My recent book SoUtHeRn TeRrOr came out back in January. It's a horror anthology; 12 creepy stories about hilarious people in horror situations.
Here is a description of the stories included in the book.
“Alerts From The Grave” --- A porn star receives text messages and emails from her dead husband.
“The Dark Road.” --- A sibling rivalry is put to an end when two sisters endure a night of pure terror in the woods.
“The Magician And The Beast.”--- A unique animal is the attraction for a sinister traveling magician.
“Giggling in the dark.” --- A young couple hears weird laughter and noises coming from their basement..
“The Power Of The Punch.” --- A struggling female boxer is given breast implants that give her the strength of three men. But everything has a price...
“Last Thoughts.” --- A womanizing politician is killed by his wife over and over in an endless loop; each death more brutal than the last.
“7 pm.” --- After almost dying in a street fight, a young drug dealer struggles to get his life and family back on track. But can he?
“Dirty Underwear.” --- A necrophiliac mortician gets a taste of her own medicine...
“Mail-Order Bride.” – A lonely old man finds a beautiful bride online, but he soon regrets his choice.
“The Intruder.” --- A family is fighting for their lives against an intruder who may be a bigger threat than they think.
"The Special Child." --- A youth counselor is concerned about a foreign child who has gotten everyone sick.
“The Scarecrow.” – A young reporter's first news assignment is to write an article about a scarecrow that walks at night.
What I'm going to do is provide you guys with a FREE large sample of the boxing story The Power Of The Punch. You'll definitely enjoy it. In a nutshell, Rebecca McCrary gets boob implants that give her the punching power of three men put together. She ends up beating her opposition quickly and easily, even crippling her opponents sometimes fatally. She earns a reputation as a "female Tyson."
The ending is not included, (you'll have to buy the book for that) but this is the story all the way up until early in the climactic championship fight at the end. So far reviews for the book and the stories within it have been overwhelmingly positive.
For an in-depth analysis and background information regarding the story, check out this edition of my blog series called Behind SoUtHeRn TerRoR: Episode 5: The Power of The Punch
The Power of The Punch
Copyright © 2017 A.J. Dugger III
As the press looked on, Rebecca pounded the heavy bag relentlessly, grunting with each landed blow. Each time, the bag backed away from her as if attempting to get away. THUD! THUD! THUD! The media was watching the 23 year-old female boxer work out because she didn't punch like any other woman. But that didn't happen by accident.
“OK, that's enough for now,” said Rebecca's balding trainer, Jim. “Let Rebecca rest up a second and then we'll do a press interview with all of you.”
Rebecca sat down as Jim handed her a water bottle. As she gulped it down, Alfred, the elderly owner of the gym, approached them wearing a big smile. “You've come so far in the past year and a half” he said to Rebecca. “Fighting for the World Boxing Zone Women's Championship tomorrow. You're going to knock her out and become the world champion. I know you will.”
Alfred had worked with many boxing greats in the past. His office was full of pictures of him posing with the greats. Muhammad Ali nicknamed him “Turtle Face” because his droopy expression resembled a turtle. The nickname stuck, though sometimes he hated it.
Rebecca smiled as Alfred patted her on the back. “Thanks, Turtle Face. Jim, let the press know I'm ready.”
Moments later, Rebecca sat on a stool in the ring as the reporters took pictures and asked questions one by one.
“I'm Michael Thompson of The Malo Times,” said one reporter, waving around his voice recorder. “Rebecca, how did you get into boxing? Most beautiful women like yourself don't like to get hit in the face.”
Rebecca took one more sip of bottled water, then answered his question. “I grew up with an abusive, alcoholic father,” she began. “Two years ago I got jumped and almost raped by three guys. I decided no one is going to put their stanky hands on me again. If they do, they're the ones getting carried away on a stretcher.”
“What are you afraid of?” Michael Thompson asked.
“I'm afraid of no one in the ring. In the ring, I'm a goddess,” explained Rebecca. “But spiders...eww. I can't stand those creepy things. Just the thought of spiders can keep me up at night.”
A blond woman holding a microphone spoke next. “Rebecca, you're 5'4 and the WBZ Women's Champion, Jacqueline O' Neal is 6'1. Is it going to be hard for you to get inside her reach and land your shots? She's been elusive against punchers in the past.”
Rebecca smiled. “Jackie has never been in the ring with a puncher like me before. They don't call me a female Tyson for nothing. I will get in her face and knock her ass into next week. She won't know what hit her.”
