Chapter 1:

Texas Fire Axe Massacre (Jack versus Puck)


Jack crept up on the drive-in theatre. The young couples sitting in their cars were watching Psycho Killer projected on an outdoor screen. The full moon was out, the air was warm, and the sweet scent of the sycamore trees was wafting in from the forest. A perfect evening for a Halloween horror movie date night….

There was only one problem.

Jack raised his fire axe. I don’t have a damn date!

He had spent the better part of an hour chatting up a mousy little number at the video rental store where he worked only to find out she was just waiting for her boyfriend to pick her up. He’d gone through all the trouble of explaining the Thursday the 13th movie timeline to her too! He could have sworn he heard the two of them laughing at him when they left. Well, he’d have the last laugh!

Jack slinked through the sea of cars looking for the red one he’d seen the couple driving away in. The darkness combined with the wooden mask he was wearing made this task a little tricky, but his night vision had improved since he’d started his misadventures as the Lumberjack. He’d hoped moving from New York City to Texas would calm him down. However, everything about the country just made him more homicidal: the weather fluctuated between hot and hot as hell, the flies invited themselves to your dinner, and if you wanted anything kosher, forget it. Jack spotted the red car he was looking for. The mouse and the jock she was with were kissing. He got angry, felt his blood heat up, started shaking.

Nerds shouldn’t breed with jocks! It’s unnatural! Nerds should breed with other nerds! Like me!

He reached out to open the car door so he could make lasagne out of this unholy union but stopped when he noticed something out of the corner of his eye. The next car over, someone wearing a hockey mask was doing the exact same thing. Hockey Mask noticed him noticing him, and for a moment, they just stared at each other.

Well, this is awkward….

Had two slashers ever run into each other like this before? The chances had to be slim considering the sheer size of the US. He wasn’t scared so much as surprised. It was like a lion coming upon a tiger in the savannah. By the wide-eyed look Hockey Mask was giving him, Jack could tell he felt the same way. He was a little guy wearing a white Montreal Canucks hockey jersey. Canadians were nice. Maybe he could be reasoned with.

Jack held out a fist to Hockey Mask and whispered. ‘You want to settle this with rock paper scissors? Loser calls it a night and goes ho—’

Hockey Mask slashed at him with a hockey stick ending in an ice skate blade. Jack ducked. The blade smashed through the car window above him and brained the jock inside. The mouse screamed. Suddenly, the drive-in theatre was an explosion of sound and movement.

There goes my happy Halloween.

Jack and Hockey Mask began a rapid melee with their fire axe and bladed hockey stick. Sparks flew as metal clashed with metal. This guy was good. Jack was a brain surgeon with his fire axe, but he couldn’t get one hit on him. What was his problem anyway? It’s not like slashers had a union or anything, but was a little mutual respect from someone in the same vocation too much to ask?

Jack dodged a swing and kicked Hockey Mask away, only to discover that he was wearing roller skates. Hockey Mask began bouncing around the cars like a hockey puck. He sliced and diced a dozen civilians before coming back at Jack twice as fast as before. This time, Jack’s movements couldn’t match his opponent’s speed; he was barely able to guard his neck with his fire axe as the rest of his body got shredded. If this kept up, he’d be delivered to Saint Peter in a box.

‘Screw this!’ said Jack.

He whacked the bladed hockey stick so hard it made Hockey Mask stumble backwards, chopped the car door off the mouse’s car, and bashed Hockey Mask to the ground with it. What he might lack in speed, he made up for in strength and ingenuity.

He heard footsteps behind him and turned around to find the mouse running for her life. A future that could have been flashed before his eyes: a happy family, a Golden Retriever, a house in the suburbs, the American National Anthem playing on the radio…and she’d thrown it all away for some varsity jacket-wearing meathead! It wasn’t Jack’s fault he was socially awkward; when all the other kids were playing sports outside, his mother was making him take violin lessons!

‘I’m a nice guy!’ said Jack.

He threw his fire axe at her head and hit the bullseye.


Better a king in Hell than a slave in Heaven.

A siren whined. The place lit up. The civilians stopped screaming. Jack hadn’t noticed, but there was actually a cop car parked in the front row. Now he was surrounded by four of Austin’s finest, flashlights and .44 Magnum revolvers trained on him.

The fattest of the four fat men spoke. ‘Freeze, young’un! What in tarnation is going on here?!’

Jack had gotten cocky after defeating Hockey Mask and had let his fire axe get away from him. He was going to have to improvise if he didn’t want to become Swiss cheese.

He raised his hands. ‘Listen, I know this looks bad, but…these dead people actually owed the IRS a lot of money.’

The cops’ eyes widened. No one, not police, not slashers, wanted to make an enemy of the Internal Revenue Service.

A scream came from the movie speakers as Norman stabbed Marion to death in the shower. The cops lost focus just long enough for Jack to leap forwards, snatch up his fire axe, chop the fattest fat man’s head off, and run away through the sea of cars. The remaining cops opened fire, and Jack caught a bullet in the backside which stung like the devil. Before anyone could catch up to him, though, he was out of the drive-in theatre and sprinting down the road to Austin. If he stayed in the cover of the forest and followed the cliffside road, he’d be back to civilisation in no time!

He heard the buzz of roller skates behind him.

It was Hockey Mask! The crazy freak was skating after him like he was possessed by a demon!

This guy is a really sore loser!

It was bad enough fighting Hockey Mask at close quarters. Out in the open, out on the road, he had no chance! A shiver ran down Jack’s spine. Hockey Mask was in front of him and closing fast. The cliff was to his left; the forest was to his right. What could he do?

He held out a fist to Hockey Mask. ‘How’s about we try this again? Rock, paper—'

Hockey Mask launched a barrage of sweeping strikes which, despite his best efforts to block them, cut him up and knocked him back. Soon, Jack had his back to the guard rail atop the cliff overlooking a long fall to the forest below. His body was racked with pain and fatigue. One good strike and he was doomed. A siren whined on the road ahead. The cop car from before was rushing towards them! Hockey Mask glanced at it for a moment. Now was Jack’s chance! He threw his fire axe at Hockey Mask. Hockey Mask, quick as ever, twirled away and sent his bladed hockey stick shooting forwards. Jack clapped the bladed hockey stick between his hands just before the ice skate blade impaled his face. He lifted little Hockey Mask off the ground and slammed him into the cop car. Both Hockey Mask and the cop car went flying through the guard rail and off the cliff.

A booming explosion came from below.

Jack rested on the guard rail and grinned. ‘If I’m not having a happy Halloween, no one’s having a happy Halloween!’



Joe Gold