Jessica B. Bell Gives You a Sneak Peek of VISCERA

Hello you maniacs. You freaks, you wasters and deviants. You creeps hiding in pretty flesh, secretly reading my twisted, scary stories in the dark and reveling in the romance of Gothic horror and the sheer delight of terror. I see you all dressed in black, hiding in your own basements, spinning old Bauhaus records and smoking clove cigarettes.

I will be your Queen if you will be my faithful acolytes. I don’t want your worship, I don’t want your souls, tawdry things that they are. Just take my hand in the darkness and let me show you what is hiding there under the stairs, down with the musty smell of cardboard boxes filled with memories past, left rotting and forgotten. Or perhaps dark secrets lie within the pages of that leatherbound book that is hidden under the floorboards — and is that blood on its pages? Or just spilled coffee?

Let us discover together….

I’m putting together a little collection of strange tales for you. I wanted to bind it in human flesh, but apparently that’s frowned upon in modern polite society, and so I have a dark friend of mine who goes by the name of Moonshadow creating a suitably disturbing cover for your deviant pleasure.

I’ve also enlisted the devilish talents of a special artist to illustrate and illuminate some of the stories, for those of you who enjoy that sort of thing.

To whet your bloody appetites, I’m giving you a glimpse of the first delightfully dark drawing, that will accompany my poem “Under the Stairs”, reproduced here for your enjoyment.

Her Infernal Majesty,

Jessica B. Bell


Under the stairs at grandmother’s house

there’s a creature that lives, and it isn’t a mouse.

It’s got claws, funny eyes, and a million sharp teeth

that it uses to grab you and drag you beneath.


It will rip through your belly and tear out your spine

and declare in a chortling voice YOU ARE MINE!

And just when you think that you’re soon to be dead,

there’s a tickling just at the back of your head.


Your body convulses and twists and contorts

into something resembling a lizard of sorts.

Your fingers extend into twisted, gnarled claws

and a million sharp teeth push their way through your jaws.


As you writhe on the ground staring up in surprise,

(your vision distorted by all your new eyes)

you gaze at the face of the thing changing, too

and you scream as you see that it changed into you.


You watch, weak and helpless, as the new you ascends

up the stairs, out the door to go play with your friends.

As you lay in the dark with a strange hunger rising

a bloodlust that’s achingly sweet and surprising.


So you wait in the dark growing hungrier still,

aching and longing for someone to kill.

When the door at the top of the stairs opens wide

and your soon-to-be meal takes its first step inside.


You quietly hiss “No, don’t turn on the light!

There’s nothing to fear, come on down for a bite.”

But your grandmother isn’t quite what she appears.

in fact your old grandma’s been dead for some years.


And the thing creeping down wearing grandmother’s skin

has been waiting for years for new blood to come in.

To breed an entire new race of nightmares;

to put monsters beneath every grandmother’s stairs.


So you claw and you hiss and you put up a fight

but you’re simply no match for old grandmother’s might.

You even try saying you’re not in the mood

but both you and the world are now totally screwed.





46 responses to “Jessica B. Bell Gives You a Sneak Peek of VISCERA

      • Skin and blood are my currency, dear one. They are all I have at the end of the day. That and my imagination, and when one has skin, blood, and imagination, there is no limit to what one may create.

      • Oh my gosh. I was just about to say it reminded me of a twisted Shel Silverstein! (That’s most definitely a compliment. Silverstein is amazing, and this is, too.)

  1. You published this one before, non? I seem to remember reading (and loving) it a while back. The art is new — and it’s perfect. Nicely done Jessica.

  2. Ahhh dear Jessica – she makes me want to take her hand and skip blithely into the darkness to see what monsters might be found, for surely the ones outside cannot be as big nor fierce as the ones within…

    • You may address me directly, kind visitor. Approach, fear not. I don’t bite… much.

    • Well, Miss Jessica, I would love if you would take me and show me what lies within the darknesses.

      I fear no biting things, though – I have a tendency to bite back *wide innocent eyes*

      • Ah well, then… do come by for a drink sometime. I’ll open a cask of Amontillado and we can reminisce about the fall of the house of Usher.

      • After the last time we broached the cask of Amontillado you sang Annabel-Lee all night and I said “Nevermore.”

      • We painted our faces in masques of red death, and you kept fretting about the beating of someone’s horrible heart… yes, yes, I seem to recall.

      • We should never have invited Ligea or let her teach us how to play Pit and Pendulum: the Absinthe Drinking Game. Where nobody wins, and everyone, in one way or another, loses.

      • It beats the hell out of Twister, dear Hannah. Three rounds of that and I’m ready to spike the punch with laudanum.

    • Oh, yes, the Texan bird, displaced to cold and bitter New England. Take care not to catch a melancholy, my dear Hannah — else you find yourself wand’ring graveyards calling out the names of long-dead lovers and be thought mad by those foolish prats with no romance in their souls.

    • I would blush if it were possible, dear Nan, but alas, the blood that runs through my shrivelled veins is far too cold, I’m afraid.

  3. Do bring it, Jessica! Love the voice, dripping with evil intent but also with a humor that makes me laugh in horror. The poem was fun in a gruesomely sick way (the way I like it) and, of course, the end of the poem was perfect.

    • How observant, my sister-in-darkness — yes, I was merely introducing myself and giving you all a brief taste of what awaits you with my upcoming collection, VISCERA. This will be the first you’ve seen that drawing, though. Is it not terribly fitting with the poem?

  4. If I hadn’t heard from Helena herself today, I would have sworn you had gobbled her right up.
    Marvellous story, my dear, stunning artwork to go with. Can’t wait for more!
    May I call you Jessica?

  5. loved the poem, jessica. loved the rhyme. great illustration as well… i sure hope helena’s safe (not that i’m not happy to see you)

    • People paint me as the cruel one, but I’m not the one who kept someone chained in the basement, only feeding them low-protein gruel and punishing me in inhumane ways that I am hesitant to mention. But fear not, I shall treat Helena with more dignity that she treated me.

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