“Rebecca has been knocking out men in our sparring sessions,” added Jim. “You don't wanna get hit by this woman. These men are much bigger and stronger than Rebecca. But they drop when she nails em'. If she can hurt grown men much bigger than Jacqueline, I really don't think the current champion has a prayer. Jacqueline's never felt power like this and I feel sorry for her in tomorrow's fight.”
Jim, like Alfred, had worked with many big names in boxing and was in high demand as a trainer. A tough 49 year-old trainer and strategist, all he cared about was money and winning.
Rebecca then pointed to a gentleman scribbling on a notepad. He introduced himself. “I'm Joseph Noble from The Malo Chronicle. Rebecca, how did you turn things around? You lost your first eight fights. Then all of a sudden you became a knockout artist and haven't lost a fight since! What did you change? Well, other than your physical appearance?”
Pondering the question, Rebecca began to drift into her memories, and the people around her seemed to fade in the background.
Months prior, Rebecca had been on a terrible losing streak. She had no idea how to box, and the women she competed against were generally either bigger or more skilled. Sometimes both. After suffering 8 humiliating defeats (she had been knocked out each time) she had all but announced her retirement. She took time off from the ring and was planning to go into modeling since, as she kept hearing from friends, “your face is too pretty to get bashed in.” She was already somewhat curvy, but wanted more “up top” to get her foot in the door as a professional model.
She decided to take the easy route to get implants – her older cousin Bryan was a surgeon and offered the surgery at a low, low price. But he offered a terrific suggestion, one that could resurrect her sagging boxing career.
“I've been working on some experiments,” he told her. “Uh oh,” Rebecca said, folding her arms and rolling her eyes. Bryan had always been the family nerd. When they were kids, he was the weird one dissecting dead insects and taking apart his toys and computers just to find out how they worked. Although he was a bit offbeat, everyone knew he was the smart one.
“Hear me out, Becky,” said Bryan. “No one in the family tells you to your face about how much you suck at boxing. But I may have a way to change things for you in the ring and get your umm...ta-tas to look the way you want, too.”
Bryan hated the word “breasts,” instead calling them ta-tas or 'boobs.' It had become a habit, even at the hospital where he worked.
An impatient Rebecca shot him a look that said, “Spit it out, Bryan.”
Bryan took the bait. “I can inject testosterone into your implants.”
Rebecca couldn't keep her laughter inside. “What good would that do me? Are you trying to turn my ass into a man? I want bigger boobs! I am a woman, you know?”
Bryan removed his glasses, which he does when he feels serious. “Think about it. I can inject the testosterone of three strong men into each implant. You'll be able to punch harder than any woman in history! You're a shoe-in to win the women's title, and no one will suspect that the source of your power will be in your boobs.”
Rebecca stroked her chin. “Let's do it! But, you're not doing the surgery are you? That would be weird.”
Bryan's face turned to disgust. “Hell no. But my intern is nearly as good as me and I taught her and my staff everything I know. Things will turn out fine. I promise.”
Rebecca was startled back into the present when she heard a gunshot ring out. “THAT BITCH!!!” an angry voice yelled out. Rebecca looked up and saw a crazed man trying to make his way through the crowd holding a gun. Before he could fire again, two security guards tackled him to the ground. Everyone began to scatter like cockroaches. Women were screaming. There was chaos everywhere.
Later that night, Rebecca, Jim and Alfred were still at the gym. They sat in Alfred's office, watching the press conference incident on the local news. “The insane brother of Tiffany Wooten attempted to kill Rebecca McCrary tonight,” said the anchor. “McCrary is the #1 contender for the World Boxing Zone Women's Championship. In her last fight, she blinded and paralyzed her opponent Tiffany Wooten. Tiffany's brother Mark says his outburst was a retaliation for his sister's pain and that McCrary punches too hard and should be banned from women's boxing. McCrary has tested negative for any steroid use and will fight Jacqueline O' Neal for the WBZ Women's Championship next week.”
“Insane?” Alfred said. “He's not insane. He's just stupid! His sister was a professional boxer. She knew the risk. I'll tell you what's insane. My nephew's neighbors. They claim a gremlin attacked them in their basement.”
Jim looked at Alfred and laughed. “I think I heard about that a few weeks ago. Wasn't the girl killed? What happened to the boy?”
