Sara Dobie Bauer · Writing

For Christmas: Meet Cleve the Cannibal in Flapperhouse #8


Nothing says Christmas like an immortal monster who eats human flesh! Cleve might be a cannibal, but he’s really a good guy. He only eats sick people; he’s just saving them the trouble. Then, he meets Blake Shepherd and things take a turn.

I’ve always been fascinated by bad guys with charisma. Think Hannibal Lecter (also a cannibal), Michael Corleone, and even Batman’s Joker. There’s just something about a charming villain that makes you root for them. I mean, even Darth Vader has a sort of je ne sais quoi.

flapperhouse8covercoyoteI created something similar in Cleve, a handsome guy who wears expensive suits and says the right things … until his claws come out. That’s the thing about great villains: you never see them coming.

Introduced in issue #8 of Flapperhouse, Cleve comes to life in “The Wendigo Goes Home.” The magazine searches for “lit that’s surreal, shadowy, sensual, and/or satirical,” and I’ve been trying to climb the wall to reach them for years. Finally, with Cleve’s help, I am among the ranks of great writers they feature year in and year out.

I offer this short story as a Christmas gift for the masses. May it warm the dark, perverted corners of your heart and invoke a sense of bloody Krampus spirit. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a spooky night!

An excerpt: “The Wendigo Goes Home”
by Sara Dobie Bauer
(Read in its entirety HERE in Flapperhouse #8.)

The Shepherd house was less house, more estate: two stories with a wrap-around white front porch, navy blue siding, and a modernized tin roof that reflected the blue sky at sunset. Bree introduced Cleve around to the dozens of guests, all shapes and ages. The house smelled of roasting meat, but still, beneath the body odor and fruit-forward wine, there wafted the scent of death.

Cleve wandered, corner-to-corner, with his glass of wine, sniffing. In that chair, an echo of decay… just by the window, a shadow of illness … on the back door, a reeking handprint.

He recognized the scent: cancer.

Cleve placed his own enormous hand on the back door and took a deep breath—ah, illness, the delicious smell of a foreshadowed feast. “Smells good, doesn’t it?” Bree touched his shoulder. “Dad’s roasting a pig out back. I’ll show you.”

man2Now that he’d caught the scent, Cleve refused to let go. He followed the girl outside and nodded with disinterest at the dead-eyed pig on the spit. Bits of marinade dripped from its flesh and hissed in the fire below. A group of people crowded around a large fire pit in the midst of towering oaks, leaves turned black by falling night. Cleve stepped to the edge of the fire where the younger people stood gathered. They laughed with their bottles of beer—women in light, summer dresses and men in t-shirts.

The scent was stronger there.

Cleve’s mouth watered.

He saw the one young man in a sweater. Despite the summer heat, the raging fire, he looked cold. His thin shoulders hunched forward as he took a gulp of beer and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. He smiled when addressed. He smiled and pretended, but he knew; the young man in the sweater knew he was dying, but it was clear no one else did. No one looked at him with pity. People didn’t make a point to talk to the dying man, nor did they avoid him. His illness was his secret—his and Cleve’s.

The young man in the sweater looked up when he felt Cleve looking. He blinked twice: huge, light eyes with a dot of reflected fire in the center. The man bit his bottom lip and smiled at Cleve, but stopped abruptly and headed for a black farmhouse in the back corner of the yard. Cleve followed.

Read “The Wendigo Goes Home” in its entirety at Flapperhouse! CLICK HERE.

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