Hello you wastrels, you slackers, you sneak-thieves, browsing the Internet on the Company dime. I, for one, applaud your private revolution — or is it just boredom that brings you here to my humble abode?

Whatever the case, dear bleeders, I’d welcome you with open arms, but they’re currently chained to the wall while some freaky looking girl who deigns call herself a Countess forces me to listen to Bee Gees records while she takes down this missive to you on my behalf.

I had a dream last night that I was being pulled apart by horses. I believe they used to call this being drawn and quartered. It was horribly wonderful. For some reason, it didn’t kill me, and the townsfolk took it as an evil omen, and so they stitched me back together, only they couldn’t find all the pieces of one of my legs, and so I walked with a limp for the rest of my days. Anyhow, that dream morphed into something quite sexy starring a young Vincent Price — quite a looker, he was — and some black leather restraints. We were on the set of the Pit and the Pendulum, and the swinging blade was sharp enough to cut through supple flesh like a hot knife through a butterfly.

Vincent was a energetic lover, tying me to the table, while he loomed over me, watching my eyes go wide with delight and sublime terror as I watched the blade of the pendulum swing ever closer, ever closer. It got me thinking of how sex and death are so intrinsically linked, both in life, and in literature — these are things I think of, dear bleeders, when I’m flat on my back waiting for my lover to have his petite mort — and the closer the pendulum got, the more excited I got.

Vincent’s face was red with exertion, which contrasted nicely with how pale with delicious fright I had become. The prospect of all that blood rushing to his head made me positively squirm with anticipation. Just when I thought I could stand no more — that I was going to jump out of my own skin, Vincent climaxed, just as the pendulum cut through his back, bisecting him and spilling his viscera all over me, which of course, caused me to have the most powerful orgasm I’d ever experienced, and as I lay there twitching with pleasure, covered in blood and gore and grinning darkly, a sudden thought occurred to me: Who’s going to unstrap me from the table now?

And the pendulum still swung. Ever closer…. ever closer….

And then, you secret sadists, you private perverts, I woke up tangled in sweaty sheets.

Have I got your attention now, you Internet junkies, you lonely hearts, desperate for some cheap thrill to make you feel alive?

Well, you’ve come to the right place for cheap thrills, dear bleeders — Mistress Jessica eats cheap for breakfast and gorges herself on thrills for lunch, and then hits the vomitorium and goes back for more.

You may take from me any of the cheap and tawdry thrills you find here. As that great Dane once said (no, not Marmaduke, you simpletons) you cannot take from me any thing that I will more willingly part withal: except my life, except my life, except my life.

What I ask in return, in this moment, is a couple of victims… er… volunteers to evaluate VISCERA in it’s pupae stage, before the imago emerges, likely in the form of a Death’s Head Moth, set to have a walk on part in the remake of that movie where the poor Senator’s daughter must put the lotion in the basket or else get the hose again.

Did you follow me? Or was I being obscure, obtuse, or otherwise cryptic.

Like the U.S. Army, I’m looking for a few good men (or women). Unlike the U.S. Army, I won’t be giving you the opportunity to travel the world, meet lots of interesting people, and then kill them.

I will, however, be giving you the opportunity to be among the first to see VISCERA — my upcoming collection of strange tales — in its entirety, with the purpose of giving feedback and catching any typos, misplaced punctuation, or other such embarrassing details that even the best of us — and I am the very best of us, dear bleeders — can miss.

How does one contact Jessica B. Bell, you ask, and well you might — you know that bitch Helena will just open my mail and delete any fan letters — she’s a jealous and fickle one, you know.

If you are interested in becoming one of these Beta Readers, as they are called among the plebs and proles, then either respond to me here (I’ll only be taking the first three or four, so please don’t be offended if you get here late and the doors are closed) or send me an email at — but don’t tell Helena I’ve got my own address, or she’ll put me back in the basement. Right now we have an uneasy truce, and I don’t want to do anything to upset her.




  1. Now there I was thinking I’d be altogether too late! I’m in. I’m picky as hell about grammar, and I’m also often wrong on the finer points of same…take it or leave it, Darkling.

    • Given your disdain for all things Kindle, I shall send you a Word Document, if that is satisfactory.

      • Delightful. How wise of you not to suggest Kindle. That would have been unpleasant in the extreme. I reckon that might be my nightmare – being forced to burn my books and only ever be allowed a Kindle, ever again…

  2. Oh my goodness how delicious a story this sounds!!! Two of my favorite men, Poe and Price with a little Hannibal thrown in!!! You have my utmost gratitude if you would only deem to pick me!!!

    • Drop me an email, dear lady, and I we shall discuss this further. I’m looking for someone who can give it a good read over the next month — it’s about 200 pages (formatted for 6×9 — not 200 11×17 pages!)
      Do let me know.

  3. Do you have a timeframe for turnaround? I’d be happy to do it, provided I can have two or three weeks.

    (Very sorry I have been absent. Issues too numerous to list during the trip. Home now and trying to get back to normal.)

    • The walls of my chamber have been lonely without you hanging beside me, dear.

      Good to see you — I shall wait with bated breath to hear more of your exploits down under.

      I was hoping that a month would be enough time, so yes, I shall contact you forthwith. And thank you.

      • In New Zealand, we had to buy internet by the mega-byte!!! It was all I could do to get a post up and clean out my email every day, before I ran out of allotted MB’s and had to buy more. I will catch up on Helena’s Arcadia series. I even took a photo in Melbourne just for her.

      • I’m sure she’ll be delighted — that one walks around with a smile on her face far too often — it’s disgusting!

    • I have a terrible secret to confess — I sometimes miss the damp and the dark. The sun hurts my pale skin.

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