“The boy is in a mental hospital and swears up and down that it was a gremlin. His girlfriend was unrecognizable. The news said her throat was ripped out, she had fingers missing, and her face was chewed off. They were probably attacked by a starving cat. My nephew found them down there but he didn't see no gremlin.”
“Damn kids watch too many movies,” Jim replied. “Cats can be vicious when hungry or cornered.”
Rebecca looked at the floor, still disturbed by the gun attack from earlier. “I don't believe this. I feel horrible enough about what happened to Tiffany. I had no intention of blinding and paralyzing another person. All I did was throw a punch.”
“That punch is what's making us money!” said Jim with excitement. “I don't know how you do it either. Everyone was so convinced you were on steroids or something at first. They just can't fathom a slender woman being able to hit like that. I guarantee you that Jacqueline is shaking in her boots right now, especially after what you did to Tiffany. You landed one left hook and now Tiffany will never see or walk again. That kind of hard-hitting reputation is publicity that money can't buy. It's a good thing when opponents fear you.”
“I don't wanna hurt anyone else like that,” Rebecca told him. “I still wanna win the championship. I may take it a little easier on Jacqueline and then retire after I win the title. This will be my last fight. I don't wanna hurt Jacqueline any worse than I did Tiffany.”
“I can't believe what I'm hearing. You just better have your mind right on fight night,” Jim said, leaving the room and waving his arms in disgust.
Alfred walked over to Rebecca and patted her on the back. “Listen kid, you've got the power of the punch. It's a blessing. You're a woman who hits like Earnie Shavers. A lot of responsibility and attention is going to come with that. Some of the attention you're not going to want but that's the price of fame. You're this close to the women's title. Keep your eyes on the prize.”
Rebecca looked up at a picture on the wall of a much younger Alfred posing with Muhammad Ali in the 1960s. “He was the greatest,” Alfred said. “Some of the qualities in him are also in you. The courage, the desire to be the best, the self-confidence. You're a legend in the making.”
Rebecca couldn't look Alfred in the face knowing that she was cheating. “Do you really think I deserve my reputation?” she asked, still looking at the picture.
Alfred smiled at her. “Of course you do. You knocked out all those people on your own. Sometimes big power comes in small packages. Jack Dempsey wasn't a big man at all, but look at what he did to Jess Willard in Toledo in 1919. Look at all the success Rocky Marciano had with his power. He punched harder than some people twice his size. Those guys had the power of the punch. And so do you.”
The next night, it was time to fight. Always enjoying privacy before her fights, Rebecca sat alone in her dressing room watching the monitor. As she took a huge gulp of lemonade, she watched the commentators give their predictions and opinions of the fight.
“This is the fight everyone has been waiting for,” said one older man wearing glasses, looking into the camera. “These women are different in almost every way. Rebecca McCrary is rude and cocky. But she's exciting and puts the asses in the seats. Jacqueline O' Neal is more humble and technically sound. She's been the WBZ Women's Champion for five years. She has much more experience than her opponent. She's a great counter-puncher, very flexible, has a good jab and can adapt to any style. But she's never fought anyone with power on the level of Rebecca McCrary. Rebecca has Max Baer's power, but Miesha Tate's body. A gorgeous but dynamite package.”
“With huge boobs comes huge power,” said his colleague, a younger announcer with red hair. As he said that, a small chill went through Rebecca's body. When people made casual jokes like that, it almost felt as if they knew her secret. At times she felt that her secret would get out. But no one knew that Bryan had secretly injected the testosterone into her implants before the operation; not even the hospital staff.
Still, it didn't ease her growing paranoia, which was another reason she was ready to win the title and then retire.
The announcers on TV continued their pre-fight analysis.
“Rebecca hits harder than any other woman in boxing history. Many say she hits harder than Ann Wolfe used to. When Rebecca knocks you out, you're out cold. You're unconscious. Any punch from either hand can do it.”
“But she can't box!” countered the other announcer. “O'Neal is the champion for a reason. I don't think McCrary is going to have a chance to demonstrate that awesome power tonight.”
“Regardless, Rebecca got off to a shaky start when she turned pro but she won her last 14 fights in the first round and some of her opponents were quite good. But we know her punch can be near-fatal. Who can forget what happened when she fought Tiffany Wooten? That kind of knockout is unheard of in women's boxing.”
As the TV showed a replay of Rebecca paralyzing Tiffany Wooten with a punch sportswriters called “the left hook from hell,”Rebecca turned her eyes from the screen. She was sick and tired of seeing that tragic punch. It was replayed constantly over the last few weeks, only increasing her guilt.
