentally meets an old friend the secret which she’s hid for years demands to be let out. The result is an orgy of opiates, sex and death.

BACKGROUND:

In my capacity as a journalist I read a fantastic study by a promising grad student on disgust responses. Particularly on the role reading disgusting literature had on physical disgust responses. In the study Christians were forced to read Muslim holy books and as a result became increasingly physically disgusted to other stimuli, whereas reading the dictionary did not have this affect. In that study the themes which were listed as most disgusting to the average person were divergent religious ideas, incest and divergent sexuality.

This knowledge weighed heavily on my choice to publish The Amputee Kiss independently. The point of these stories is first to entertain but secondly to challenge. For every awkward encounter between siblings and every sexually explicit bible story there is indeed a point.

In the end these are very human stories. Everything was researched and an analog to an actual case study, personal account or mythology exists for every moment of “shock” or splatter. We’re living in a queer time right now. Horror movies began at a time when medical science was bringing home deformed soldiers who typically would have died in the “Great War”… People had rarely been around so much deformity, amputation and rarely had to live with such visceral reminders of violence in our daily lives.

While we’ve grown accustomed to the freak show that is humanity… A number of recent events have forced us to again reconsider the twisted little animal man can be. From Columbine to 9/11 and from Jared Loughner to Casey Anthony our logical defenses have been broken down… The media tries to impose a set of cause and effect relationships but in the end there is never a satisfactory answer to “Why did these terrible things happen?”

War and poverty are forcing us to look at who we are again. Is it any wonder horror has never been so popular? Wars leave scars. And so too, sometimes love leaves a scar. So please, enjoy and purchase The Amputee Kiss. Be disgusted. Be thrilled. After all, you’re human. Its OK to want to look.

 

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