But her stock began to rise increasingly once her knockout streak started the previous year. After the Tiffany Wooten fight, it went through the roof. Rebecca thought about calling Bryan to replace the implants with normal ones after she won the title. But she was interrupted by a knock at the door.
Jim peeked his head inside. “Time to knock em' dead champ. Not literally, though. Well, only if you want to.” Jim smirked, then disappeared behind the door.
Less than 10 minutes later, Rebecca stood across the ring, glaring at Jacqueline. The ring announcer pointed at Rebecca. “In the red corner..the challenger...weighing in at 135 pounds...with a record of 14-8, with 14 victories in the first round...the Malo Smasher...REBECCA McCRARY!!!” The crowd roared loudly, a mix of cheers and boos.
Jacqueline was announced next. “And in the blue corner...weighing in at 175 pounds with a record of 35-3, 28 wins by knockout, defending her title for the 10th time...the World Boxing Zone Women's Champion, 'RUTHLESS' JACQUELINE O' NEAL!!!” Jacqueline bounced around as she got a huge ovation from the crowd. Smiling, she looked pretty. But Rebecca was out to change that.
“We have some unfortunate news tonight,” the announcer continued. “We have just gotten word that Women's Contender Tiffany Wooten has just passed away as a result of her injuries from her last 'bout.”
The crowd gasped and went silent. Rebecca felt her heart sink as all eyes looked right at her.
“Murderer,” she heard someone whisper.
“I hope Jacqueline beats that ass tonight!” shouted another.
“Rest in peace Tiffany!”
“Test that bitch for steroids one more time!”
“I wish Tiffany's brother had killed her yesterday!”
Rebecca was disturbed at first, but began to ignore the jeers of the crowd and focused her attention on the women's champion staring at her from across the ring.
After receiving the pre-fight instructions from the referee, Jim briefly spoke to his fighter in their corner. “Do as we planned,” he told her, putting in her mouthpiece. “She's the champ but she's predictable and you've got the speed to get there first. She likes to move to the right and keeps her right hand low. Rush her. When she throws a jab to fend you off, use the opening to slip inside and smash her with your left. Go take what's yours.” Rebecca nodded, never losing the intimidating scowl on her face. Game Time.
The bell rang and Rebecca charged at her opponent. As Jim predicted, Jacqueline tossed out a jab and stepped to the right. Rebecca leaned to the side and was about to throw a devastating left hook to Jacqueline's ribs, but when she looked up at Jacqueline's face, she saw Tiffany Wooten staring back at her. She looked pale and undead. She stared at Rebecca with lifeless eyes.
Rebecca's hand was cocked to throw the punch, but she froze in place, allowing Jacqueline to dance out of the way.
In Rebecca's corner, Jim and Alfred looked confused. “Why the hell didn't she throw the left!?” shouted Jim. “Jacqueline was wide open!”
As Rebecca turned around to face Jacqueline, she was hit flush with a straight right hand to the face. Though dazed for a second, she immediately attempted to fire back but Jacqueline was already out of range.
The pre-fight analysts from earlier were correct; Rebecca had no clue how to box. The year before, when Alfred and Jim saw that she easily sent grown men flying into the ropes with a single punch, they neglected to teach her the basic fundamentals of boxing.
“Muhammad Ali made plenty of fundamental errors but he got away with them because of his speed,” Alfred once told her. “You can do the same because of your power.”
Today, Rebecca was wishing like hell that she had been taught better defense and ring strategy. “Knock your opponent dead!” had been the theme of her training camps.
The rest of the round was disappointing. Rebecca attempted to crowd Jacqueline, cutting the ring to get close. But the champion was too elusive.
Frustrated, Rebecca returned to her corner after the round. As Alfred splashed water on her face, Jim began to rant. “What the fuck are you doing in there? Knock that bitch out! We trained for this! Whack her to the body then come upstairs with the head shot!”
Alfred turned to scold him. “Jim, this is my corner. I've trained eight world champions. Take a break and let me talk to my fighter.”
Jim shot back. “I've trained champions too and if Rebecca keeps this up she's never going to be a champion!”
As Jim reluctantly stepped off the ring apron, Alfred stepped through the ropes and crouched down in front of Rebecca.
“What's wrong, kid?” he asked her, his voice full of concern.
Rebecca knew that Alfred would think she was crazy if he told her that when she set up the perfect punch, the ghost of her dead ring rival appeared right in front of her. Was it really Tiffany's ghost? Or a form of post-traumatic stress disorder?
“She's just tougher than I thought,” Rebecca lied. “I don't wanna fall into any of her traps. She's tricky.”
“Damn right she's tricky,” said Alfred. “She's like a female Evander Holyfield. She's tough, experienced and she can con you. Don't worry about impressing the world with another early knockout. You might get knocked out yourself trying. When it's time to put her to sleep, you'll know it.”
Buy the book to find out what happens!!
This was great! I got sucked in and it ends just at the climax! Hot damn this is good stuff! I just bought the book.
I suggest everyone get some popcorn and read this.
Sweet!! I'm a boxer myself and this kinda makes you wonder what might happen if a woman had this kind of iron power.
I just ordered the book also. A porn star getting text messages from her dead husband? Yeah these stories sound like fun! And I can't wait to see how "Power of the punch" ends! Go A.J.!!
Already bought it! My favorites are "The magician and the beast" "dirty underwear" and "7 pm." I really hope you write a sequel. These were really really good and easy to follow.
Good job. I can't wait to see how it ends! I can't tell if Rebecca is having a nervous breakdown due to guilt or if she is really being haunted by Tiffany....
Rebecca does remind me of Ronda Rousey in some ways....were Alfred and Jim based off of Cus and Teddy?
Why do you say that?
The parraells were there; Alfred was old man who owned the gym and trained world champions from the old eras (Cus) and Jim was the feisty younger trainer who spoke his mind and got emotional almost no matter what the outcome (Teddy). Plus the way the two bantered reminded me a bit of Teddy and Cus. And they had a young knockout protege they were nurturing....only instead of Tyson it was a small woman who hit just like him!
AJ I'd been meaning to buy your book for some time now. The storylines sound amusing for sure.
Reading this was the kick in the a$$ I needed to go ahead and head on over to Amazon and buy it. I can easily tell you're a student of the game just by reading this. Muhammad Ali naming Alfred "Turtleface" was a nice touch.
I'm going to share this link and I can't wait to see how it ends! I can't imagine the guilt Rebecca was feeling knowing that she killed a woman. Surely one could become delusional and not focus properly during a fight under those circumstances.
Then again this is a horror story so it might just be a ghost in there with her! Ah! I'll find out shortly.
I bet that assisination attempt scared Rebecca good! But not as good as that ghost though! lol. Great writing. Who is the chick playing Rebecca?
Thank you for sharing this with us, AJ. Congrats on the book. It looks like Rebecca is going to get her "just-deserts."
You paint a very realistic picture of boxing trainers and announcers. The announcers were arguing like the ESPN guys. lol. Good story.
In reply to this post by Urban Legend
It's definitely not your typical boxing story. It was executed so well and there were lots of surprises around each corner. The entire book is solid. Highly recommended.
Duggerman I'm super impressed with this book....I was on a flight yesterday and was howling laughing...I woke up a baby nearby and her parents were PISSED!
Great stories...I like how you don't waste time doing a lot of development or buildup...you just get straight to the point...the stories are funny but I can't help but think I'd be smarter in most of these situations....some of these characters were smart, but others.....well.....
I like how the stories are all loosely connected because they take place in the same town, and Rebecca is mentioned in a few of the other stories.
There are a couple loose ends here and there, like the editor whose "eyes click" in the "Scarecrow Walks" story. Was she a chameleon? I can't help but think that some of these stories deserve a sequel. They end just as the climax and leave you wondering what the hell happened next.
That's by design. Power Of The Punch has more of a conclusive ending, but if I were to do a Southern Terror 2, it would resume the story with Jacqueline's reaction and focus on her throughout.
The trainers resemble real trainers, and the announcers argued like real announcers. Man you've done your homework! Great job! Great writing as usual! I just ordered the book.
Thanks brother! The book is doing real well. Thanks for supporting.
EVERY BOXING FAN SHOULD READ THIS! IT'S INCREDIBLE! All of the boxing cliches you'd expect are there but this is special and full of other surprises you don't expect! I like how Rebecca is the hero and the villian at the same time. We cheer for her, and we feel bad for her after she kills a woman in the ring and cripples others. BUT she IS cheating, after all. Everyone will look at this character through his or her own prism and see different things.
I love the fight scenes and the supernatural ending which I won't spoil.
Rebecca know she fine...I'd be more than happy to go a few rounds with that thang..
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